EDITOR’S Bleeding heartland roller girls PICS | Kassi Bowles
t my first practice, I sat on a churchpew-turned-penalty-box next to Kaka Caliente (aka Tyler Ferguson, one of the most impressive athletic specimens I’ve had the pleasure of meeting) and watched women circle the track at the Bleeding Heartland Roller Girls training warehouse in Bloomington. On four wheels, many of them seemed to glide like birds of prey, their movements swift, lithe and lethal. There are about five ways to stop on skates, Kaka told me. “Are any of them running into a wall and then crawling to the exit?” I asked. Turns out, no. When I signed up for the four-week BHRG training boot camp, I expected fierceness in fishnets and wickedly cute nicknames. What I didn’t expect was how nice everyone was. No sooner would I—paff!— hit the ground (which I did, a lot) than I’d hear, “That looked great! You almost had that!” If you fall, they said, you were probably trying something new, and that is always encouraged. Even within that positive environment, they don’t sugar coat their sport: Roller derby comes with injuries—it’s a matter of when, not if— and they share tips and techniques for preventing and caring for them. Safety is serious 4
Acting tough with Kaka Caliente business: You forget a single piece of protective gear, you get off the track right now and get it. I had rough days, and let me tell you, on four wheels, I was more dodo bird than bird of prey [I’m not getting one-on-one attention in some of these photos because of this magazine—I needed that much help!], but I had tremendous fun with roller derby. My skating improved, and the women I met were just as tough, fun, smart and awesome as advertised. (My personal thanks to Kaka, Mo, Felony, Mauls, Knock’r and the other brilliant derby
gals who gave me their time, talent and friendship. You’re the coolest.) Check out their site, bleedingheartlandrollergirls. com, for their next bout (there’s one coming up in Bloomington on March 23), and maybe even hit the flat track yourself. There are no size, age, skill, or fitness requirements; everyone is welcome. And it’s always a good time in my book if you leave with fresh bruises and new friends. Get after it, girls.
Kathryn S. Gardiner, Editor
South-Central Indiana's Adventure Magazine