Rolling, roaring, racing
DAKOTA CITY – During a recent practice, Dakota City Demolition Crew roller derby team member Abbi Telford, of Ottosen, had to stand on the sidelines and watch her teammates work out.
She would much rather have been on the floor with them.
Instead, she was in crutches and a surgical boot.
“I broke and dislocated my ankle,” she said. “It’s part of the game.”
Another part of the game is nicknames. Telford, who joined the team in November 2012, skates under the name “Minnesota,” for her home state.
In Minnesota, she ice skated. The lack of suitable ice skating venues in Iowa drew her to the roller derby team.
Telford said her mother reacted to the news that she had joined the team with quiet understatement. She said: “Oh well, that’s different.”
Her mother has seen her at bouts and is now much more comfortable.
“My mom used to hold her breath,” Telford said.
Of course, Telford does try to shelter Mom a bit.
“When I got hurt, the first thing I said was ‘Don’t put this on Facebook. My mom will kill me.'”
Shiliah Spaulding, of Wittemore, skates as “Redneck Wild Thing.”
Spaulding, who joined the team in February after being invited by Telford to watch her skate, said she enjoys the comraderie.
“We’re not only a team,” Spaulding said, “we’re a big family.”
She, too, had to tell her family. Spaulding did so while they were watching a TV show that featured roller derby as part of the plot.
“I told them to pause,” she said. “I brought in my gear and set it on the table.”
“My dad said, ‘That’s interesting,'” she said.
Jess Schade, of Thor, is the team’s co-captain and skates as “Havoc.”
She enjoys the physical contact and the workout.
“You try to push yourself,” she said.
Schade is not above pushing herself hard – with the occasional dislocated and cracked rib, several black eyes, a cracked nose and numerous bruises and sprains.
“I have no sense of self preservation at all,” she joked.
She, too, said the team enjoys comraderie that’s much like a family, warts and all.
“We spend three nights a week together,” she said. “You either love each other or you hate each other.”
Her mother is a paramedic.
“She was not happy,” Schade said.
Her friends had their own reactions.
“They thought I was crazy,” she said. “My husband supported me.”
He still does. Not just her, but the entire team; Eric Schade is their coach.
He began by refereeing bouts, then helping with practice. Finally, he took on coaching duties.
The coach enjoys watching his wife compete, in spite of the occasion bruise and bump.
“I don’t get nervous at all,” he said. “They’re tough; it’s always possible to get hurt.”
Heather Kimbrough, of Eagle Grove, joined the team shortly after it formed in September 2010.
She’s known as the “Livid Red Grrrl.”
Her children not only like to watch her skate, one of them, Caitlin Kimbrough, 15, is otherwise known as “Drop Dead Little Red” and skates with her.
Kimbrough’s friends were happy for her.
“They were excited and wanted to join,” she said.
She says the group is tightly knit.
“The team is like my family,” she said. “They’re always there.”
The team is captained by Jenny Randleman, of Fort Dodge. Her skating name is “McNothing.”
“It was a joke,” she said. “I needed a fake middle name.”
As captain, she leads the team during the bouts, giving direction as they battle their opponents. She was elected to the position by her teammates.
“It’s an honor,” she said.
As she talks to people about the sport, she often dispels misconceptions.
“Oh, do you get to punch people in the face?” she is often asked.
The answer, for the record, is no; it’s against the rules.
During the course of the season, the team raises money at its bouts. So far this year, the Dakota City Demolition Crew has collected more than $1,300. The team has made donations to United Way, the ABATE Toys for Discovery and Special Olympics.
Th Demolition Crew can be seen in action on Dec. 14 at the Career Education building of Iowa Central Community College. Doors to the event open at 6 p.m. The derby starts at 7 p.m. Admission is $10 with proceeds going to the Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center.