Hell on eight wheels: Roller derby bout combines endurance, balance and mayhem

Posted March 15, 2013, at 5:41 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Hundreds of fans packed the Happy Wheels roller rink last Saturday to watch a flat track roller derby bout between the Port Authorities of Portland and the Rock Coast Rollers of Rockland.

The sport is a combination of high-speed skating and tactical moves with a lot of mayhem mixed in. The women who compete not only have exceptional endurance and great balance, but also the toughness to take the occasional elbow to the face — and keep on skating.

During half-time the crowd was entertained by the Rock Coast Jeerleaders, a co-ed group. Later a raffle was held to award several prizes, including a $100 gift certificate from a local tattoo parlor.

Players and referees adopt “skater names” that play on the sport’s rugged nature. Christa Calder of Auburn calls herself “Princess Layher Out.”

Calder has a tattoo portrait of her mother on her right shoulder.

“[My mother] probably would not approve — so I just bring her along for the ride,” said Calder.

“I brought my Dad to a bout once and he told me that watching me at roller derby was a lot more fun than watching me do cheerleading competitions in high school.”