Behind the makeup, women of all ages came together to celebrate their love of roller derby.
Beginning with a less-experienced bout at 6 p.m., the mixed scrimmage hosted the home team, Central Michigan Mayhem, and members of several other groups including the South-central Michigan Renegade Rollergirls and the Ann Arbor Bruising Company. The only requirement to compete was that skaters must have completed a roller derby skills test.
Sabrina O’Neil of Alma and Jessica McQuarter of Linwood, also known as Flash Fatale and Curvy Q, were members of Central Michigan Mayhem in 2010 when the group was formed, and said they are proud of how far the team has come since then.
“There was a group of people who started it,” O’Neil said. “Some of them have come and gone. There’s a few of us left who are founding members.”
Both women attribute their interest in the roller derby to an early love of skating in their childhood.
“I used to do it as a kid like every weekend,” McQuarter said.
Central Michigan Mayhem has many new additions this year, some of whom still need to complete the skills test to compete, according to O’Neil. Several students from Central Michigan University are included in the group of “fresh meat,” or inexperienced skaters.
“I feel like we have more students right now than we’ve had in quite a while,” McQuarter said.
This is the third year that Zombies vs. Vampires has served as the theme for the team’s annual mixed scrimmage. Scattered throughout the seats were costumes, bloodstained clothing and face paint.
“We wanted to come up with something that no one has really done before,” O’Neil said. “It’s always pitting people against each other.”
According to McQuarter, the mixed scrimmage is the most popular event of the season for the Mayhems. Tickets for the bout were completely sold out.
No matter the team of origin, the common thread tying the roller derby women together was a strong enthusiasm and love for the sport. A member of the South-central Michigan Renegade Rollergirls, Leigh Burrill, also known as General Leigh, said sport manages to combine elements of two very different worlds.
“I instantly fell in love with it,” Burrill said. “Just the mix of being athletic and being able to look sexy and feminine drew me to it.”
Burrill and teammates responded to a Facebook announcement for the event, and were selected on a first-come, first-serve basis. Burrill said competing in a mixed scrimmage creates a more relaxed and fun-filled atmosphere and provides an opportunity to network with skaters from all over the state.
“Last year was my very first mixed scrimmage,” Burrill said. “I didn’t know what to expect, and I had so much fun. It was crazy.”
This year’s mixed scrimmage derby had both a strong turnout and an exciting atmosphere, which was heightened by the skater’s commitment with costumes and makeup. After the second bout, a “Zombie Prom” after party was held at Hunter’s Ale House, 4855 E. Blue Grass Road.
A portion of the proceeds from the event were donated to the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Gratiot County.
Central Michigan Mayhem’s season continues with an away game against the Battle Creek Cereal Killers on Nov. 16.