Fresno Friday: NoTown Derby!

In writing my Fresno Friday posts, I typically try to stay away from posting about the same places/events that other awesome local bloggers have featured it themselves, because a. I want to respect their work and not seem like I'm trying to steal their thunder, and b. I don't want non-local folks to assume that since local bloggers are doing posts on the same things that there aren't enough unique things to feature here.  That being said however, despite today's post topic having been covered on other local blogs pretty well- I HAVE to feature it because it IS so blame cool and I think there are still a lot of folks even here in Fresno that have no clue that it exists.  (I almost hesitate to share because it has kind of a cool "underground/under the radar/you're cool if you're in the know vibe about it- but it's so fun I'd feel like a jerk if I didn't pass on the info!)  So, I present to you today's Fresno Friday:  NoTown Roller Derby!

 Last weekend the hubs and I had the pleasure of attending our first local Roller Derby event.  It was a unique event too, because the local roller derby skaters actually divided themselves into three separate teams and played in matches against each other in an event they dubbed the FresYes Fest.  It was so much fun to watch and I hear it was actually decidedly tamer than typical match-ups as teammates didn't want to be overly rough on each other.

If you're like I was, and totally unfamiliar with roller derby, I will attempt to give you a crash course.  Our local teams play what is called "Flat Track Roller Derby" meaning the track is not banked but flat (if you've seen the movie Whip It, they play on a banked track- if you haven't seen it- you should, it's a good flick and will give you some more background on roller derby!).  Here's how it works: (this is taken directly from NoTown's program)

"Flat track roller derby is a series of races between two teams called "jams".  There are five players (including the jammer) from each team on the track at one time.  There are pivots, blockers and jammers.  Pivots and blockers make up the "pack" and start skating on the first whistle.  Jammers start skating on the second whistle.  A jammer's goal is to break through the pack and continue skating to lap the pack again.  If she is first through without committing any penalties, she becomes the lead jammer and has the privilege of calling off the jam at anytime by placing her hands on her hips repeatedly.  On the second pass through, a team will receive one point for each person their jammer passes on the opposing team.  Pivots and blockers make this possible by assisting their jammer through the pack while trying to stop the opposing team's jammer from getting through and scoring. "

Roller Derby is strictly a female sport (as far as I'm aware) and each skater gets to select a unique name/persona.  The names are fun and most sound intimidating or powerful.  The friends we attended with informed us that the names must be registered through the national league and no two players can have the same name- if the name a person selects is taken, they must wait for the owner of the name to retire it and "gift" it to them!  Some of my favorite names on our local teams: Kim Burly, Hari Kari, Karma Kaze, Daze E. Pusher, and Pass A Fist.  (Yes, I've already thought of my own potential names, in case you were wondering, Natastrophie and Nat-outta-hell but I don't think I'm cool or tough enough to actually play ;-))

Though roller derby is played by females- I think it has a ton of appeal to both male and female spectators.  Cool "costume" type team attire, all the roughness of hockey without the cold rink, fast paced action and an easy to understand game make it fun for everyone to watch.

Photo credit: NoTown website
If you'd like to go, jams are currently held indoors at the Fresno Fairgrounds (look for signs off of Chance Ave. entrance) and tickets are $12 at the door or $10 in advance at Twee in Tower or SBI in Riverpark.  Kids 10 and under are free.  (You might be able to win tickets if you watch carefully on the Fresno Beehive site!) Snacks and concessions are available for purchase as well.  The next home jam is scheduled for October 30th.  For more information please visit NoTown's blog or Myspace page.  Interested in finding out if you've got what it takes to skate with the gals of NoTown?  Click here.

Seriously- you've gotta check out NoTown!  So cool!!!


  1. Ok seriously, SIGN ME UP! That looks FABULOUS!

  2. Awesome recognition, thanks! We always encourage new skaters to join our league. New skater practices are on Tuesday nights at Cary Park. Our first boot camp will start the first week of november. A lot of the skaters couldn't stand on skates when they started. One of our goals is to provide the opportunity for abyone to learn. I think you'd be, see you on Tuesday?

    Much derby love,
    Ivory Gretts

    P.S. I saw your derby names on Mike Oz's page and they were some of my favorite. =)

  3. Thanks for helping us get the word out about NOtown Roller Derby! Glad you enjoyed yourself Nat! See you at the next bout!

    Dimples DeVille #59


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