SUMMERSIDE — Roller derby is making its return to Credit Union Place.
Action is set to take place at Eastlink Arena on Saturday, Aug. 24 — the first doubleheaders event for the less than three-year-old Red Rock N Roller Derby.
The event has Jana Selby-Rogers, or, as she’s better known in roller derby circles, eMMA Mae, excited.
“It’s the bout I’ve been looking most forward to all season,” said Selby-Rogers, who caught the roller derby bug more than a year ago. “It’s our first doubleheader. It’s really exciting for us because our house teams, Charlottetown and Summerside, usually play each other.”
She’ll be on the Twisted Sisters, Summerside’s team, as they take on Fredericton’s Capital City Rollers’ Daisy Cutters later in the evening, while the first bout of the night features the Charlottetown Moonshine Maidens and the Annapolis Valley Riptide Rollers.
“In this case, it is going to give us the opportunity to watch each other play,” said Selby-Rogers. “It will be just a whole different take on it, for us, as players, to watch the other team.”
The teams haven’t met before this season. Selby-Rogers expects some fierce competition and tough matches on the surface at Eastlink Arena, which, for one night only, will become a roller derby rink.
More than 700 spectators, the largest crowd to date, came out to see the June 29 bout between the Red Rock N’ Rollers and the Halifax Harbour Grudges.
“The Atlanticade game was fabulous, it was so good,” added Selby-Rogers. “We were a signature event for Atlanticade. They had approached us and we teamed up with them. The game was very successful.”
A tough team and the Red Rock N Rollers’ biggest competition, the Halifax squad put up a good fight that night. But, in the end, the Maidens, the hometown girls, walked away with the inaugural Atlanticade Cup.
“That was exciting for us,” said Selby-Rogers. “It was pretty challenging. Our travel team that played against them and it was probably the best game we had all season, it was neck and neck the whole time, probably within 30 points the whole game. We ended up winning by I think it was 25, 30 points. It was a really good game.”
Selby-Rogers expects an even larger crowd for the Aug. 24 doubleheader.
She said Credit Union Place has been the site of weekly practices for the Twisted Sisters and is a great venue, both for players and fans of roller derby.
“We’re trying to develop roller derby more in Prince County. We think that Credit Union Place is just a really great venue. It’s central, people know where it’s at. It’s just a really nice spot to watch an event.”
There are fans that attend every bout, cheering on the derby girls.
“Fans should expect lots of excitement and big hits,” she added. “It’s a little bit hard as a spectator to understand it. Roller derby, there’s a lot going on, there’s a lot of rules and a lot of penalties. It is a little challenging for first-timers to be really engaged in what’s going on. The more you go, the more you learn and the more you love it.”
For Selby-Rogers, roller derby has become a way of life. Not only does she play on the Twisted Sisters but she’s also on the travel team, playing in bouts three to four times a month.
“I don’t even know that I can explain it. You catch the derby bug and I just couldn’t imagine my life without it now. My time is so consumed with it. We practice sometimes three times a week. It’s quite a commitment,” she added. “I played a little bit of sport but never roller derby. I think it has a little bit to do with the competitiveness of it as well as the friendships that you make.”
Admission to the Aug. 24 event is $6 at the door of $5 with a donation of a non-perishable good for the Salvation Army Food Bank. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with the action set to begin at 6.
For more information, visit www.redrocknrollerderby.com, on Facebook, Red Rock N Roller Derby or on Twitter @PEIrollerderby.