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Waimea Wranglers women’s derby celebrate their first year

<p>The Waimea Wranglers compete against the Echo City Knockouts during a game held in Honokaa in March. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

The Waimea Wranglers compete against the Echo City Knockouts during a game held in Honokaa in March. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)

<p>A jammer wears a star on her helmet, jammers are the only members of the team that can score points, skaters rotate between positions throughout the game. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

A jammer wears a star on her helmet, jammers are the only members of the team that can score points, skaters rotate between positions throughout the game. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)

<p>Waimea Wranglers coaches, right, watch from the sidelines during a game against the Echo City Knockouts during a game in Honokaa. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

Waimea Wranglers coaches, right, watch from the sidelines during a game against the Echo City Knockouts during a game in Honokaa. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)

<p>The Waimea Wranglers compete against the Echo City Knockouts during a game held in Honokaa in March. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

The Waimea Wranglers compete against the Echo City Knockouts during a game held in Honokaa in March. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)

<p>A jammer wears a star on her helmet, jammers are the only members of the team that can score points, skaters rotate between positions throughout the game. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

A jammer wears a star on her helmet, jammers are the only members of the team that can score points, skaters rotate between positions throughout the game. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)

<p>A jammer wears a star on her helmet, jammers are the only members of the team that can score points, skaters rotate between positions throughout the game. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

A jammer wears a star on her helmet, jammers are the only members of the team that can score points, skaters rotate between positions throughout the game. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)

Celebrating one year of existence, the Waimea Wranglers Rough Roller girls will hold a First Birthday Bout roller derby game on Saturday, June 8, at the Honokaa Sports Complex Gym.

At the event, the Wranglers will compete against the Kona Outlaw Roller Girls — a team they defeated on May 11, 155 to 148, in front of a packed Kekuaokalani gym. The match drew an enthusiastic crowd of supporters of all ages — who shored up the team’s victory with eruptions of cheers and whistles for the feisty athletes.

Sandy Lau, aka “Booty Bamz,” said she was one of the five original team members when the group came together last year. Now, the team has grown to 20 members, and the Wranglers are still recruiting.

“My dad was a football coach, and roller derby is the closest sport to football I can play,” Lau said. “The thrill, the adrenaline — it’s such a rush.”

Women’s flat track roller derby was played in the 1940’s and 50’s, but derby’s modern revival really began in the early 2000’s. Initially, it began in Austin, Texas, and by 2006, there were over 135 teams. There are now over 1,200 amateur leagues worldwide.

The Waimea Wranglers Rough Rollers is an all woman, skater-owned league with members from Waikoloa, Waimea, Kohala and Hamakua. The Waimea league women range in age from 20 to 40-something, who are “strong, intelligent women who share a goal of emotional growth and physical strength through the sport of roller derby.”

Moryka Campbell, aka “Anya Okole,” said she previously played with the Kona Outlaws. Now a team member of the Wranglers, Campbell said she “just loves those Kona gals.”

“There is nothing like being in the game itself,” said Campbell. “It’s so nice having teammate camaraderie, even in this full-contact sport.”

The game is a series of races between two teams of 14 players. Five from each team are on the track at any one time. Each team’s “jammer” is the only player to score points. Four blockers try to stop the other team’s jammer while helping their own jammer go forward.

Each team has one blocker who is the pivot, and she controls the speed of the pack and calls her teams plays. Jammers wear stars and pivots wear stripes on their helmets. Each bout consists of many jams, and a jam can last up to two minutes. There is no fighting, punching, elbows, kneeing, kicking or hitting to the backs. Players use hip checks, shoulder hits and positional body blocking to impede or take out their opponents.

Roller derby players create and skate using derby names. From the Wranglers team, members include Agony XT, Anya Okole, Booty Bamz, CoCo, Dyna Mike, Hammer-Roid, Hot T, Huntress Thompson, Notorious A.N.G., Professor Rolliarty, Pocket Rocket, Sadie Mae Gutz and coached by Bender and Chew Ya Up.

Campbell said being in roller derby allows women to set aside “being the nice girl,” and play a sport that allows full body contact but at the same time develop fierce team loyalty.

Practices are held in Honokaa on Fridays and Sundays, and at Spencer Park on Tuesdays. The Wranglers are recruiting new team members as well as non-skate officials.

June 8’s bout will be the Wrangler’s fifth official bout in their inaugural season. In addition to an exciting game, there will be a baking contest, and attendees are invited to bring their best roller-derby-themed birthday cakes or cupcakes. The half-time event promises interactive games and includes crowd participation, Campbell said.

Pre-sale tickets are $5 for adults, $1 for children 10 and under, and are available at Without Boundaries in Waimea, or can be purchased from any of the Wranglers. Tickets at the door are $7 for adults, $3 for children and lap babies are free. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the game starts at 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.waimeawranglers.com.