Ready. Set. Derby!

Ladies and gentlemen, buckle down and prepare for one of the most intriguing sporting events in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Fast-paced, loud, aggressive-this event is anything but dull. Brace yourself for Fargo-Moorhead’s very own Derby Girls, the toughest group of girls in the Red River Valley.

On February 9, the Fargo-Moorhead Derby Girls (FMDG) faced the Winnipeg Roller Derby League and rolled the competition away with the final score being F/M Furies-175, Winnipeg All Stars-98. The score swayed back and forth between the two teams, and tied up going into the beginning of the second bout, but many grand slam jams by the FMDG gave them a clear cut lead to the end.

There’s no doubt about it, girls on both teams work hard, skate fast, and put their whole heart into the sport, making it an extremely entertaining event for fans to watch. Between the players’ enthusiasm and the announcers’ energy, the crowd was never left with a silent moment as they continued to generate an atmosphere of competitiveness and company.

The basics of roller derby work something like this: two teams consisting of five players at a time race around the derby track with a designated player being their “jammer.” The jammer works to skate past all five members of the opposing team. For every player the jammer passes, a point is scored. Members of the opposing team are deemed blockers. Their objective is to block the other team’s jammer by only using their front and side to block. Use of elbows, knees, hands, and the head are illegal and result in time spent in the penalty box. There are two thirty minute bouts per derby that are broken down into two-minute jams in which both teams try to score as many points as possible.

As notoriously known in the sport, the girls rocked the fish net tights, spandex shorts, and tight tops. In honor of breast cancer awareness, the girls sported hot pink tie-dye tanks and gave a special shout-out to their audience survivors, a truly empowering moment for all women in the audience as they closed their intermission speech with the moving message of, “Fight Like a Girl.”

Despite what some may believe the crowd to be, it is a very family friendly event. The crowd draws families, couples, senior citizens, kids, and groups of friends. The audience was a lively one. Upon entering the Fargo Civic Center, the line to enter the event stretched all the way around the building, giving testament to the dedication and support system that the FMDG have. Canadian fans were a welcomed addition to the camaraderie as they continued to bust out the Canadian national anthem and gave the Fargo-Moorhead fans a true test of their American patriotism and spirit.

Altogether the event was inspiring, exciting, and a breath of fresh air from the usual testosterone driven hockey, basketball and football events of the area. The wipeouts and spills of the night were rough and attested to the fight that the majority of the Derby Girls have to give. Girls of all shapes and sizes take to the rink adorning the right combination of sexiness and tough-girl get-up, making a bold statement of sexuality and feminism. It is a sport created “for girls, by girls.” Every body shape, every age, every weight, and every height is useful for some position, which is why fans will see such a diverse set of women taking to the track. The roller derby sensation and its empowering message of feminism is everywhere in the media right now. Look no further. It’s happening right here in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Interested in seeing these girls in action? Come check them out at their next roller derby, a doubleheader on Saturday, March 16th beginning at 7pm at the Fargo Civic Center. The girls will not let you down in a sporting event that is unlike anything many have ever seen before. Take advantage of the opportunities in the Fargo-Moorhead area, get to the next roller derby, and get “rolled” away by some of the unbelievable talent in the Red River Valley.

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