Myrmecos

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The Boneyard Bombshells (red) take on The ‘Paign (blue)
in Champaign-Urbana’s first ever roller derby bout

How many rocket scientists does it take to set up a roller derby bout?

Apparently, the answer is two. That’s how many were on hand Friday night to help lay the track for Champaign-Urbana roller derby‘s sold-out exhibition bout. In a university town there’s a lot of spare expertise floating around. I’m pretty sure we had the most precise track ever measured out in the history of the sport, and the league is only four months old.

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Mrs. Myrmecos (a.k.a. Elle Camino) skates for the Boneyard Bombshells, and that brings me to the point of this post. I was given the opportunity to slip inside the track’s inner circle as official photographer for this inaugural bout.

As those of you who follow this blog know, I don’t normally shoot anything larger than a dung beetle. Sports photography is an entirely different beast from my usual nature gig, full of fast action in low light and with strong constraints on composition and lighting. So I spent the last few weeks in high-ISO training to make sure I had the rudimentary skills to do the job. It was a challenge I was happy to face, though. I’ve been a derby fan since I started following the Copper Queens back in Tucson, and I can’t tell you how happy I am to see the sport picking up steam here in C-U. Fantastic bunch of women, too.

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Houchebag (#M-7) takes a corner

The full set of photos from the bout is posted in the gallery here, but I’ve also pasted a selection below the fold.

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Ready to derby!

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Houchebag gets an assist from fellow bombshell Bear Kylls as The Paign’s Towanda Steel takes aim.

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Bear Kylls and Towanda Steel jostle for position at the head of the pack.

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Bubbly Brawler and Kirb Check in the penalty box.

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Cruel Whip, jammer for The Paign, stretches before the bout.

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Mrs. Myrmecos Elle Camino jams.

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Elle Camino keeps her eye on the pack.

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Cruel Whip’s lead jammer status is signaled by the ref. A fan shares my timing and triggers his flash at just the right moment.

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Say what you like about the fans, but they’re a dedicated lot.

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The final score: Bombshells 98, The Paign 44.

Comments

  1. #1 Terry
    May 23, 2010

    That looks like a lot of fun to watch. I’m now a fan of the sport. Part of my study in momentum.

  2. #2 rick
    May 24, 2010

    I’ll definitely have to check this out this summer

  3. #3 Olive Drinkin 40 oz
    May 24, 2010

    So proud of you gals, the first bout is the most nerve racking, the rest will be mush easier. Well as easy as derby gets. Congrats from an ex Sugar from RMRG!!!!!

  4. #4 Angela
    May 24, 2010

    I’ve been meaning to watch the Rat City Roller Girls (“You win some, you bruise some”) for a long time, but so far their bouts haven’t coincided with my sister’s visits to Seattle.

  5. #5 Mr. Rock
    May 24, 2010

    Too frickin’ cool, Mr. Camino. Congratulations on your widower status.

  6. #6 Jack Jumper
    May 25, 2010

    Alex

    I see Elle Camino takes after her mother.

  7. #7 Squiddhartha
    May 25, 2010

    Another denizen of the world of roller derby! I announce for the Denver Roller Dolls, as Brad Example — look me up if you’re ever in town for a bout!

  8. #8 Alex Wild
    May 25, 2010

    Mr. Rock- Thanks! I presume Ms. Rock is still skating?

    Squiddhartha- Awesome, will do!

  9. #9 Jeff Cullers
    May 26, 2010

    Awesome photos from the bout, thank you. I am hooked on what these women are doing and can’t wait for their next bout.

  10. #10 Steve
    May 26, 2010

    Cool! I went to speed practice at Skateland a couple of times recently to try it out after having not been since I was a kid, and there were quite a few roller derby women there. I didn’t realize it was so big in C-U.

  11. #11 Ryan Caesar
    May 30, 2010

    Interesting connection we have here (other than me being a follower of your blog.) I too am an entomologist, working on my phd in John Wenzel’s lab at Ohio State on damselfly systematics. And, I am a long time roller derby coach, announcer, and supporter. My wife plays as Barracuda(formerly of the Ohio Roller Girls, currently on a 9-month hiatus.) Currently in my spare time I announce for the Cincinnati Rollergirls and the Derby News Network. Great blog!