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Keweenaw derby girls get rolling

November 12, 2012
By Scott Viau ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

OSKAR - The Kenner Dome is cold and in some spots there is water on the floor, but that doesn't stop the Keweenaw Roller Girls, the latest roller derby team to pop up in the Upper Peninsula, from practicing. Other derby teams have formed in Escanaba, Marquette and Kingsford.

The KRG was started about two months ago when Amanda Mears went to a forum page on Michigan Technological University's website with the intention of posting an article about starting a roller derby team, when she saw a similar post by Seri Robinson.

The two joined forces and began the Keweenaw Roller Girls. They now have about 12 players.

Article Photos

Scott Viau/Daily Mining Gazette
From left, Keweenaw Roller Girls Seri Robinson and Kari Graci battle it out on the track at the Kenner Dome in Oskar Sunday. The team is just in its infancy, but members hope to be playing games by summer 2013.

"I had been training the group in Marquette, the Dead River Derby, and I was just so tired of driving down there," said Robinson on her decision to post an ad about starting a roller derby team.

Mears added that one of the main reasons she wanted to start a roller derby team was because it was simply something to do and it's a sport that's open to anyone.

"You don't have to be an athlete to do it," Mears said. "You just have to be a woman and at least 18 years old."

While the team is freshly started, those eagerly awaiting their first game will have to wait until at least summer.

"There's a minimum skills requirement test that we all have to pass before we can actually play against other teams," Mears said. "We're doing skill-building."

To be recognized as a nonprofit organization, the KRG has been doing fundraisers to raise money. Most recently they did a "Bacon Bonanza" where they sold bacon and grilled cheese sandwiches outside The Douglass House Saloon, raising about $600.

"I expected to make maybe two or three hundred, but by no means did I expect to make $600," Mears said.

According to Mears, it will cost about $850 to file for nonprofit status, depending on how much they bring in throughout the year.

The KRG is also in need of practice space, as it won't be able to use the Kenner Dome once it becomes an ice rink. The KRG said it is able to pay rent for a practice space.

Women interested in joining can attend one of the practices. The KRG meets from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursdays and 7 to 9 p.m. Sundays at the Kenner Dome in Oskar. However, the last day for open recruitment is Nov. 18. Anyone interested in joining who misses that date will have to wait until March 24 when the KRG begins to recruit again.

For more information about the Keweenaw Roller Girls, call Amanda Mears at 370-0788.



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