BUTTE — Look out for the Queens.
Butte’s Copper City Queens roller derby squad is beginning its fourth season. For those who haven’t seen the derby, it’s a tough sport that requires a lot more than being able to skate.
“Skating ability is big, but playing as a team is more important than having a bunch of solo acts,” said coach Rob Daugherty, who goes by the name Coach Slamrock. “If they don’t play as a team, they can’t win.”
They’ve been playing well as a team and are starting to catch the attention from other teams around the state.
“We’ve won a couple (matches) and I think other teams are keeping (their) eyes on us,” said Bridgett “Tricky Treatz” Petritz.
The object of the match is to score points with your jammer, an offensive skater. The jammer tries to skate through or past a defense consisting of five blockers. For every blocker passed, a point is scored. It’s a high-scoring affair that happens fast, meaning communication is key.
“You have to be able to let your other team players who have their back to the blocker know where (the jammer) is at,” explained Meredith “Megadeth” St. John. “Saying ‘inside, outside’ so (your teammates) can follow that jammer — where they’re going — is huge.”
Skating in the derby takes finesse, but it is also plenty physical.
“We get excited to hit each other,” Petritz said. “If you aren’t doing anything outside of the track, whether it’s stretching or running or being at the gym, you’re going to get hurt.”
Their efforts in physicality and communication are paying off. The Queens won their last bout on the road and are coming home to the Civic Center on March 24. Like any sport, they’re hoping to feed off of a big home crowd.
“You’re, of course, focused on the game, but when you hear your name and people cheering for you specifically or just the Queens, it’s irreplaceable,” said Petritz.
They’re home on Saturday and home on April 14. This season, that could mean a pair of entertaining wins.