Squeals on wheels: Roller derby rolls into Kent

The Seattle-based Rat City Rollergirls compete Saturday at the ShoWare Center. From left to right are Billie Boilermaker

The Seattle-based Rat City Rollergirls compete Saturday at the ShoWare Center. From left to right are Billie Boilermaker

The Rat City Rollergirls are rolling into town Saturday night, ready to rock Kent.

With player nicknames such as Carmen Getsome, Darth Skater, Deadly Aim, Katarina Whip and Summer Assault, the free-wheeling team from Seattle expects to give Kent-area fans a one-of-a-kind show against the Detroit Derby Girls. The game rolls 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the ShoWare Center.

“We get a lot of people who come because of the spectacle of women on roller skates wearing short shorts and fishnets and hitting each other hard,” said Jennifer Warnick, spokeswoman for the Rollergirls. “But a lot come back for the sport. It’s a very exciting and engaging sport. It has really drawn people in for its entertainment value.”

The full-contact sport features two teams, each with five players in the lineup at a time, circling the track and trying to pass each other to score points.

The Rollergirls got their start in 2004. They took the name “Rat City” from an old-school term for the White Center area just south of Seattle, where the roller-derby league got its start. They played the last couple of years at an old airplane hangar at Warren Magnuson Park before finding new homes this year at the KeyArena in Seattle and the ShoWare Center.

An average of 4,000 fans attended the Rat City Rollergirls’ first three league games this year at KeyArena.

“We have no idea, we have never played in the south end before,” Warnick said of how many fans they expect to see in Kent. “We know Kent knows sports. The Thunderbirds (hockey team) has done very well. With everything going on in Kent and the new arena, we hope to get at least as many fans as we get at KeyArena.”

Purchased in advance, tickets are $19 for adults and $12 for children ages 12 and younger. Tickets are $28 at the door.

Fourteen players from a 20-member roster will suit up Saturday for the Rollergirls all-star team. They represent the best players from the four teams that competed this year in the Rat City league.

“This is our first home all-star bout,” Warnick said. “We normally travel other places. I think people will be blown away by the level of competition. Our (regular season) home bouts are exciting, but this is another level.”

The women, who must be at least 21 years old, pay to play roller derby. During the day, the players, who are mostly in their 20s and 30s, work as stay-at-home moms, business owners, artists, firefighters, Microsoft employees and other occupations.

The players select their own nicknames. They make sure the name doesn’t already exist on a national list of nicknames registered with the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, the league’s governing body based in Chicago.

Two key Rat City players to watch for this season are Carmen Getsome and Anya Heels.

Getsome, known away her skates as Lacey Evans, is a physical therapist. So taken is she with the sport that she’s put a daily workout video together for other roller derby players.

“She is an amazing skater and gets better all of the time,” Warnick said. “She also shaved her head for charity, so she’s very recognizable.”

Heels, otherwise known as Jaime Martin, is nearly 6 feet tall and carries a double-threat label for her abilities to block as well as score as the women circle the track.

“She’s built like a linebacker,” Warnick said. “She’s very, very strong. She barrels through people, or what we call ‘bowling’ through them, because players bounce off of her like bowling pins.”

The Rollergirls have attracted a variety of fans to their Seattle bouts.

“We have families, grandparents, cowboys, punk rockers, geeks, young, old and a lot of kids,” Warnick said. “It runs the gamut.”

In the second game Saturday, Rat City’s Rain of Terror, another select team that includes members from the four Rat City Rollergirls teams, plays the Jet City Bombers, an all-star team from Everett.

The Rollergirls return Aug. 15 for another bout in Kent.

For more information, go to www.ratcityrollergirls.com.

If you go

What: Rat City Rollergirls vs. Detroit Derby Girls

When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: ShoWare Center

Cost: $19 adults, $12 children 12 and under; $28 at the door

Tickets: www.showarecenter.com or 253-856-6999

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