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Vixens get rolling in Hagerstown

December 14, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- Driving rock 'n' roll music, a hit or two to the body and scantly-clad skater girls.

It all computes into roller derby and fans are excited about the sport getting under way in Hagerstown.

A group of women initially started a roller derby team in Greencastle, Pa., and practiced at iSkate81 roller rink in Greencastle.

But that rink was sold and now the women are playing here and going under the name Mason Dixon Roller Vixens, said team captain Jeni Heimbuch.

The Mason Dixon Roller Vixens held its second event at Turner's Skate Palace along Virginia Avenue Sunday night and 130 fans turned out for the action.

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Roller derby is an hour-long game split up into 30-minute halves or three, 20-minute rounds. Each team has a designated scorer, the jammer, who races around the rink and repeatedly tries to break through a pack of skaters during the course of two minutes. The jammers are marked by stars on their helmets.

Spectators lined the sides of the rink Sunday night, periodically giving loud cheers as the excitement began to build. The noise blended with loud rock 'n' roll tunes from groups like KISS and Billy Idol. Live music at an intermission came from Two Tone Tony and the Carburetor Cats.

Roller derby players plowing into each other is one of the main attractions and when one girl took a big tumble Sunday night, a long "ooohhh" went up from the crowd.

Martin Ruppert of Perryville, Md., said he came to Sunday's contest -- called a "bout" -- because he had a friend playing for the Mason Dixon Roller Vixens.

"I always thought the idea of hot chicks rolling around in skates was a good idea," Ruppert said.

Meredith Berry of Martinsburg, W.Va., said he decided to see Sunday's bout after reading about the team in a story recently.

"It's different. It's pretty exciting, actually," said Berry, who brought his 9- and 12-year-old daughters with him.

Tight outfits, body piercings and heavy makeup are common among team players. They have their own derby names, like Ram-a-Hoochie, Poison Princess and Lucretia McEvil.

Team members have other day gigs, like being mothers or working full-time jobs.

Team member Liz Dexic, whose real name is Sydney Harbaugh, said she is a stay-at-home mother of three.

Harbaugh said the sport is a way for her to "lose yourself. We got a lot of cool girls," she said.

"It's an outlet," said Lucretia McEvil, aka Heimbuch, who works as a clinic observer at Washington County Hospital.

Sunday night's turnout was significantly higher than the 60 tickets sold for the first event at the local rink on Nov. 22, said team member Jesse Osborne.

Tickets sold for $10 or $8 if spectators brought in a can of food for a food drive.

"We're really trying to make it big," said Osborne, who was volunteering to help run Sunday's bout.

Osborne said she has not competed in a bout yet, which she said classified her as "fresh meat."

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