Sports

Penticton Pistoleras derby girls embrace alter egos

From left to right are (including derby names where applicable): Mel Rempel (Bliss Krieg),  Jessica Michalchuk (Evil Dread), Sharon Giachino, Brigette Fornelli (BlueBelle Bruise-Her), Colleen Milligan (Oozy Q), and Jen Cavanagh (Billy the Skid) during a recent outdoor demonstration on Main Street. - Mark Brett/Penticton Western News
From left to right are (including derby names where applicable): Mel Rempel (Bliss Krieg), Jessica Michalchuk (Evil Dread), Sharon Giachino, Brigette Fornelli (BlueBelle Bruise-Her), Colleen Milligan (Oozy Q), and Jen Cavanagh (Billy the Skid) during a recent outdoor demonstration on Main Street.
— image credit: Mark Brett/Penticton Western News

Equally as important as being able to skate on four wheels, roller derby girls also need a wicked nickname to help them roll over their opponents.

But coming up with a handle isn’t easy, and it can take months to create the right one.

Shannon Lancaster, who transforms into Slay-Her-Moonshine, wanted a named that instilled some fear into her opponents while also describing her approach on the track.

“I like to hit hard and slay the girls,” she said. “I also wanted something relevant to me that I kind of grew up with. Inspired by something that was relevant to me, Sailor Moon, an anime show when I was growing up. I could spin that into a good derby name.

“I’m not always so creative with the names,” said Lancaster, who listened to friends’ suggestions. “You have to pick something out that suits your personality on the track or something that you hope to be kind of personify that as your character. Some know it before they even start derby.”

Lancaster said when the girls hear the announcers mention their names, it gets them into the bout.

“Especially if you hear your name over the announcers while you are doing something awesome,” she said, adding that it gives confidence out on the track.

Lancaster’s favourite name is Onya Knees, who in the real world is Meghan O’Driscoll.

“I like to put people on their knees by big hits,” said Driscoll. “I can give some pretty good hits. I also take pretty big hits. I end up on my knees a lot as well. You give someone a big hit, they want revenge so they will come back for you.”

Crasher in the Thigh is a play off of the J.D. Salinger novel, Catcher in the Rye. Glory MacIntyre, who turns into Crasher in the Thigh on the track, wanted something with a literary reference after working in the Penticton Library for several years.

“I do like Salinger,” she said. “Angst is good in roller derby.”

MacIntyre also credits her name with helping focus on aiming for the thigh.When Summer Zawacky is around, things get messy.

“I am a walking mess. When I hit the pack, it’s usually a mess as well,” said Zawacky, known as Messy Molly Tov. “I’m going to make a mess of things for sure.”

Zawacky said it’s important to put thought into the names as it is something that will stick with them for a few years. It’s also a fun part of being on the team.

“It’s kind of like your opportunity to have like a little alter ego, a get-away from your normal life,” said Zawacky, an environmental consultant. “A little escape to be this bad ass.”

Then there is Oozy Q, which Colleen Milligan created from her love of music and is based on the old song, Suzy Q.

“I’m also an agile kind of skater,” she said. “I see myself as being a little slippery. The ooze kind of comes into it there.”

Oozy Q and the Pistoleras return to action for their last bout on July 5 in Summerland against Public Frenemies from Vancouver. Milligan said Public Frenemies is in a competitive league with talented skaters.

“It’s going to be a real challenge. I think we are ready for a good challenge,” she said.

With it being a team they have never played, there is an added excitement.

“There is that sort of fear of the unknown,” added Miligan. “If they will have big blockers or are super fast.”

The Midsummer Night’s Jam starts at 7 p.m., doors open at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance at Good Omens, Tirecraft and Sun City Tattoos. Tickets at the door are $10. Kids under 10 free.

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