The Junction City Roller Dolls of Ogden have been a leading force in Utah’s derby scene since they were founded in 2008. The Roller Dolls are women who strive to play strong roles
both on and off the track.
“I think a lot of people still have a picture in their head of old-school 1970s roller derby, where everybody is throwing elbows and tripping and punching,” said team member and coach Jen Philion, also known as Lady Shatterly. Philion’s day job is as the web editor for Weber State University’s office of University Communications.
“There’s a lot more strategy to this game than people expect when they first walk in,” Philion said. “You realize that’s it’s a very complex game, it takes a lot of thinking.”
Flat-track roller derby consists of a point-scoring skater, called the jammer, who works to lap as many opposing skaters as she can. The remaining skaters work defense as they try to block the opposing jammer, and offense as they try to clear a path for their own jammer.
“I’m a blocker,” said Stevie Emerson, who has been in roller derby for about five years. “I’m larger and I’m agile and I’m really loud on the track to communicate to my other teammates.”
While on the track, Emerson goes by her roller derby name, Vulgar Vixen, or Vulgar for short. “I’m known for yelling a lot,” she said. “I kind of have a potty mouth, and I like alliteration, so it (the name) just kind of came together.”
The Dolls practice twice a week for three hours, with additional off-skate practices like conditioning and CrossFit.
“The girls pay to play,” said Deanna Bojanower, or Dee Wrex. “We don’t have sponsors; we pay our own way.”
The Junction City Roller Dolls’ team is all self-run, which Bojanower said requires a lot of drive.
Roller derby being a contact sport, the skaters have experienced their share of bumps and bruises. “I’d never broken a bone until I joined roller derby,” Emerson said. “It was two weeks in and I fell and broke my arm.”
Lulu Tegarte, or Lumenace, is part of the team’s fresh meat, or new recruits. She said the competition and rivalry of roller derby ends once the skates are off. “In a game, you’re like, ‘OK, I’m gonna get this girl out,’ but once you come out of the game, you’re friends. Derby is a community. It’s always fun.”
Many of the Dolls, who hold day jobs from nurse practitioner to graphic designers, said roller derby is their time to let go.
“You’re kind of expected to act a certain way out in public, but here you can let loose and be a little crude and loud,” said Chelsy Bloomfield, or Malibu Harpy, a jammer on the team. “You’re surrounded by lots of strong women who just build you up.”
Philion said her roller derby experience carries over into her everyday life. “I’m a lot more confident in dealing with people in a professional setting,” she said. “Once you’ve stood in front of 80 or 90 extremely competitive, strong-willed women, and you have run a practice and kept their attention and kept them all focused, there’s not really any audience that you can step in front of that’s more intimidating than that.”
The Junction City Roller Dolls have a season of bouts, scrimmages and tournaments scheduled. Skaters said they always hope for a big audience to cheer them on and spread awareness of the sport. Their schedule and recruiting inquiries can be found at JCRDolls.com.
“It becomes addictive,” Philion said. “For me, this is my release that helps me be sane. I can deal with all of the stress in my life or things at work. I know that I can go hit somebody tonight, so everything’s going to be OK.”