Fall seven times, stand up eight

Fall seven times, stand up eight - A group of people posing for the camera - Roller derby

How the Key West Derby Dames roll

Frican’ Rican, Duchess of Pain, Fire brawl, Salma Havoc.

No, these aren’t names for tourist cocktails or monster trucks, these are the women of the Flat Track Roller Derby team in Key West, affectionately known as the Derby Dames. These women are “trill” (consult Urban Dictionary). They are wives, mothers, and professionals in the community but they skate like Martha Stewart on steroids.

Less than three-years-old, the Derby Dames came about when Lacie “Duchess of Pain” Maninga moved to Key West and missed her old team in Tennessee. Posting on social media, she met up with fellow derby lover, Tamara “Hangin’ Judge” Roy and the rest came together fast.  Women of all backgrounds, ages (Linda “Desdemona Lott” turned 50 this year), all sizes, and all professions compete in two-minute roller jams and raise money for local charities.

The Derby Dames choose to play for local charities that help women, children, vets and pets such as Aids Help, SNIP, Womankind, Adopt a Highway and Bahama Village Music Program.  And this Saturday, Feb. 20 they will be compete against Revolution Roller Derby to raise money for Key West Wildlife Center. 

For Vanessa “3 Second Solo” Soleronzo it’s a good time. “I like to be able to play a sport and give back to the community at the same time,” she said.

And the Dames need the community. It is their spouses, co-workers and friendly volunteers that help out with coaching, announcing, running the jam clock, selling food and tickets, and officiating. Centennial Bank donates food for sale and Select Physical Therapy attends to the ladies’ injuries.

It is a huge effort from everyone to make it happen, but everyone has a good time. It’s a fun family event — from the outfits to the music — and the Dames keep it PG. A ticket to the games is $5, kids under 12 are free, making it affordable entertainment that usually draws crowds of about 200.

“After all we are a league of professional women, and come Monday, we have to be professional again,” said Maninga, a nurse for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department. 

The team boasts two elementary school teachers, military, office managers, an English teacher, a Navy Seabee, a radiologist, a marine biologist, a Merchant Marine and many more.

“This isn’t a team, it’s a family,” said Maninga.

See them fight the Revolution Derby on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. at Southernmost Hockey Rink in Key West. For more details, visit www.keywestderbydames.com.

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Hays Blinckmann is an oil painter, author of the novel “In The Salt,” lover of all things German including husband, children and Bundesliga. She spends her free time developing a font for sarcasm, testing foreign wines and failing miserably at home cooking.