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Roller Girls Host Drag Show Fundraiser, Prepare for 7th Season

The Black-n-Bluegrass Roller Girls will be back in action this spring for its seventh season.

On Saturday, the team hosts its third annual Derby Does Drag, which will feature ladies from the team dressed up and performing as gentlemen at the York Street Cafe in Newport. The event starts at 8 p.m. and the cost is $5.

"A lot of people call it a reverse drag show," said Richelle Davis, public relations and marketing director for the team. "It's mostly women dressing up as musical idols. It's comical and it's funny, and they're really, really good considering none of our skaters go and do this on the weekend like their part-time interests. They just have a lot of fun."

There will be a handful of men dressed as women to provide back-up dancing. "It should be a lot of fun. It really is hilarious," Davis said.

The Black-n-Bluegrass Roller Girls is made up forty-two diverse women of all types of ages and backgrounds who compete in roller derby against teams from across the country. "It's people you would never think would ever come into contact with each other," said Davis, 33. "We have all varying age groups from eighteen to fifty-three."

"They're just all kinds of different people. Business owners, servers, graphic designers, florists, anything in between. They usually wouldn't cross paths and really, we just look for people who have a big will to really learn the sport of derby because it takes a lot of effort. Roller derby is not something we had growing up as one of our sports choices," Davis said. "Everyone has certain things they have to be able to be good at."

The team is a member of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association and will kick off its new season on April 12 against Gem City at Midwest Hoops in Florence.

According to the WFTDA, "Flat track roller derby is a fast-paced contact team sport that requires speed, strategy, and athleticism. The flat track version of the sport evolved in 2001, and has quickly grown to encompass more than 400 leagues worldwide. This is in large part due to the ease of setting up a flat track--it can be done on any flat surface that is suitable for skating, such as skating rinks, basketball courts, parking lots, and even airplane hangars. This greatly reduces the capital needed to start up a roller derby league, and allows small groups of people to get a fledgling league off the ground. The DIY spirit that drives the sport allows roller derby leagues to create their own unique identities and adapt their structures to reflect their local communities."

The Black-n-Bluegrass Roller Girls have competed in Buffalo and Philadelphia and faces lots of regional teams from Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. They play the Cincinnati Rollergirls in an annual crosstown knockdown.

The team also gives back to the community.

They feature a different local charity at each home bout and volunteer their time at charitable events since the team's inception in 2006. Organizations like Susan G. Komen, BeConcerned, Cinderella's Closet, Spina Bifida Association of Cincinnati, Faceswithoutplaces, Freestore Foodbank, Crohn's Foundation of America and Rob's Kids are some of the charities the team has hellped.

"We are skaters, athletes, mothers, teachers, graphic designers and everything in between but most importantly we are our community and we are here to support it," Davis said. "With a world full of negative events and people these are the types of people and organizations that should be getting recognition. Women supporting each other and the community they live in, doing the right things for the right reasons."

"That's a big part of what we do."

For more: Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

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