Murder City roller derby squad seeks revenge at home
By: Avi Saper
The Murder City Maidens will be trying to avenge their November defeat at the hands of the Fargo-Moorhead Derby Girls during their July 3 rematch at the Convention Centre.
The first time the Murder City Maidens, Winnipeg’s travelling roller derby team, squared off against the Fargo-Moorhead Derby Girls, it was a rude awakening.
"Fargo slaughtered us, for lack of a better term," said Winnipeg Roller Derby League spokesperson Tatiana (Jam Buster) Warkentin, who works for a children’s charity when she isn’t inflicting pain on wheels. "We were hurting afterwards, but we learned so much from that."
That was in Fargo last November. On July 3, the local squad is hoping to reciprocate with similarly nasty hospitality when the Derby Girls visit the Winnipeg Convention Centre for a rematch.
Maidens captain Serenity (Retro RX) Ising said spectators could expect to see a much different result this time around.
"I compare that game to our baby steps," said the 40-year-old software engineer from Charleswood. "We were just learning to walk.
Now we’re in our terrible twos and we’re ready to take them on. We don’t want to lose to them at home; that’s not acceptable."
The July 3 bout will mark the second local event for the WRDL, which was founded in January 2008. More than 2,300 fans showed up for a February destruction of Thunder Bay’s Babes of Thunder.
"We would love to have more than that (in attendance)," said Warkentin, a Transcona resident who is coming off an injury and will be playing in a pre-bout scrimmage featuring two teams of WRDL members. "They can expect to see a fabulous family event. They’ll see some really competitive women’s sports, and there’s also theatrics involved as well."
One of the most common questions asked of Warkentin is whether the competition is real or staged. While the theatrics and personas might evoke comparisons to professional wrestling, Warkentin stressed that both teams are playing to win and the results are anything but predetermined.
Whether the game is at home or on the road, Ising uses the crowd as motivation.
"It really gets you going," she said of the raucous audience. "Even when we were in Fargo, them hating us really made it fantastic, too.
That just kept us going."
The WRDL has quickly grown from 25 players to 90 since Warkentin joined last year. She credits the movie Whip It, as well as the February bout, with creating some buzz about the sport locally.
"I used to think it was a certain type of person who does roller derby," Warkentin said. "But it really triggers a lot of different things in different women. Some of us have played high school level hockey and others have never played a sport in their entire life.
"Some of us, you wouldn’t know they’re derby girls when they show up at practice in a three-piece suit."
Ising said the eventual goal is to have enough players (and facilities) to have regular bouts between WRDL teams.
"We want to focus on introducing the home teams to Winnipeg to allow them to get a following," she said. "We want people to have an affiliation with a particular home team."
Tickets to the July 3 bout between the Murder City Maidens and the Fargo-Moorhead Derby Girls are available through Ticketmaster.