Samantha Ramsey, 31, didn’t know the first thing about Evansville’s roller derby league, Demolition City, but she could skate. She learned that flat track roller derby is a fast-paced contact sport played with two five-member teams roller-skating in the same direction around a track. Teams assist their own scorer, or the jammer, while preventing the other team’s at the same time. Ramsey joined the league in August 2009, and later competed for the all-star team, the Dynamite Dolls. The Destruction Dames also are under the umbrella of Demolition City, which was started in 2007.
On June 18, 2010, Evansville’s roller derby league was accepted as a full member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA). Evansville is one of six cities that will host the WFTDA Roller Derby International Playoffs. The Div. I playoffs will be held Sept. 19-21 at the Ford Center. Demolition City also competed in its first-ever Div. II playoff in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, Aug. 22-24 — qualifying as one of the top 60 out of 259 teams. Demolition City fell in its first game Friday against Bear City Roller Derby. On Saturday, Demolition City advanced after defeating the Boulder County Bombers, but were sent home after losing Saturday night to the Queen City Roller Girls.
Evansville Living caught up with Samantha to talk roller derby (fortunately, not on skates).
"At first, I didn’t know (Demolition City Roller Derby) even existed, but I had always been able to roller skate. I’m from Tell City, Indiana, and I grew up at the skating rink. Then one day, the skating rink went away. I was at a conference for work in Indianapolis when I heard about roller derby in Evansville. The very next weekend I went to a bout. I could barely stay seated. I thought to myself: “I don’t know what they are doing, but I’m going to find out.”
On every team there is a pivot, blocker, and jammer. Typically, I am a blocker. I also am the co-captain of the team this year. As a blocker, I play offense and defense at the same time. I create holes by hitting the other team. It is pretty tricky, because it’s a delicate balance. It is a very physical game, but it is just as mental as it is physical.
I have been fortunate, and I am going to knock on wood right now. I suffered a torn MCL or medial collateral ligament, and I either have a cracked or broken tailbone that has never healed. People break bones all the time. I have been lucky. I still play, because I love it so much.
(The playoffs) are a huge deal. We had a meeting with Mayor Lloyd Winnecke and he said it is Evansville’s first-ever international tournament. There is a team from England coming. And for it to be in roller derby, that is huge! A large percentage of people don’t even know what roller derby is, and this is our chance to educate them."
For more information about Demolition City Roller Derby, visit demolitioncityrollerderby.com.