After more than two years away from the rink, due to the pandemic, local favorites the Quad City Rollers returned to Eldridge March 19 to battle with the Skunk River Riot.

But if you think this is your grandparents’ roller derby, think again.

Players, “newbies” and fans want you to know there’s something at the bouts for everybody.

First, some background and information on the Rollers. According to their website:

  • The Quad City Rollers was established in 2006 and is an all-female flat-track roller derby league.
  • The Quad City Rollers team is a member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA).
  • The team’s mission is to develop amateur female athletes for national and international competition, foster the physical and mental strength found in these athletes, provide quality sports entertainment for our fans, promote the sport of roller derby and make a positive impact in the community through outreach.
  • The Quad City Rollers operates as a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization and are skater-owned and operated. The organization is entirely run by volunteers; no one receives monetary compensation, including the skaters, trainers, officials and the board of directors who run the organization. Funds raised go towards further development and operation of the league.

Team Captain, President and skater “Roxi Balboa” (her “derby name”) said that despite the pandemic and inability to get together for regular bi-weekly practices, the Rollers were ready to get back into derby action. “It’s been about 2 1/2 years since our last official game,” Balboa said. “We’ve been practicing since August.”

By the way, players who make the team earn the right to have a “derby name” to add to the spectacle and excitement of the sport. Recent official additions to the Rollers “KittyNoPity,” “Jen Hex,” “G.I. Josie” and “Slamdra Dee” joined the ranks that include “King Louie,” “Mean Latifah” and more.

The Rollers were not the only ones ready to get back to “business.” “It’s amazing having roller derby back,” Danica Baker, a fan and former player, said. “I just think it’s really cool that they have this sport here in our area.”

Like any sport, the fans have their favorite athletes. Kylie Baker, Danica Baker’s daughter, said hers is “Roxi Balboa.” Kylie’s mother said roller derby is one of Kylie’s favorite things. “It’s fun,” Kylie said. “People should come and cheer really loud!”

Aside from entertaining the hundreds of fans at the bouts, the team also wants to help potential future players be the best they can be. The Quad City Rollers Junior Derby is a co-ed youth junior roller derby league from Illinois and Iowa open to those 7-17 years old. The goal of this program is to promote knowledge and love of the sport of roller derby, sportsmanship and equality for all children. Divided by skill level, the emphasis is on building skills, teamwork, knowledge of rules and encouragement of all kids. The Quad City Rollers Junior Derby is a member of JRDA (Junior Roller Derby Association).

To check out upcoming games for the Quad City Rollers, click here. Additionally, those interested in learning more about roller derby and possibly joining the team can click here for more information. The Rollers practice twice a week at the Eldridge Community Center and Rollerskating Park, located at 400 South 16th Avenue, Eldridge.

And in case you’re wondering, the Quad City Rollers won against the Skunk River Riot by a score of 202-135.