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The Appalachian Rollergirls: Our Local Fast-Paced, Nonprofit, High Energy Female Athletes for a Cause

by Becky Petchenik

Aug 1, 2013 Since the founding of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association in 2004, women’s roller derby has become a worldwide phenomenon with leagues sprouting up in the most unlikely of places.  In Boone, a quiet and sleepy town high in the Appalachian mountains, one would think that such a thing as Women’s Roller Derby would be unheard of.   

The Appalachian Rollergirls team was founded in the spring of 2010 by ASU student, Jordan Coats.  She posted to Facebook about an interest in starting a team, and through word of mouth interest grew until the first meeting when over 80 people showed up to take part.  And, as they say, the rest is history.

Outside of school, there are very few real sports for women.  The Appalachian Rollergirls seek to change that.

An empowering and exciting experience that is dedicated to community and support, roller derby teams offer a camaraderie and sisterhood that is often unavailable for women outside of a college setting.  The bouts are fun to watch and even more fun to participate in.  Often audience members will come to the events and then get involved as referees, players, and sponsors.

“Sometimes people get a bad image of roller derby,” said Autumn Rose Reagan, derby alter-ego Autumnconda, of people’s reactions to the sport.  

“They think it’s just a bunch of girls in crazy outfits pretending to beat each other up like professional wrestling.  But it’s not like that at all.  We’re just normal people with interesting hobbies.”

When people learn of the girls’ participation in the sport, they are often met with skepticism and a raised eyebrow.  

For 30 action-packed minutes, these girls fight and kick around the track in flamboyant costumes and alter-egos.  The beatings can be rough at first, but the team encourages new players to keep going and push on.  The team hopes to gain membership in the WFTDA, the big leagues of roller derby, in the near future and ultimately be ranked.