Recruits, Check Us Out on April 30th!
Are you interested in joining the Chicago Bruise Brothers as a Skater, a Referee, an Non-Skating Official (NSO), or as volunteer? More >
Roller Derby Officials to seek pay, form Labor Union
By LeBron Shames
Austin, Tex. – Starting Tuesday, organizations that govern the sport of roller derby are set to meet behind closed doors in Austin to discuss a proposal by a group of the sport’s officials. A large group of roller derby referees and officials have laid forth demands for hourly pay and recognition of a labor union.
It is unclear how the referendum ratified last month by the International Roller Officials League, IROL (pronounced “I role”) , will impact the game as overseen by the Women’s Flat-Track Derby Association (WFTDA), the Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA) and USA Roller Sports. The impetus for unionization and fair play came about after questionable treatment of some derby officials demonstrated the need for a set of standards on how skating referees and non-skating officials, (called NSOs) are staffed, protected and compensated for their time.
“Some of our refs were getting pulled in all different directions,” said Shawne Rockey, a head referee for the Texas Valley Roller Revolution who goes by the name Rocky Balbone-Ya.
Rockey states that she and other referees and NSOs at Texas Valley were not only responsible for officiating the game, but in some instances were expected to sell t-shirts, and clean up after bouts, as well as staff a makeshift indoor beer garden and hot dog cart to serve patrons.
“I love roller derby, but I had to quit,” said Leonardo DeCapitate, another former official who didn’t want to give his real name. “Sometimes dealing with players can be tough enough. But it was the fans that really got to me,” he said.
Rockey also said that as Texas Valley’s popularity grew in the center of the state, crowds got bigger and often rowdier. Sometimes brawls between players –not to mention scuffles between players and fans—ensued. About a year ago, Rockey said she found herself tackling an intoxicated and nude fan, while trying to apprehend him from interfering in the league championship bout as other rowdy fans cheered him on.
After that streaker incident made the local and then national news, roller derby officials from various parts of the US reached out to Rockey by phone and email. A month later talk of better treatment and organizing came about.
The new union proposal comes on the heels of the mandate a new set of rules for most of roller derby. The set of new rules, formulated by WFTDA, ratified earlier in 2014, go into effect April 1. The new rules set forth act as standard procedure for all game play for any WFTDA league or organization that conforms to WFTDA play. MRDA men’s teams also follow WFTDA rules, while USARS roller derby teams play according to their own rule set and guidelines.
Maureen Sanders, an Austin-based attorney for the group of referees, said on Monday that the upcoming meetings with the sport’s governing bodies were important. She hints that the main purpose of IROL and unionization is to protect refs from grueling game schedules and arduous afterparties.
“We want to make sure that organization leaders are clear on how IROL and skaters can improve the game and push it forward.”
Association presidents of MRDA, WFTDA and USARS were not available for comment on the matter. According to one inside press contact, all three organizations’ offices were closed for April Fools’ Day.
CBB is recruiting Officials!
Chicago Bruise Brothers Break Big Leagues to Start 2014
Chicago, IL — After a 2013 inaugural season and a year of rapid growth, the Chicago Bruise Brothers will kick of 2014 with a packed schedule of bouts both home and away. Since the end the 2013, which concluded at home in October, the club has been accepted into the Men’s Roller Derby Association.
Founded in 2007 (originally as the Men’s Derby Coalition), MRDA is the established authority for men’s roller derby across the world, and holds an annual championship tournament to determine the sport’s international champion and runners-up. The Chicago Bruise Brothers’ move into MRDA constitutes as step up into the big leagues of roller derby as well as a number of exciting opportunities to play roller derby.
The Bruise Brothers will break the first whistle with a road trip in which they will meet the Cincinnati Battering Rams in their first MRDA bout on Saturday, March 1st in Cincinnati. The next morning, The Bros will play a MRDA-sanctioned bout versus the nationally ranked Race City Rebels, from Indianapolis.
The remainder of The Bros’ season holds other challenging fixtures, including another away trip on June 28 to St Louis, to take on the B-Keepers, as well as three bouts against the club’s arch rivals, the Capital City Hooligans from Springfield, Ill to determine the winner of the newly established Illinois Cup. First, The Bros will travel to Decatur, Ill. to play Capital City on March 22, followed by a rematch in Lombard on April 19 to start off the home season. The third bout of The Illinois Cup date is To Be Announced. In 2013 the two teams met twice, with Bruise Brothers conceding a one-point game 177-176 to Capital City in Decatur in June, followed by a last minute nail-biter on October 13 in which the Hooligans skated away with the win.
In the works for The Bros are more road trips, possibly to upper Midwest and a few invitational tournaments, to be announced officially in coming weeks. The team will also participate in exhibition bouts, including the coed black-n-blue Rhythm & Bruise bout in Rockford, IL and The Corruption Cup, tentatively scheduled for October 25 in Lombard, Ill.
At the beginning of 2014, the Chicago Bruise Brothers elected two new captains, Princess A. Pauling and Steampunk Willie.
The Chicago Bruise Brothers play and practice every Wednesday and Sunday at the Lombard Roller Rink at 201 W 22nd Street in Lombard. If you would like to join The Bros for a skate or participate in one of our open practices, please email training@
Equipment Matters; Adjustments Matter More – The Mandozer
I’ve been off-skates for a few weeks. Sunday morning I got my skates back.
I’ve owned three pairs of skates in my time as a skater the last couple years; an old pair of two sizes too large skates with some unknown plate and an older boot with any branding warn off, A newer set of skates, a Riedell 465 boot with a Revenge plate, and my latest set of skates, an Antik AR1 boot with a slightly oversized Revenge plate.
We Are Members of the Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA)!
The Chicago Bruise Brothers have been working over the last couple years to build our team, our officials, and our support staff and to both travel to and host bouts against teams in the Men’s Roller Derby Association with a major goal of gaining membership ourselves.
We’re happy to announce, we’ve made it!
2013.09.14 – Rhythm & Bruise Co-Ed Roller Derby: The SlowJams v. Rhythm & Bruise
September 14th, the Chicago Bruise Brothers, Rhythm & Bruise Co-Ed Roller Derby put on an exhibition bout to open the Aurora 88s home travel season closer bout and hey… we have photos! More >
Rules Update Podcast!
If you’re interested in listening to the June 2013 rule updates instead of reading them, our own The Mandozer has been putting his mouth to the mic! He is currently recording the June 2013 changes, and will record the 2014 rules as soon as they are out! More >
2013.08.17 – Chicago Bruise Brothers vs. Race City Rebels: Photos, Video
Saturday, August 17th, the Chicago Bruise Brothers hosted a bout against the Race City Rebels.
The Rebels won the bout 375 to the CBB’s 85, but we will be back for more!
Check out bout pictures at:
Facebook, via Travis Taylor Photography: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.667732643254499.1073741842.578835652144199&type=1
Facebook, thanks to David Grelck: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.502581283165929.1073741830.211484282275632&type=3
Flickr, thanks to David Grelck: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xystance/sets/72157635852957286/
Check out bout video at:
YouTube, thanks to Bill Hamilton: http://youtu.be/v_a7rZr_f6U