Girls on wheels - sexy and empowering


IT’S SEXY, it’s rough and all the danger-loving girls of Tamworth are signing up for the newest contact sport in town.

Professional roller derby with all its guts and glory is coming to the Country Music Capital and organisers are putting out the call for “fresh meat”.

Local lass Jade Barlow is behind the push to get one of the fastest growing women’s sports in the country to Tamworth and has put out the call for any local girls, no matter what their day job, to get on board.

The sport involves two teams of five members skating around a track, while game play involves a “jammer” who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team. 

The fun begins as the two teams assist their own jammer while trying to block the opposing team’s with every dirty trick in the book at their disposal.

Men are welcome, but only on the sidelines, as is the white-shorted speedy refs who decide if a move or “bump” is above board.

The sport first became popular in the 1940s when millions flocked to games in America but has enjoyed a welcome revival as all things retro become more mainstream.

“It’s sexy and empowering,” Jade said, who epitomises a 1940s pin-up girl with her neckerchief tied around her perfectly coiffed brunette locks and a slash of red lippie. 

“I think girls love the danger element and the added factor of dressing up. The style is very retro and rockabilly.”

A teacher, a barista and a Tamworth businesswoman are among the first to sign up for the Tamworth Roller Derby League.

Brownyn McIntyre runs the Atrium Business Centre by day, and by night she’s honing her skating and jamming skills.

“I just love rollerskating,” the 46-year-old said. 

Tamworth secondary school teacher Danielle Hunt agreed, saying she also loved to skate, but clad in fishnets, short shorts and bright red lipstick.

“I just love the theatre aspect of it,” Ms Hunt said.

The 34-year-old brings her skating experience from the Dead End Derby Rollergirls in Christchurch where she underwent initial training, before moving to Australia.

Joining her is Lizzy Blackman, who is mum to two-year-old Darius and says the danger element of the sport is what attracted her.

“It’s the fear factor,” Mrs Blackman said.

Learning how to steer clear of the danger element is one of the first lessons in “Fresh Meat”, the name given to induction and extensive training for the newest roller derby members.

While the league is still in the process of confirming a venue for training, they have been out looking for new members and charming potential sponsors.

“We’d love some local businesses to get behind the league ” Jade said.

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