Roller derby league a hobby, passion for some Big Country women

POSTED: 4:26 AM Dec 24 2013   UPDATED: 11:52 AM Sep 05 2013
ABILENE, Texas -

A sport that started in the 1930s continues to make strides in Abilene.

Most people think of roller derby as a knock-down, drag-out spectacle, but those who play say it's a passion that's changed their lives.

Caitlyn Ellision, team captain of the Abilene Derby Dames Sugarbombs, started playing roller derby because she thought it'd be "cool and fun," but now it's her life's passion.

"It means more to me than anything other than God and my family," Ellison said.

Basically, roller derby is a contact skating competition played by two teams.

The sport carries with it some injuries.

"It's just part of the territory and it's going to happen with whatever sport you do," said Ellison, who is recovering from a concussion.

There are also some interesting names in the league, like "Reign of Payne" and "Grace O'Maulley."

"It's just really more of a fun thing," Ellison said. "It gives you a chance to step out of your own skin."

Ellison said a lot of people assume roller derby is just a show. In fact, she said it's actually a serious sport.

"There's tons of rules," Ellison said. "We can't punch each other. We don't fight on the track. So it's like any other collision sport."

Ellison said you don't have to be tough to play roller derby.

"Anybody can roller derby," she said. "Most of us weren't tough at all when we joined. Once you start playing, you realize, 'Wow! I am tough! I am able to do this.' It's not just for those punk rock girls or those mean people ... because we're really nice!" 

The Derby Dames donate a portion of their ticket sales to charities. At their next bout, they'll be donating money to a motorcycle accident victim who lost his leg.

The league was founded in 2010.

They practice three times a week, and one of those practices is specifically for newcomers.

Their next bout is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 14 at the Abilene Civic Center.

For all the information on the Abilene Derby Dames and how you can join, click here.