July 16, 2012. Traveling down Hwy 321 or Hwy 421 you may have seen billboards featuring Boone’s local roller derby team. Those larger than life billboards only give a glimpse of what live roller derby is really like.
Picture two female skaters from the Appalachian Rollergirls (ARG), skating at rapid speeds and performing in a high intensity game, which is called, in the derby world, a “bout.” Sweat pours down their noses and they wait for the whistle to start the jam. Their eyes meet their opponents, waiting to see who will flinch first, who will make the first move, so it can quickly be countered with a strong hit or body block.
Every skater has their day job, but on a few Saturdays every month they are the Appalachian Roller Girls, queens of the roller rink, or in Boone’s case queens of the George M. Holmes Convocation center on ASU campus. The mission of ARG is to encourage female athleticism, empowerment and community awareness through activities, events and charity involvement. The league was founded in March, 2010 by an ASU student making a post on Facebook. Thanks to Facebook and a local
businesswoman, over 80 women showed up at Skateworld to check out the revival of the rock’em, block’em, knock down sport known as roller derby. ARG has since attracted more than 20 very committed women from around the high country. These women are students, local business owners, bar tenders, mothers, physical trainers, massage therapists and the list goes on.
This season, ARG is undefeated with a record of 6-0, having just come off a win in Savannah, GA this past weekend with a score of 264-81. The team has experienced tremendous success this season through the coaching of Scott Herman, owner of Muscle Works Massage in Boone. At the age of 12, Herman started speed skating and skated competitively for 14 years, followed by 18 years of racing bicycles as a category 2 and master racer. Herman’s athletic past has benefited the growth of ARG through his skating knowledge, discipline, and mostly his respect for the skaters.
“ARG is a skater owned and skater run team,” says ARG team member Shannon Hampton, aka Diesel Pusher.
“Our coach is amazing and he reminds us that ARG is OUR team and that above all the workouts, training and education, respecting our team and each other is extremely important to us. We are all volunteers and play for love of the game, fun, exercise and to raise money for charity as well as people in the community.”
The next ARG home bout is Saturday, August 4th at the George M. Holmes Convocation Center at 7 p.m. ARG will take on the Carolina Bootleggers from Raleigh. ARG is anticipating this bout to be one of the hardest and most difficult on their 2012 schedule. Tickets are available in advance online at www.theholmescenter.com and at local retail locations: Black Cat Burrito, Boone Drug at Deerfield and Lucky Penny. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Brady Bakken Family. Brady is a fifth grader at Valle Crucis Elementary school who has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Burkitt’s Lymphoma.
For more info visit www.appalachianrollergirls.com.