Local roller derby bouts

Local roller derby bouts

The Derby Revolution faces the Visalia V-Town Derby Dames on Feb. 25.

Omar Oseguera, Photographer

Sports are highly thought of as dominated by men, but that does not stop the ladies of Derby Revolution of Bakersfield from stepping into the rink and displaying their intensity in Roller Derby.

Roller derby bouts consist of five women from each team on the track at one time, and so 10 women at a time on the track. Two of them are jammers and wear helmet panties with a star on them. The goal of jammers is to score points. The rest of the skaters form a pack and try to let their respective jammer get in through a hole while attempting to block the other team’s jammer from scoring.

Tonya Warren, 41, also known as Tonka Toy, started the Derby Revolution of Bakersfield.

“I started Roller Derby six years ago, and had seen it on the A&E TV show ‘Roller Girls,’ and was challenged by a friend to do it… so as soon as it came to town, I joined.”

Tonya, who has been an athlete her whole life, recognized that there aren’t many organized sports for women.

“Roller Derby isn’t just a sport. It’s almost like its own little entity.”

She acknowledges that, although Roller Derby is a physical sport, you don’t necessarily have to be an athlete to join.

“Everybody has their role on the team. You have the people that are athletes and then you have the people who are just great organizers that want to be a part of something … there is a place for everyone.”

The current captain of the team, Christy Chanley, 43, also known as Chris T. McKnuckles, is a correctional counselor for the California Department of Corrections outside of the rink.

“I’ve been skating for three and a half years now. I started in July of 2008, I believe,” she said.

“I chose to do derby because I saw a photo on the paper, and it was a friend of mine. She had a black eye, Tonka Toy, our founder. I finally kept a schedule on my refrigerator and finally made it to a bout. And as soon as I started watching it, I was like ‘oh heck, where do I sign up?’

“My skate name is Chris T. McKnuckles. The reason I chose that name is because as a kid I was always a tomboy. And when I was growing up, Christy McNichols was a pretty good actress, and she was a tomboy on ‘Family,’ so I went with that because my friends use to call me Christy McNichols all the time.”

When asked about the nicknames, Chanley said, “Some girls go with tough nicknames. It’s just usually something to do with your personality.”

The Derby Revolution of Bakersfield practices twice a week at the Boys and Girls Club on Niles Street Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“We do about 45 minutes of endurance drills … and just drills that have to do with the skills that we use on the track when we play,” says Chanley.

The Derby Revolution of Bakersfield also has a junior team, called the Derby Revolution Brats.

The team ranges from ages 8-17. Practice sessions for the young team are just as intense as the adult league.

“They can probably outskate some of the adults to be honest with you, and their practices run the same as ours,” stated Chanley.

Chanley describes Roller Derby as a very intense sport.

“Derby is a very physical sport. I would say it’s a cross between Nascar, going around the track, and football … it can get violent sometimes. Roller Derby nowadays is not what you remember from the past … we have strict rules, not that we don’t break those rules. It’s not your grandmother’s roller derby. It’s real now.”