Tucson family’s life revolves around roller derby
The lives of a Tucson family revolve closely around the spinning wheels of roller derby skates.
Betsy Hasman, who skates under the track name Venus Dynamite for the Copper Queens and Saddle Tramps, said she spends about 20 hours per week involved in the sport.
Her daughters Tristan, 16 and Isabelle, 14, skate for the Injustice League team in the Tucson Derby Brats for skaters under 18. And husband Dylan, who uses the track name Dylan 911, referees at both the youth and adult bouts.
The Hasmans said they are excited to take to the track Saturday to begin the 2009 Tucson derby season.
The Derby Brats will skate a match against the Los Angeles Junior Derby Dolls at 4 p.m. The cost is $5.
The four Tucson Roller Derby adult teams – Furious Truckstop Waitresses, Iron Curtain, Vice Squad and Copper Queens – will roll off in a special series of round-robin bouts that begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10. The Saddle Tramps are the league’s travel team and play teams from other cities.
The bouts will take place at Bladeworld, 1065 W. Grant Road.
“We have derby in the genes,” Betsy said Wednesday evening during a break from practice.
“I don’t remember what we did before roller derby,” Tristan said.
Tristan and Isabelle Hasman spend about five hours per week on roller derby practices and matches.
Son Duncan, 17, formerly skated as a referee for Derby Brats matches.
With a strong family focus on roller derby, some other activities may take a back seat.
“The laundry gets done as needed,” Betsy said.
The Hasmans, who live in midtown Tucson, got involved in roller derby after going to see a friend compete in a TRD bout.
Tristan, who skates as Stella Star, and Isabelle, known on the rink as Lexie Luthor, liked what they saw and wanted to get involved.
But no league activities were available for youngsters, so Dylan approached TRD officials and began working on organizing teams, practices and matches for girls under 18.
“I was hooked as a fan,” said Dylan, a software engineer. “I wanted to start a kids league, and with TRD we organized one.”
Tucson Derby Brats was the first under-18 roller derby league, Tristan said. There are now 20 to 30 junior leagues in the United States, she said.
The Derby Brats, for girls 10 to 17, focus on safety while learning the skills needed to zoom around a smooth, flat track, Dylan said.
Derby Brats get youngsters involved in the sport, and can act as a development feeder league to develop skaters for the senior TRD ranks, he said.
Some Derby Brats are approaching the age when they can join TRD, he said. “They are ready to skate.”
In addition to Derby Brats work, Dylan began working as a TRD referee in June 2006.
Betsy, who teaches English and Latin at BASIS School, saw the writing – or perhaps the skate tracks – on the wall.
“I figured if I wanted to see my family I should learn how to skate,” she said.
Betsy is a TRD coach, and instructs beginners on how to skate, make their way through a pack, perform handslings – called whips – with teammates and crash.
Falling is a hard reality of the sport, and skaters wear helmets and protective gear for practices and matches.
Learning how to hit the hard track surface with minimal damage is a key lesson, Betsy said.
“Somebody might fall,” she told a group that was training Wednesday night. “Oh, well, that is what roller derby is all about.”
Upfront expenses getting into roller derby can be high.
Skates can cost more than $200 and protective gear and match uniforms are needed, Dylan said.
Participants in the nonprofit TRD pay to play, he said.
Adult skater dues are $20 per month, he said.
Derby Brats pay a $45 registration fee and $15 dollars a month, he said, but interested girls can try out the sport for a month without cost. The organization also waives fees for youngsters who cannot pay, he said.
The TRD adult league has about 60 participants, including referees and other support personnel, while the Derby Brats have about 30 girls skating and more than 10 parents helping out, he said.
Roller derby helps people grow as people as well as skaters, Tristan said.
The sport appeals to people who may not fit in doing more traditional sports like soccer, she said.
“It’s just a really good experience. People in roller derby are all awesome people,” she said. “I’ve gained a lot of self-confidence.”
The sport is a great activity that has brought his family closer together, as well as introducing them to a healthy activity and new friends, Dylan said.
“The whole league is our family,” Dylan said. “We’re all pretty close.”
Saturday: All four league teams, the Furious Truckstop Waitresses, Iron Curtain, Vice Squad and Copper Queens, will battle each other in a series of 15-minute round-robin bouts.
Tucson Derby Brats will play the Los Angeles Junior Derby Dolls.
March 7: Vice Squad vs. Furious Truckstop Waitresses.
March 28: Iron Curtain vs. Copper Queens.
April 18: Copper Queens vs. Vice Squad and Furious Truckstop Waitresses vs. Iron Curtain in a midseason doubleheader.
May 9: Iron Curtain vs. Vice Squad.
May 30: Furious Truckstop Waitresses vs. Copper Queens
June 13: Season six championship doubleheader.
IF YOU GO
What: Tucson Roller Derby season opener bouts
When: Saturday – Tucson Derby Brats vs. Los Angeles Junior Derby Dolls at 4 p.m.; Furious Truckstop Waitresses, Iron Curtain, Vice Squad and Copper Queens in round-robin action at 7 p.m.
Where: Bladeworld, 1065 W. Grant Road.
Cost: $5 for 4 p.m. event, $10 for 7 p.m. event
For more information and to purchase tickets online: www.tucsonrollerderby.com