F.A.Q.

Here’s all your basic information about the Ark Valley High Rollers and the sport of roller derby.  When at a bout don’t be shy as our skaters are happy to answer your questions!

How much do games cost?

Admission to games (also known as bouts) cost $10/advance or $12/door per person.   Bouts are family-friendly so bring the kids; children 10 and under get in free with an adult.  Advance tickets can be purchased a week prior to the bout at Moonlight Pizza & Brewpub or Cafe Dawn both in downtown Salida.

Where can I go see a game?

We currently hold home bouts at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds – Event Hall , 10165 County Road 120, Salida, CO 81201.  Check out our Schedule page for upcoming bouts.

Can I join the Ark Valley High Rollers?

Want to be a part of all the action?  AVHR is always looking for new skaters, officials (skating and non-skating) and volunteers!

  • Send an email to recruitment@arkvalleyhighrollers.com and let us know that you are interested and ask questions.  You will be connected with one of our recruitment committee members and will be guided into the steps you need to take.
  • Come watch a practice either Tuesday or Thursday at 6pm at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds.  We practice in the back warehouse building situated to the right of the main fairgrounds building.  If you arrive after 6pm, you will need to knock on the door to get in as they are all in need of a key/code to enter.
  • Ask skaters questions, find out about gear, and figure out if you want to give it a shot!
  • Get your gear together and join us!
  • Recruitment is always open but we will begin Fresh Meat training in Fall 2017.  If you are unable to attend at that time, you can still come and attend training after it has begun.

How often do you practice?

We have two practices every week (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-8pm) that focus on endurance training, derby-specific drills, scrimmage games, and strength work.  Most AVHR skaters are so hooked on skating, we get out on our wheels as often as we can:  bike paths, skateboard parks, city streets, and our kitchen floors are all fair game.

Cross-training and weight lifting are important for injury prevention and because our bodies take such a beating, we recommend all our skaters workout beyond roller derby practice.

Am I too small/big to play roller derby?

There is no ideal build for a roller derby skater — there’s a place for girls of all shapes and sizes in flat track roller derby.  The best recipe for success is to be as fit as possible.  That means developing stamina and building muscular strength — both for skating power and to prevent injuries.

Come on, girls. You know we say it all the time:  size doesn’t matter.

A small frame can be an advantage on the track — you only need a small opening to slip through, and you’re a smaller target for the blockers.  Petite girls who work on their speed can excel as jammers — and some of the hardest hits can be delivered by small blockers who develop their muscle mass.

On the other hand, bigger girls can make formidable blockers and represent both a psychological and physical obstacle for other players.  It’s just harder to get around a big girl!

A plus-size lady who trains for speed can also become an outstanding jammer, taking out her opponents while she scores points on them.

Do you ever get hurt playing roller derby?

Sometimes but it’s comparable to any other sport — skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, etc.  Flat track roller derby is a full-contact sport.  We wear safety gear — helmets, mouth guards, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards — and we have insurance to help us out if and when accidents happen.

How else can I get involved in the league if I can’t or don’t want to skate?

AVHR isn’t just skater-owned & operated, it’s a 100% volunteer-run non-profit!  Every block, bruise and bout is made possible by our team of committed volunteers.  Our volunteers also work hard to support local non-profit organizations whose missions resonate and reflect AVHR’s mission.  We work hard to form a strong, supportive, and welcoming community of skaters, fans, volunteers, and other organizations.  AVHR is always looking for willing hands to help with collecting tickets/money at bouts, working the bake sale and merchandise booth, security, EMTs and much more.  We are also searching for announcers and photographers!  Want to pitch in?  Contact us for more information about how you can help AVHR skate on!

How is modern-day roller derby different than when it started?

Roller derby used to be somewhat scripted.  Now all of the games and plays are real.  We follow the WFTDA rules developed for skater safety and competitive sports play.  Elbow jabbing, for example, now gets a skater sent to the penalty box.  The Ark Valley High Rollers have no professional players – nobody gets paid to play.  Skaters spend countless hours practicing and training, as well as working volunteer jobs to keep the league running.

History of Roller Derby?

Roller derby first began in Chicago, USA in 1935.  Originally an endurance race, roller derby’s popularity grew during the 1940s right through to the 1970s, gaining a reputation for being rough and aggressive.  Players and teams also developed famously intense rivalries.  By the 80s, theatrical elements were devised similar to professional wrestling, and eventually the public interest waned.  However, classic roller derby never completely disappeared.  A few teams remained active after the sport’s decline, and some leagues formed to keep the traditional co-ed format alive.  A recent, sudden explosion in roller derby’s popularity has centered on new, women-only leagues.

The first of these leagues formed in Austin, Texas in 2001.  Since then it seems a new league is forming every couple of weeks somewhere else in the world.  Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby is one of the fastest growing sports on the planet!

How is the game played?  Are there rules?

There are 14 players per team, 5 of whom are on the oval-shaped track at any one time.  Each team consists of a jammer, three blockers and a pivot.

  • The Jammer is the point scorer.  She can be identified by the star on her helmet cover.
  • The Pivot is the pacesetter for each team.  She can be identified by the stripe on her helmet cover.
  • The Blockers make up the rest of the pack.  It’s their job to help their jammer through the pack while simultaneously stopping the other team’s jammer.
  • The Pack – formed by blockers, this is the largest group of skaters within ten feet of each other on the track at a given time.

Basics:

Each game, or ’bout’ is made up of two 30 minute halves, made up of 2 periods called ‘jams’.  The blockers skate in a counter-clockwise direction in a pack formation, with the jammers starting just behind them.

Four blockers from each team make up the “pack.”  One jammer from each team lines up at the jammer start line behind the pack.

When the jam start whistle blows, the first jammer to get through the pack without fouling any opposing players is called the “lead jammer” for that jam.

After the initial pass through, jammers receive one point for each member of the opposing team they pass.  Jammers don’t need to be the “lead jammer” to score points.  Each jam lasts a maximum of two minutes, but the “lead jammer” has the right to end the jam by tapping her hips.

Blockers are simultaneously trying to block the opposing team’s jammer and help their own jammer make it through the pack.

If you’re new to derby, keep an eye on your favorite team’s jammer.  Then, watch the blockers to see how they help or hinder the jammer.

Rules:

While roller derby is a full contact sport, there are very specific rules about where players can be hit and which body parts can be used to hit other players with.  These include: no elbows, no tripping, no back blocking (hitting another player in the back), no cutting the track (going out of bounds and then getting in front of another player) and no fighting.  A referee will call a penalty when observing violations of the rules.

Players who commit a penalty are sent to the ‘box’ for 30 seconds, leaving their teams short a player:  a particular risk when that player is a jammer – a situation usually called a ‘power jam’.  After 7 penalties, players are ejected from the bout.

Flat track roller derby has very specific, standard sporting rules.  We follow the most recent version of the WFTDA rules.   Have questions?  Ask a derby skater.  We tend to be pretty friendly off the track.

For those who don’t want a 30-page technical explanation, here’s a real simple video explanation:

How is the winner determined?

Whoever has the most points at the end of the last jam wins.  The last jam occurs when the game clock reaches zero.  Tie scores are broken by a final overtime jam.

For bout outcome records, check our Schedule page or Flat Track Stats.

Check out the WFTDA’s Roller Derby 101 page and their FAQ.

What is WFTDA?

WFTDA is the acronym for Women’s Flat Track Derby Association.

The WFTDA was formed in 2005 to regulate the new sport of flat track roller derby.  It started as an online discussion group of skaters who wanted to share ideas and support each other.  Now it’s an official membership organization which sets the rules and standards for the game and facilitates networking and collaboration among members.

The WFTDA mission statement spells it out:

“The mission of the WFTDA is to promote and foster the sport of women’s flat-track roller derby by facilitating the development of athletic ability, sportswomanship, and goodwill among member leagues.  The governing philosophy is, “by the skaters, for the skaters.”  Women skaters are primary owners, managers, and operators of each member league and of the coalition.  The operational tasks of the coalition are to set standards for rules, seasons, and safety, and to determine guidelines for the presentations of the national and international athletic competitions of member leagues.  All member leagues have a voice in the decision-making process, and agree to comply with the governing body’s policies.”