International Derby Excitement

The weekend of June 21: not only was it some of the longest days of the year, but it was also a momentous time for Keweenaw Roller Derby. For the first time, Keweenaw Roller Derby crossed the Canadian border to take on Thunder Bay Babes of Thunder. We all headed up on Friday, and the eight-hour trip flew by as it was non-stop conversation and laughter. The morning of the bout, most of the team ventured to picturesque Kakabeka waterfalls and walked around the provincial park- It was a perfect way to move about and see some of the wonderful natural beauty that Canada had to offer. We all came back together for an in-room taco party (you really can’t go wrong with a taco party), collected our thoughts, and rested for the bout.

Fittingly for June, the bout was Pride themed, and so we donned our rainbows and in typical KiKo fashion I did some wild rainbow bout makeup. When it was time to bout KRD took to the track with just eight skaters, some blockers going three or more jams in a row! Everyone skated with heart, pushed themselves, and nailed it. I am so proud of my team! Our bench coaches, Afro, Fifi, and Luna, were our rocks: they helped us hold it together in addition to keeping everything moving smoothly and communicating with us as to what needed to be done. This was one of the most exhausting games that I have ever skated (my teammates can probably agree) but I would do it again in a heartbeat. Thank you, Thunder Bay, for the wonderful experience!

-Kim Kong

Bubble’s Perspective or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Roller Derby

Keweenaw Roller Derby invited Traverse City Roller Derby’s Toxic Cherries knowing it was unlikely we would rock the scoreboard. And this mentality is how I know derby is uniquely my scene.

Saturday was my first bout on skates, but I’ve been working up to this moment since September 2017 when I first strapped on skates and duck-walked onto the track at an intro to derby bootcamp in the Calumet Colosseum. I’ve never been athletic, never been on a team, but this sport is an unrelenting inspiration and the people involved even moreso. We skate, we hit, we train, we fall, we laugh, and we get back up. We smile at our competitors and they smile back. KRD plays to win, but we never value the win more than the experience.

Up until Saturday, I’d been involved in bouts on the sidelines: filling volunteer holes, directing, coaching, and wrangling skaters on the bench. Despite my slow mastery of the skills, there has always been a place for me in the league. I have watched my team learn and grow through tough matchups with stellar opponents. This weekend, I got to join them.

It was awesome.

We took some hits, we struggled against their offense, and we often failed to counter their defense. Traverse City was the stronger team, but you don’t gain muscle by lifting lighter weights. We pushed our bodies, found skills to work on, and witnessed new strategies to try. Best of all, we had a great time testing ourselves against a team of excellent skaters, coaches, and staff. This sport encompasses a world-wide community of teams that respect and lift up one another and this weekend was a prime example.


We had a couple of intro to derby bootcamps this week and we’ll be starting KRD new skater training at the end of this month. If you missed the opportunity to try us out and you’re ready to be a part of something empowering and fun, please reach out to and we can work with you to get you enrolled in the program. If you’re looking for a way to get involved but don’t want to play, you can train to be a skating official, non-skating official, or help us out by volunteering at a bout!

Princess BubbleButt

Join Keweenaw Roller Derby!

Are you interested in joining roller derby? KRD is hosting a bootcamp where you can get your feet wet and try out some gear. Attend a bootcamp on June 3 or June 6, from 6:30p-9:00p. We’ll provide the gear and some basic instruction on stops, starts, and the game of roller derby (don’t worry, no on-skates hitting that first day!) For more info, check out our Facebook events!

Our full new skater program will run June 27-August 3  on Monday and Thursday nights, 6:30-8:30pm. More info to come!

Unicorn Invasion!

Team Unicorn LogoLast Saturday night, historic Dee Stadium in Houghton and Keweenaw Roller Derby played host to a magical herd of unicorns. Team Unicorn from Madison Roller Derby, to be exact.

The action got underway at 6:00, and the Unicorns jumped into an early lead that they held on to for almost the entire bout. It was a physical and hard-hitting game; one of the most physical that we’ve experienced. Despite this, penalties were relatively low for the Keweenaw Rollers, something that is a reflection of our rigorous training regime and commitment to fair play.

The bout ended with the final score of 99 for Keweenaw, 190 for Team Unicorn. In spite of taking a loss, KRD skated well, hard, and played clean.

One of the things that attracts many to roller derby is that there’s room for all body types and athletic abilities on the track. Team Unicorn demonstrates this in practice as they had a roster on Saturday made up of skaters of a variety body types, and our jammers got some valuable experience tangling with bigger, solid blockers than those currently on KRD’s roster.

Those who were there can confirm that the energy was electric last Saturday. Hopefully that vibe is a portent of things to come for the 2019 season and will only continue as KRD skates both at the Dee and on the road.


MVP Jammer: Afro Disiac

MVP Blocker: I Love Skatin’

Kick-Ass Communicator Award: Rowena Ragin’Claw

Fierce Feet Award: Smushella DeVil

Keweenaw Takes a Win in Beloit

A very quick derby primer for the brand new fans: Derby bouts are played on a flat oval track in rounds called jams. Each jam, both teams field a jammer and four blockers. The first jammer to push, dodge, or jump their way through the pack of blockers is awarded “Lead” status and has the ability to strategically call off the jam. Some jams, the jammers go round and round to rack up points, while in others they grab four points and call it off before the opposing jammer gets any. Blockers impede the jammers by forming human walls and (sometimes) knocking jammers right off their skates!


While Keweenaw Roller Derby’s home season is going to kick off in just two short days, the team has already had the opportunity to flex those derby muscles on the road once this year. On April 27, we road-tripped our way down to Southern Wisconsin for a hard-hitting bout against the Beloit Bombshells. KRD took home a win with a final score of 161-178.


Beloit’s jammers proved formidable, gaining lead in just over half the jams. However, KRD spent the winter drilling offensive strategies and it absolutely showed; even when our jammers didn’t snag the lead position, we got them out of the pack and into position to force a call-off fast. In several jams, our non-lead jammers snagged more points than the lead jammers. Quite a feat!


Throughout the game, KRD’s communication was excellent. Skaters who have been with us for just a season or two have really found their skates and identified their strongest positions. Our crop of new skaters are jumping in smoothly and proving invaluable in our walls. The vets continue to push the team in new, strategic directions. As both a skater and a team trainer, I continue to be impressed by the flexibility and self-awareness of KRD. Everyone left the bout full of positivity, excitement, and with a long list of new strategies to try out – exactly the attitude you hope to see in a team!


Huge shout out and thanks to the Beloit Bombshells for being amazing hosts and to all of the officials who made this game possible.


MVP Blocker: I Love Skatin’

MVP Jammer: Smushella deVil

Stellar Bench Staff: Feline Fatale, Hex Bex, and Princess Bubblebutt


Look for us this weekend at the Dee Stadium where we’ll be keeping it low, slow, and hard hitting against Madison’s Team Unicorn!


~ Rowena Ragin’Claw