Although Billy Barker Days may be better known for the Quesnel Rodeo, there’s another full-contact sporting event which draws roaring crowds and features colourful costumes as well as bruising crashes and spills.
Quesnel’s Gold Pain City Derby Girls will host the annual Gold Rush Rumble on Saturday night (July 21) at Arena 2 at 5 p.m.
Jane Beech, who goes by Queen Beech when in the ring, is the president of the club.
She says this year’s Rumble will be a little different from previous years.
“We’ve opened it up to other leagues to ask them to come out and scrimmage,” she says.
“We’re going to separate the teams by skill levels, so we’ll have an equal playing field for everybody.”
While the activity can be very physical, Beech says everyone looks out for one another.
“Derby is the only sport I’ve played where rivals on the track are best friends after. We will hit somebody to the ground and if they don’t get up fast enough, we rush over to ask them if they’re OK,” she says.
“It’s very competitive, but at the same time very communal.”
The club is expecting skaters from Williams Lake, Kamloops, and Prince George to show up ready to roll.
Shauna Wiwchard went to her first Rumble about four years ago.
“Within minutes I thought, that looks like something I need to do,” she says.
“So I showed up to the first day of ‘Fresh Meat’ in September ready to go.”
Fresh Meat is like a boot camp for newcomers, as some fairly rigorous training is needed before contestants get into the ring.
Wiwchard now goes by Danger Bunny and is fully immersed in the rough and tumble sport.
Spectators at Saturday’s parade can size up the Gold Pain City Derby Girls as they march through the streets of Quesnel before catching them throwing their bodies around in the ring that night.
Tickets are available at the door, with children attending for free. There will be a beer garden, a 50/50 draw and a raffle.