Tonight at Cass Park, the Ithaca League of Women Rollers opens its home season with a doubleheader: the Ithaca BlueStockings vs Rum Rollers followed by Ithaca SufferJets vs the Royal City Roller Girls Brute-Leggers.
Technically, the Ithaca SufferJets home season started last month, but due to construction at Cass Park, the team had to play their first home game, against the Lansing Derby Vixens, in Cortland.
It’s the ninth season for Ithaca’s roller derby league, which has two teams (the SufferJets and BlueStockings) and a junior derby program that helps teach girls how to skate and how to compete in this increasingly popular sport.
Kids are a big part of the action at ILWR events, says skater Katie Everhart. The junior derby team is called the Title IXs, and they often have scrimmages during halftime or between bouts of doubleheaders. Kids also help at the bouts, selling merchandise or the rubber ducks for the halftime duck toss.
Perhaps best of all, kids are a big part of the SufferJets and BlueStockings fan base. Both boys and girls have a chance to see women of all shapes and sizes competing and having a great time, and it makes a clear impact.
“We have many ties to the community, donate to charities, and wonderful culture that has been empowering women, and local athletes since 2008,” says Everhart.
Tonight’s home bout will also serve as a fundraiser for the Women’s Opportunity Center, which will receive a portion of the proceeds. “The Women’s Opportunity Center is leading low income women to the pathway out of poverty by providing them individualized career counseling, training and removing barriers to become job ready and find employment,” say ILWR organizers.
Next month’s bout, also a doubleheader, will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Advocacy Center of Tompkins County, “a comprehensive domestic & sexual violence service agency providing 24 hour hotline, shelter, advocacy, and counseling services for women, children and men, education and prevention programs and community coordination.” That bout, on Saturday, July 16th, will pit the SufferJets against the Roc City Roller Derby Roc Stars and the ILJR Title IXs against the Montréal Roller Derby Junior Rhythm and Bruise.
Tickets for tonight’s bout are $8 in advance at brownpapertickets.com or $10 at the door, $5 for kids 13-17, and free for kids 12 and under. Season passes are available, as well. Doors open at 6pm at Cass Park, on Taughannock Boulevard (Route 89) next to the Hangar Theatre and the Treman Marina. The first whistle will be at 7pm.