Portneuf Valley Bruisers began their season with a co-ed bout against Capital City last Saturday, March 15. (Roselynn Wahtomy photo)
PVB roller derby takes to track
By ROSELYNN WAHTOMY
POCATELLO – The fast paced, exciting sport of roller derby season is underway.
Roller derby is a sport played between two teams with five skaters called blockers on each team skating around a flat track in the same direction. A jammer starts on the line behind the blockers and is the scoring player, who must lap members of the opposing team. The players offensively and defensively play by trying to knock each other off course.
Games could get pretty rough; skaters have been injured with concussions, cuts, bruises and sometimes broken bones.
On Saturday, March 15 the Portneuf Valley Bruisers and Capital City Skull Crushers competed amongst one another in a co-ed opening bout.
This is the third season for the Bruisers, who play from spring through November. They are an amateur travel team who play against teams in Utah, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.
There are five skaters with Native American ties for the team, including Feliciana Fullmer; Sarah Boyd; Alyse Zendrosky; Melissa Hicks and Jody Lopez. Of course the ladies also go by colorful nicknames. They all come from different walks of life and bring something different to the team. Most importantly they all support one another and have built a sisterhood, which all of them cherish.
Feliciana Fullmer aka Eval Longoria
Eval Longoria was a former speed skater that knew the owner of the team by skating with him back in the 90s.
She is a single mother who works full time at the Shoshone-Bannock Hotel & Events Center in the banquet area.
Roller derby has been a great outlet for her in channeling her frustrations while having fun. She has come to the realization she is living her dream.
The exercise that goes along with the sport is another positive and challenges her to step up her endurance. One of the goals she recently accomplished was skating the required 27 laps in five minutes. Roller derby has been beneficial in helping her cope with her rheumatoid arthritis.
“It’s very liberating, it’s an awesome sport,” said Eval.
Sarah Boyd aka Killswitch Enskate
Killswitch Enskate started the team at the encouragement of her teammate Eval Longoria.
She’s been on the team for almost ten months and really enjoys it. She likes the skating, the bonds with the other girls, the exercise and the drive to be better.
The one thing that intimidates her most is the possibility of getting badly hurt. However, she says that is the risk with any contact sport.
She chose her derby name after the band Killswitch Engage.
Alyse Zendrosky aka Itsa Trap
Itsa Trap is originally from California and found herself in Idaho after an academic scholarship and eventually set her roots.
Itsa Trap has played one year, but has been involved since the beginning.
In her personal life, she’s a stay at home mother of two and performs in a western swing band playing upright bass.
What keeps her coming back to the track is the ability to relieve her pent up aggressions.
“The energy and getting hit, and hitting people, for some reason – is definitely a way to get all your negative energy out,” she said. “I like all of the adrenaline. It’s one of the best feelings ever."
She is no stranger to roller derby injuries and has torn her PCL, pulled her groin twice and torn her rotator cuff.
“It’s all part of it though,” she says.
Jody Lopez aka Sleazy Demure
The first practice Sleazy Demure came to, she found herself on her bottom. She hurt her knee a little while after; with her injuries she decided to help with team photos and NSO (non-skating official) responsibilities.
“It feels nice to help in anyway I can,” she says. “I think I’m probably their (the teams) biggest fan.”
Since 2011 she has improved on her crossovers, which is going around the corner and crossing one's legs to push to get more speed. She has lost 40 pounds since June and with the weight gone her speed is improving. However, she adds roller derby is for all body types.
Sleazy Demure’s name was inspired by the movie Total Recall. She says the trick to picking out a good derby name is sticking to something you want people to call you and is personal.
“I know I’m kind of lady, but a lot of times I’m not,” she said laughing.
Currently she is a student and artist. In the future, she hopes to become a referee.
Melissa Hicks aka Melicious Mayhem
Melicious Mayhem was instructed to watch the movie “Whip It” before she started on the Portneuf Valley Bruisers team. The girls in the movie skated on a bank track, which is different from the flat one they skate on. A player who goes by the name of Smalls recruited her.
“I love roller derby,” said Mayhem, who never really played any team sports since she was young.
After coming to one practice in May of 2013 she found herself instantly hooked. This season she is excited due to passing her minimum skills earlier than she did last year.
She finds her greatest strength is in jamming. She has also enjoyed being a bench coach, making sure everyone stays in line.
The Portneuf Valley Bruisers next bout is on Saturday, April 12 vs. Hel’z Belles at H&R Hockey Rink in Pocatello.
The Portneuf Valley Bruisers are often recruiting. They practice twice a week for two hours and bout once a month. Skaters pay dues and all the equipment is provided. Beginners are welcome and will be trained. If interested contact them on Facebook.
Portneuf Valley Bruisers Video by Joseph Wadsworth and Roselynn Wahtomy