The Old Capitol City Roller Derby’s season starts this Saturday, March 21 at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, where their two teams, the All-Stars and Ped Maulers, will bout against Des Moines’ Team United All-Stars and Blue Ribbon Bullies.
For Iowa City’s flat-track roller derby team, a new season means new changes, including adopting their more gender-inclusive name (they were formerly the Old Capitol City Roller Girls), which they hope will encourage inclusiveness on many levels.
“Roller derby seems to be a place where all are accepted, especially those who might feel like they do not fit in anywhere else,” said Dessie “Dess-O-Mater” Myers, a team board member who plays for the All-Stars and Ped Maulers. “Thinking about a person who has gone through difficulties with gender issues, [feeling] uncomfortable with our name was just not right. … Being inclusive of men is important as well because the league incorporates so many people doing all sorts of skating and non-skating roles.”
The new name was also a side effect of another change for the team: their new status as a nonprofit organization.
“Being a new nonprofit [corporation] necessitated a new name officially, and it just felt like the time was now,” said Myers. “The name feels more official and sport-related instead of cutesy, as we strive to legitimize the sport while maintaining uniqueness.”
For the team, shifting to nonprofit status was a natural move.
“Incorporation puts the nonprofit’s mission and structure above the personal interests of individuals associated with it,” said Theresa “Skates in Circles” Heitz, a Ped Mauler and board member. “As our team grew … it became clear to us that we have been operating as a nonprofit incorporation all along. Making the change was really more a legal issue than one of changing how we run our league.”
Heitz says that being nonprofit will have a multitude of benefits for the team. She says it will help the team financially in the short term, and allow it to become “its own entity.”
With these big changes under their belts, OCCRD looks forward to a busy Spring 2015 season.
“The All-Stars are [traveling] a lot and have a schedule that includes some multi-game weekends in order to make a push for playoffs in the fall,” said Lisa “Left 4 Deadwards” Edwards, All-Star player and head coach. “The Ped Maulers had a solid season last year and continue to grow together as a team. They will play as part of the double header this weekend, but then have some of their own games throughout the spring and fall.”
This weekend, the All-Stars will take on the Team United All-Stars at 6 p.m., with the Ped Maulers bout against the Blue Ribbon Bullies to follow. Tickets are $10 in advance or $13 at the door.
“Both our All-Stars and Ped Maulers played against Team United last year about this time, and [they were] two hard games,” said Edwards. “We have been working on new strategies in preparation for this weekend. It should be an exciting game, no matter the outcome.”