(photos by David Strong & Ken Mitchell)
I am Tigre Force, I skate for Helsinki Roller Derby and love my team to death, but I’ve got one weakness: traveling. I fell in love with USA when I attended RollerCon in 2010. We visited Los Angeles for a week with my teammate Ice-S StoneArm before driving to Vegas, had a fun practice with the LA Derby Dolls and got to try out banked track.
|Danger Girl, SummerStorm & Tigre|
RollerCon was an experience that got me hooked up with roller derby for life. I made a lot of connections in there, met my close friend Danger Girl (founder of Rolling Sturgis, Black Hills Wildfire and Black Hills MudRun), invited Hunter S. Toss’Em (Rat City Rollergirls referee) to Helsinki and the list goes on.
After a year I came back and traveled around USA for two months. Got to skate with Oly Rollers, Rat City, RMRG, Denver Roller Dolls to name a few, went to 9 different States and learned a ton to get ready for the first Roller Derby World Cup in 2011. Team Finland (I was the assistant coach and a skater) was placed 5th out of 13 teams.
Year 2012 I went back to USA twice. Spring 2012 I got to see a Men’s Derby triple header in Fargo, ND. Men’s Roller Derby is still taking it’s first steps in Finland so it was good to see the level of Men’s gameplay in the US.
Recently the eye-opener and an unforgettable event that I attended to, was Beat Me Halfway co-ed BootCamp in Jefferson City, Missouri (November 2012). I didn’t know what to expect when I got the invitation from Coach Spanx via Danger Girl. So far I had been to 17 States, met the best leagues in the US, played against Team USA and attended who knows how many bootcamps around the World, and still this event blew my mind.
|tough men & women having a break :)|
The basic structure of each day was 1-3 clinics from the morning until afternoon, and non-stop mini scrimmages all the way till the end of the night. Meaning, you could skate as much as you physically could. For three days in a row. The whole bootcamp, clinics and scrimmages were taught and played by the new WFTDA rules. However, there was a scrimmage played by MADE rules as well. Quadzilla was there to pump up our agility skills, Streak and Meow taught some fancy footwork and basics of jam skating, Magnum P.I.M.P. broke in some new drills that will help all the participated skaters and their leagues to kick some serious ass in their upcoming season. PitchIt (is it ok to include a heart in here?) was whooping ass at two Default Strategy clinics (they were the loudest class!), Coach Spanx made sure everybody started to move their feet as they were blocking, and the cherry on the top was to watch Team Xtreme (National All-Star Co-Ed Team) beat up another all-star co-ed travel team, Berzerker.
|speed, power, agility...|
The skating skill level at this BootCamp was very high. It was the highest I’ve ever seen. Yes, there was a beginner class and yes there were novice bouts, but none of them looked like rookies were on the track. The intermediate level was definitely advanced, and the advanced scrimmages were fast, tough, rough and awesome! If you are not a fan of slow derby, Beat Me Halfway is your kind of a bootcamp. If you like to get your ass kicked and get inspiration from the fastest and strongest female & male skaters in the States and push yourself to the max, go to BMH 2013.
|figuring out a hip hook :D|