Tonight we lace up our skates and hit the rink in Van Buren to see what Roller Derby is all about in this week's Adventure Arkansas.
Erin Bruesch, a member of the nationally ranked River Valley Roller Gurls, simply puts how roller derby is played. "It's a race between the jammers, they go around the track as fast as they have to pass opposing blockers in order to score points."
This physical race requires a helmet, kneepads, elbow pads, wrist guards and mouth guards. The jammer wears a star on their helmet pantry or helmet cover. Bruesch, also known in the roller derby world as Skatrix, says the skates put everyone, no matter the size, in the same category. "I think the wheels kind of even the playing field because any team is going to have a variety of sizes of skaters, and I can take out girls bigger than me, but it's fun."
New faces are always welcome to give it a shot. "We actually have a practice just especially for the new skaters or fresh meat. Don't be intimidated, we will take anybody at any skill level whether you've been on skates ever before and teach you what it takes to be a roller derby girl."
By day, Jennifer Lawson is a cake decorator. At night, she's a starter blocker. "There's nothing to be afraid of, this is a great group of women from all walks of life. We all do different things we call come from different places and we get along great. And it is probably not what you are expecting. It's more fun."
In addition to being a form of exercise, Bruesch also says she sees the most growth in skaters confidence. "We get to go out and take on people who have been doing this for a while and not be afraid to do that and that's one of the number one things I see change in ladies in roller derby."
Lawson says the enjoyment she gets from roller derby will probably last a life time. "I think I'll be out here when I'm a grandma. Actually we have some grandmas on the team and it is a complete addiction."
For a full list of all the trails we have visited, check out the adventure Arkansas Interactive Map.
Adventure Arkansas is brought to you by Fayetteville’s Adventure Subaru.