Wednesday, August 24, 2011

V for Varla Vendetta...


What is your biggest accomplishment?

Oooo..a hard one to start! Just when I think I've accomplished something big with my team, the next big challenge comes along to conquer. So, I don't think I'll ever have a definitive answer for this. When I began derby, it was sticking with derby for that first year of growing pains of starting a league. In 2007, it was turning around our shut out at Dust Devil and making it to the Eastern Region championship game (back when there were only two regions). In 2008 it was being the first team of our intraleague teams to go undefeated and win our local Ivy King Cup. Later in 2008 it was making it to the championship game of 2008 Nationals in Portland. We lost and I went home with a broken collarbone, but we finished second in the country. Most recently, it was making the first American World Cup team. So maybe that's more "high points," but nailing down one moment is too difficult. :)

What is your biggest challenge?

Constantly re-adapting my game to the growth of the sport. Over seven years, I've seen the game evolve so much. Once you feel like you've nailed one aspect another comes along and you have to step up your game to understand new trends, new strategies, and when old ones won't work any longer.

Do you have a motto you go by? .

Never die easy!

Have you had any injuries?
If so how long were you out for?

Broken nose, broken clavicle, broken ankle

What is your wheel of choice? Why do you like it so much?

93A Juke Alloys. I never really skated with aluminum hubs until recently, but noticed they were so responsive to quick movements. I'm a convert to the skinnier wheels.

How did you get started in roller derby?

After seeing the Texas Rollergirls on an episode of Insomniac (a Comedy Central travel show), I strolled into a store that happened to have a flyer up advertising an informational meeting about starting a derby league in Chicago. I went to the first informational meeting and never looked back.

Derby is a full contact sport and it's very taxing on your body. Will you be playing roller derby until your body says it has had enough, or do you have a retirement plan?

It's going to be a hard decision to make, mostly because of the people and community. I think my body will make that decision for me when the time is right.

What are your plans after you retire from roller derby?

Remember what free-time is :)

What do you do for a living?

Photographer and digital artist/retoucher

How do you juggle life and derby?

Carefully, it is definitely not easy

What is it about roller derby that you love the most?

The camaraderie and friendships. I love that it's allowed me to travel and be introduced to so many new people, places and experiences. It has also taught me about perseverance, struggle and the satisfaction of working with others toward achieving one goal. And skating, roller skating is just pure fun.

Do you partake in any other sports?

Bikram yoga if that counts

How often do you practice?

4-5 skate practices a week plus 1 day of offskates boot camp and 1 day of yoga. During the short "off season" I might have more offskates and less contact skating practices.

Do you do any outside training besides roller derby practice?

Yes, offskates boot camps at Kru Fitness, a Chicago gym owned by a former professional female soccer player who puts together great workouts for female athletes. Also, running, speed skating and bikram yoga.

Who is you biggest inspiration?

My parents – they both have incredible work ethics and inner strength

Have you always been an athlete or is roller derby your first sport?

I grew up riding horses and also did some ballet/tap when I was really young. In high school and college I ran a lot , rollerbladed, lifted and did yoga, but didn't do many team sports outside of gym class. I did try to play football with my brother when he'd let me.

After party drink of choice?

Amy and Brian's Coconut Water

Do you have a ritual that you do before a game?

I watch videos of Walter Payton – growing up in Chicago in the 80s, he's always been one of my biggest athletic inspirations

Do you have a song that pumps you up before a game?

The very first year that I started derby, it was Aces High by Iron Maiden. It has changed from
year to year, but "I'm Free" by Kenny Loggins also ranks up there and almost any Queen song.

What is your favorite Derby position?

For most of my derby career, I have pivoted and jammed, so I love the random occasions when I find myself as a back blocker – it's a treat.

Who is your favorite roller derby player of all time?

Ugh, there's no way to narrow it down to one! There are so many flat track skaters that I respect for different qualities. I remember seeing the Tamaccio sisters leg whip at the very first Dust Devil in '06 and it blew my mind. I think Racer McChaser was one of the first speed skaters I saw jam and she made it look graceful and effortless. I've enjoyed watching her excel over the years. Megan Formor was my teammate and co-captain for many years and I'm grateful I never had to play against her because I watched her level people. I also loved watching Megan and Malice with Chains play together for Windy City. Of course there are skaters like Tannibal, Atomatrix and Bonnie Thunders who just amaze me with their technical prowess and athletic abilities within this sport. I think they set the bar higher for everyone who plays this game and that's been such a boost for the sport's national progress. Joy Collision is pure excitement to watch with her speed and accuracy. I always know she's going to do something that makes me ooo or ahh. I feel the same about Steel City's Snot Rocket Science who is acrobatic in her execution. Hoosier Mama on Windy City is a jammer's best friend and an opposing jammer's worst nightmare. Athena DeCrime is my derby wife and has been along side me in the WCR since day one. I would not have survived the emotional times that accompany this sport without her and her motivation. There is a ton of women with whom I've shared a track over the years that have made me stop and think, "Dang, I have got to learn how to do that!"

Varla Vendetta

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Magnum P.I.M.P... Let's see if he really is a PIMP!

St. Louis GateKeepers
Magnum P.I.M.P
# L7

Q. What is your biggest accomplishment?

My Biggest Accomplishment is being captain/Coach of the #1 team in the Men's Roller Derby Association's first official rankings.

Q. What is your biggest challenge?

A. My biggest challenge is keeping everything balanced.... Derby, work, personal life, relationship. Coaching two travel teams (gatekeepers and Arch Rival) and playing takes a lot of time and effort. Keeping a balanced life is definitely a challenge.

Q. Do you have a motto you go by?

A. The bar is set high enough if you have to be on your toes to reach it.

Q. What keeps you motivated.

A. My motivation is to fulfill potential. I don't want to look back and think things would have been different if i only would have done more. I give everything i have at practice and to my players. If my best isn't good enough, so be it... But I wont fail due to lack of preparation or effort.

Q. Have you had any injuries?

A. Not really. I have had some minor nagging injuries but nothing that has forced me to miss an bout. Knee strains, shoulder tightness and my chest clicks sometimes from a hit Percy Controll laid on me at practice.

Q. what is your wheel of choice and why?

A. Juke Alloys have been my wheel of choice for the last 6 months. I like them so much because they offer the perfect mix of grip, agility and roll. I don't have to worry about my wheels when I am on my Juke 2.0 Alloys.

Q. How did you get started in Roller Derby?

A. I joined the Arch Rival Roller Girls as a referee in early 2006 when the league started. I have been with them from the beginning. I was head referee for three seasons and started bench coaching them in 2008, I took a break from both in 2010 to get the GateKeepers started. I am back to bench coaching ARRG for the 2011 season.

Q. Derby is a full contact sport and it's very taxing on your body. Will you be playing Roller derby until your body says it has had enough, or do you have a retirement plan?

A. I have no plans of retiring any time soon. Derby is so fun and challenging, I can't imagine my life without it.

Q. What are your plans after you retire?

A. No plans... Maybe family based.

Q. What do you do for a living?

A. I am a industrial packaging salesman. Pretty much I sell boxes, tape, adhesive, bubble wrap and anything else a company needs to send its product out the door. It's the family business.

Q. How do you juggle life and derby?

A. Being in sales offers me a lot of flexibility with my time. Derby is pretty dominate in my life but totally worth the time and effort it receives. I have a patient Fiance, Dallis. Since she plays for ARRG, we fully support each other in regards to the commitment that is needed to play this sport.

Q. What is it about roller derby that you love so much?

A. Derby is fast, physical and requires a lot of strategy. Every element of a great sport. There is nothing better than owning a jammer as a blocker or flying by blockers as a jammer.

Q. Do you partake in any other sports?

A. I played lacrosse from high school until last year. The summer league I played in switched nights to when I was running the GateKeepeers practice so I had to stop.

Q. How often do you practice?

A. I typically practice with the guys twice a week and run 1-2 practices a week for ARRG.

. Do you do any outside training besides roller derby practice?

A. Totally! I am a firm believer that practice alone will not get you in the proper shape to play at your best. I typically hit the gym about 5 days a week. When training really amps up, interval hill training is added to the mix once a week.

Q. Who is your biggest Inspiration?

A. Dallis' love for the sport is definitely an inspiration. She goes to every practice she can. She is so motivated to improve her game that it helps keep me inspired to get better.

Q. Have you always been a athlete or is roller derby your first sport?

A. I was lucky enough to win two state Championships in high school for lacrosse. I have been greatly influenced by my high school coach and many of my coaching practices today are rooted from what I learned from him. Though coach Mike Sennett has passed, he will always be remembered.

Q. After party drink of choice?

A. Derby has turned me into a PBR drinker. Growing up in St.Louis, Bud Light was always my go to beer but PBR tall boys cant be beat.

Q. Do you have any rituals that you do before a game?

A. I bake brownies usually three times on game days... Stretch a lot... Eat well and take half a five hour energy before introductions and the rest at half time.

Q. Do you have a song that pumps you up before a game?

A. Deftones and Chevelle are my favorite pump up bands. Lately I have been listening to a lot of Chiodos, Memphis May Fire, Decoder and of Mice & Men.

Q. What is your favorite derby position?

A. I block for our travel team and jam for our local play. I am fortunate to play both but love how dynamic blocking is. I guess I like imposing my will on other skaters instead of figuring how to get around them.

Q. Who is your favorite roller derby players of all time?

A. Varla Vendetta..... She sees the game so well. It looks effortless when she is on the track. She is small and smart. the decisions she makes are just as important as her athleticism. Quadzilla and Streak are my two favorite players to watch on the guys side. You never know what they are going to pull next.

So my thought is that he IS pretty PIMP after this interview.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

We came…we conquered…we kicked _ _ _!

Another indoor championship is now in the books and once again, Atom was THE wheel of choice at the 2011 U.S. Indoor National Championships held last month in Fort Wayne, IN. Atom's impact was dramatic, winning 94% of all divisional races and ending with total domination of the floor, including relays and novice events. In race after race, Atom's latest IQ wheel incarnation outperformed its predecessor and the competition at world-class levels, posting world-class speeds!

(above, Michael Cheek 5000m, world-class division champion (new national record set - IQ Wheels)

At Atom, we've simply stayed true to our goals and mission and have continued to ring the bell at each event throughout the year reminding our core ATOM fans which wheels to come prepared with. It's this unwavering commitment to superior design and technology that’s the ATOM truth still to this day, keeping us firmly in the drivers seat when it comes to speed!

During the Indoor Championships, competition was particularly close in the most recent round of world-class men, however only one spot received the overall glory of winning PRO-MEN. One athlete in particular who’s stellar season included a win in these championships & where all bets were placed putting an immense amount of pressure for the W was Will Bowen who has had an unbelievably exceptional year including his seasonal win at NSC this past May with just raw speed, moves & passes not possible for most in the field. Will stated before racing started, "I am so glad we’re on IQ’s here, those other boys just don’t understand." It was no easy task for Bowen as he had to fight his way to the promised land but in the end he did indeed deliver and received gold for the overall & became 2011 PRO-MEN’s champion!

(above, big Willy Wonka Winning on blue hub IQ's)

(above, Will Bowen keeping things in check, 2011 Pro Men's National Champ on IQ Wheels)

Inline speed wheels are a key piece of equipment that has a dramatic effect on the way your skates glide and perform. Atom's IQ Technology can make even a sluggish frame feel reasonably snappy while poorly designed wheels can make even the nicest of frames feel anemic or harsh. Wheels are THAT important and Atom Wheels will stop at nothing to ensure your investment is in a product that has proven itself time and time again. Make no mistake, we are not so delusional to think we have reached the summit in speed wheel technology yet... But we will continue to lead & pave the way always striving to go lighter, stronger and FASTER!

If you missed the opportunity to stop by the Luigino/Atom Wheels booth at these championships you missed our debut of 13 new earth-shattering products to hit the market soon & one that will revolutionize the inline speed market! Atom, always the innovator that continues to push the envelope in speed skating, tested a future wheel for indoors and like instant cocoa, just added water and received gold in its first race! Shianna Moses out of Federal Way took Atom's brand new SUB 7’s to the top of the podium in Freshman Girls 300m.

(above - Shianna Moses from Federal Way, Team Pattison's taking the new SUB 7's for a spin & finds gold in the 300m)

With the U.S Outdoor National Track & Road Championships just days away, (an event which also selects & determines the U.S World Team whom compete at the end of August in Yeosu City, Korea), our focus slightly shifts to the outdoor world as we once again set out to prove and place the Atom name, as we do each year, at the top of the podium. In closing, we want to truly thank each & every athlete who supported us at the indoor championships and kudos to all the winners! We wish the best of luck to those whom have their dreams set on making the U.S world team and of course, best of luck at the World Championships at the end of the month in Korea. More to come soon so please stay tuned.

Zac Attack doin damage in Sophomore Men, Team Pattison's, gold medalist)

Friday, August 12, 2011


Atom Wheels All-Star Downtown Dallis is recognized this month on WFTDA for the skater of the month. To learn more about her check out the link below.

Congratulations Downtown Dallis!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dolly Rocket!! Just in case you didnt know!

Q: What is your biggest accomplishment?

A: I’m pretty proud that I’ve been playing since 2004 and have never really gone through a terrible slump. My play has always been consistent, and I feel like I’ve always been on a trajectory of improvement, however modest and slow. I believe true accomplishment comes with consistency, not moments of greatness.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

A: As a derby player, maintaining motivation! You can try to rely on your teammates for drive, but at the end of the day, it has to come from within. It’s difficult season after season to rediscover those reasons to keep pushing yourself, but when you do it’s really rewarding.

Q: Do you have a motto you go by?

A: Haters Gonna Hate.

Q: What is your motivation?

A: Honestly? Perfection. I really want to have that perfect game where everything comes together. I think I’ve had glimpses of that throughout my career individually and with my team, but I’ve yet to have that really perfect game. I also enjoy the preparation, competition and rituals of derby.

Have you had any injuries?

A: Fortunately nothing serious yet. Shin splints, hematomas, pulled muscles, that’s it. I did need a cortisone shoot in my foot a few years ago for a serious bone bruise.

Q: If so how long were you out for?

A: Don’t think I’ve ever taken more than a month off of roller derby at any given time since 2004…..

Q: What is your wheel of choice?

D-RODS By Atom Wheels!

Q: Why do you like those wheels so much?

A: D-Rods afford the perfect amount of grip and slip to be able to skate on most surfaces. I can stop short without feeling any tweak in my joints, and I can grip tight around turns. They are also really light, so they help with my footwork and agility. Plus, the black and white looks slick on my skates.

Q: How did you get started in roller derby?

A: I played sports my entire life, volleyball, hockey, lacrosse, softball, basketball. I went to an art & design college in Providence, RI, and they didn’t offer any extra curricular sports, and by my sophomore year, I was really itching for something physical to do other than like, paint in my underwear. I saw a flyer in my cafeteria and thought “...hey, that sounds more interesting than doing Brown intramurals lacrosse this spring”, and tried out. It was one of the most challenging sports I’ve ever played, so I stuck around.

Q: Derby is a full contact sport and it’s very taxing on your body. Will you be playing roller derby until your body says it has had enough, or do you have a retirement plan?

A: I started playing derby right when I turned 18. I’m 25 now, and just starting to feel the effects of the last several seasons on my body. My league is playing more and more games; opponents are getting better and stronger. I’ve started scheduling rest weeks into my training regimen to slow the process of eventual wheelchair-dom, and cross training with low impact activities like cycling and yoga. I’d like to hope that I stop this madness before anything too serious happens to me, fingers crossed!

Q: What are your plans after you retire from roller derby?

A: Focus more on my career, lead a much healthier lifestyle where I have time to cook my meals consistently and go to bed at a reasonable hour, and travel to actually see the places I’m in, rather than whirlwind derby trips. I’ve also had an idea for a graphic novel in the back of my head for a while that I’ve sketched out, but just haven’t had the time and energy to put together.

Q: What do you do for a living?

A: I’m a multimedia designer at a museum in Baltimore. I shoot and edit our monthly educational videos, design our exhibits, take care of all of our marketing pieces and am the general go-to person for all of the museum’s design needs. I also do freelance design & illustration on the side whenever I can find the time.

Q: How do you juggle life and derby?

A: Poorly?
It’s really hard when you are dating and living with someone who loves derby as much as you do. You wind up talking about it a lot. You just have to find activities that you like to do that don’t revolve around derby and try to schedule them into your week. I also have a no derby emails on the weekends rule to keep me sane. Saying no to some extra-curricular derby opportunities will help you realize there is more to you than just the skating, and reminds you there are other things in life. It’s hard to do because it’s so fun, but you don’t want to lose touch with yourself, your family and other friends for the sake of skating.

Q: What is it about roller derby that you love the most?

A: I’ve learned a lot playing derby. Not just about the sport, but myself, people and what makes them tick, and the world in general. I started so young; I feel like I grew up playing derby, it was basically “The School of Life” for me. I am really thankful to the sport and its founders for being able to have that opportunity, as I would probably be a ginormous immature mess without it; more than I am right now, anyway.

Q: Do you partake in any other sports?

A: Not currently, but I used to play lacrosse, volleyball, hockey, basketball & softball. I opted out of applying for college scholarships for lacrosse to go to art school instead. Now I just ride my bike when I can and do yoga, though I don’t think I would classify those as sports since I don’t compete doing them.

Q: How often do you practice?

A: 2-5 days a week, usually I hit 3 or 4.

Q: Do you do any outside training besides roller derby practice?

A: I go to group personal training sessions that focus on cardio, strength & agility 2-3 days a week, try to hit a yoga class at least once a week and go for a bike ride 1 or 2 days a week.

Q: Who is you biggest inspiration?

A: I’m a ginormous Kathleen Hanna fan, and basically live my life by the rule: If Kathleen Hanna thinks its cool, then do it. I sent her fan mail when I was a kid, hahahaha

Q: Have you always been an athlete or is roller derby your first sport?

A: I played a lot of team sports as a kid. I needed that group mentality to push me through; I didn’t think I could ever be an individual sport player. Playing derby though, I had to learn how to get myself through a speed skating practice, and have since learned the joys of individual sports.

Q: After party drink of choice?

A: Depends on how the game went… Either a big glass of water (well), or a nice cold beer (not so well). I used to be more of an after-partier and could dance until the cows came home, but now I’m an old fart and I get tired and have to go home.

Q: Do you have a ritual that you do before a game?

A: For home games, Saturday is often my only day to sleep in, so I’ll wake up around 10, make brunch, go shopping (usually at the comic book store) and get to the arena for set up early. I like to do a good off-skates warm-up with a light jog and some agility work before I put my skates on. Then I get one of my teammates to punch me in the stomach and I’m good to go!
For away games, I just try to be as easy as possible and do whatever my captain tells me to.

Q: Do you have a song that pumps you up before a game?

A: Gravy Train – You Make Me Nervous

Q: What is your favorite Derby position?

A: Pivot!

Q: Who is your favorite roller derby player of all time?

A: Other than myself you mean? * Brushes off shoulders *
In no particular order: Joy Collision, Psychobabble, Atomatrix, Femme Fatale (the OG) & Sparkle Plenty.

Thank you for your time Dolly! - Atom Wheels

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sarmiento plots a perfect finish scenerio in ST. Paul

(above, start of Pro Men's 1/2 Marathon in ST. Paul)
Saturday, August 6th marked the third year of the Minnesota Half Marathon where 400-500 skaters turned out in Saint Paul for a spectacular day of inline racing. In conjunction with a runners event the inline half-marathon has continued to draw hundreds of skaters & spectators including some top level talent in the pro-men and women’s category. On the men’s side Adam Inline’s David Sarmiento (on ATOM ONE Wheels) put himself in the lead only once & when it actually counted during the ½ marathon and that was during the last 25 meters of the race as he flew by Simmon’s Rob Bell for the victory. Bell’s teammate Fedak led Bell out in the final meters however they didn’t count for Sarmiento on Atom wheels to sit patiently in the pack and then turn it on blazing by the start/finish line and crowning himself as the Minnesota Half Marathon champion! (Finish time 36:23)

(above - David Sarmiento of Adam's Inline prior to start of race)
A great day for Team Adam’s Inline as the winning continued 4 mins after the men’s finish as Kara Peterson also on Atom ONE Wheels finished first in the Master Women’s category where she looked to be in top form skating head to head with some of the best women in the region. ATOM ONE & IQ wheels continue to prove the wheel of choice when you’re serious about winning races! Congrats to all the athletes for competing in the Minnesota Half Marathon & a special kudos to David & Kara for rockin ATOM WHEELS!

(above - Kara Peterson Adam's Inline Master Ladies Winner - ATOM Wheels)
(above - David Sarmiento Adam's Inline awards ceremony)

2011 NIRA Nationals - Sept. 3, 4, 5th

Luigino USA is the proud title sponsor of the 2011 NIRA Nationals (short track speed skating) September 3rd & 4th (indoors) to be held at Champions in Spring, TX with the NIRA 10K (outdoor) portion on September 5th (Labor Day) Click the link to view, download and print complete information and forms for this exciting event!
nira entry form>

Friday, August 5, 2011

Team USA Roster Announced!

Congratulations to 9 Atom All-Stars making TEAM USA for the first ever WORLD CUP which will be held December 1-4 in Toronto!

• Atomatrix
• Deranged
• Joy Collision
• Juska
• Psycho Babble
• Tannibal Lector
• Varla Vendetta

• Stella Italiana
• Racer McChaseHer

The skaters have been selected to be a part of the 2011 "Blood and Thunder" Roller Derby World Cup Team USA. The team is made up of 28 of the country's best skaters from 14 leagues representing each of the four WFTDA regions. You can learn more about the entire team of talented skaters chosen here: read more>

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Uncle Jesse McNasty is in the House!!

Atom Wheels is happy to introduce the newest member of its 'Front Runners' team... Uncle Jesse McNasty! read bio>