Talking Derby

The women of Dead River Derby compete in a bout.

Story by Jim Pennell • Photos courtesy of Shine Studio/Andres Abdo

Since 2012, the Dead River Derby in Marquette has been bringing its own style of derby fun and excitement to the area.

What is roller derby? That’s not an easy question to answer. It can’t be compared to another sport because it’s unlike any other sport. It’s a race without a finish line and a game without a goal. It’s also the only sport where players adopt both a different personality and name, known as a “Derby Persona” when they step, or rather roll, onto the playing field. The rules of derby cannot be easily explained either.

“It’s a full contact sport with full protective gear; helmet, mouthguard and elbow, wrist and knee pads,” explained Phee Nix, who has been skating with the team for the last three years. “We use old school quad skates with four wheels.”

The game is played with five skaters from each team on the track. Four of them are blockers and one is a jammer. The track is an oval with a starting line where the blockers, who play offense and defense at the same time, start. The jammers have a star helmet cover to identify them and they start behind the blockers. Their goal is to get through the blockers as quickly as possible and lap the pack…

To read the full story, please pick up a copy of this months Marquette Monthly at one of our distribution outlets.


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