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The Southwestern Names Of Roller Derby

The pink-and-stripe-clad skaters of the Tent City Terrors, the all-star team of Arizona Roller Derby.
Courtesy Arizona Roller Derby
The pink-and-stripe-clad skaters of the Tent City Terrors, the all-star team of Arizona Roller Derby.

As a former sports reporter I've seen a wide variety of team mascots. Generally, local sports teams aren't named to invoke political ideologies or unsavory behavior. Stallions. Wildcats. Bulldogs. Titans. Pretty tame.

(However, there is the matter of Southern California's Heritage High Patriots, a recently named school in an area with a history of white supremacist activity. But I digress.)

Roller derby is different. The modern revival of the century-old sport began in the Southwest, starting in Austin in 2001 before spreading to Los Angeles and then Phoenix.

Fortune and CNN recently called derby "the only sport in the world that steals equally from punk, camp and third-wave feminism." This means irreverence without apology, and local flair.

And so across la frontera you'll see plenty of politically incorrect "derby names" chosen by skaters, such as the Sucias team from Crossroads City Derby in Las Cruces. That league was founded by a skater named Puncher Villa. Their "green" beginners are the Chile Verde squad.

Duke City Derby in northern New Mexico named their all-star team the Muñecas Muertas, Texas Roller Derby fields Putas del Fuego, and the Las Tejanas roll for San Antonio's Alamo City Roller Girls. The mythological Chupacabra skates for the Orange County Roller Girls.

My league, Arizona Roller Derby, named its all-star team the Tent City Terrors, a play on Maricopa County's famous inmates. The uniform is black-and-white striped helmets and pink booty shorts.

Other borderland-inspired names have a harder edge.

Juana Chingaso skates for Tucson Roller Derby. Although not local, Canada's E-Ville Roller Derby sports Winnie the Puta. And my own league mate from AZRD calls herself Wetback Attack (more on her soon).

Almost anything goes in roller derby, no apology necessary.

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