Texas Rollergirls could not function without the hard work, dedication and generosity of our beloved volunteer crew — and we want you to love them as much as we do! Many of them operate behind the scenes and some go out of their way to fade into the background, so you may not be familiar with them, but we’ll be publicly recognizing the awesomeness of one of the valued members of the Texas Rollergirls team each month. Please join us in thanking our Volunteers of the Month for August 2012: The Derby Brothers!
The Derby Brothers are a tireless group of derby widows and fans who support flat track derby leagues all over our local region by laying out tiled sports court floors and painstakingly taping down perfect tracks: in other words, they lay the foundation that lets us skate! Every bout day, the team converges on Austin bright and early to start work, then stick around til the final whistle to cheer us all on — and then start work all over again to pull up the tape and clean the floor.
Luce Bandit, who coordinates the bout-day setup, is adamant that it would be near-impossible to put on a bout without their assistance. “The Derby Brothers are fantastic,” she says. “They set up, maintain and tear down the track every single game, and some of them drive up from Houston to volunteer with our bouts.” The Derby Brothers are a big team, but Big Tom — you may also know him as the Texecutioners’ blood-splattered mascot — has stood out this year as the local point-man. “He, in particular, has been a huge asset this year, helping to coordinate the Derby Brothers, and stepped up in a big way to help with the Star of Texas Bowl,” Luce explains. “But really, we have to offer endless thank yous to all of the Derby Brothers for all of the help that they give.”
We caught up with Derby Brother Mr. Booty — husband of Houston Roller Derby skater Becky Booty — who told us all about the history of the team.
How did the Derby Brothers get started?
We got started in early 2006 after Houston Roller Derby (HRD) purchased a sport court and needed someone to figure out how to lay it and, basically, manage it. In the early days of the league, Mike Maize (aka Mr Floorplay) and I were at a lot of the meetings, so we were asked if we’d like to take it on. We were reluctant at first, but decided it was a real need and it would help the girls out, so we agreed. Our basic take on it was that the girls needed to concentrate on skating a great bout and didn’t need to worry about laying floor and track. We also wanted to create a stable methodology so that the leagues we laid track for could count on things being set up the same way every bout.
How did you come to start laying track here in Austin? When and why did you decide to volunteer with the league?
In 2005 we started going to Austin for Texas Rollergirls bouts and after a year or so, we realized that derby girls were laying the track and so forth before the bouts that they had to skate. This went against everything we stood for as Derby Brothers! So after that bout we spoke to a few of the girls and asked who the people were in the program that were tasked with laying the track. We were basically told that sometimes they show up, sometimes they don’t — so we asked if they’d like the Derby Brothers to handle it for them. They joyously agreed and it’s been one big happy family ever since!
How would you describe your role within the league?
We are very involved with both Houston Roller Derby and Texas Rollergirls, where we major in floor and track, and minor in beer and whiskey disposal.
You guys volunteer with a bunch of leagues in the area. How do you balance that much derby?
It hasn’t always been easy — two weekends of derby every month for the last 6 years has been both taxing and one of the best things I’ve personally ever done! My brothers are the best, these guys kick some serious A$$! Traveling with them and doing derby with them makes the entire thing much more like fun than work! We’ve laid floor in Houston, Austin, Beaumont, Dallas and New Orleans.
What do you find most rewarding about volunteering for the league? What’s most challenging?
I stand on the floor at these roller derby bouts and events that we do and every time they play the National Anthem, I remember how blessed I am to have so many Derby Brothers and derby friends and family out there and how cool it is that we get to do these awesome events — and how I should never take any of this for granted!
The most challenging thing is getting all the scheduling and travel organized and planned. It’s a lot like herding cats — if you are OCD this is not your group of people to try and organize!
Are there are any particular stand-out moments for you in your derby career? What was special about them?
2007 WFTDA Nationals in Austin was the most amazing because it was ground-breaking, and the people I met and worked with on that tournament are still good friends to this day! Not to mention, the Texas Rollergirls took very good care of us all weekend!
2008 Western Regionals was three weeks after Hurricane Ike and one of the more challenging tournaments that we’ve ever put on. The entire thing went great but the last minute planning and getting everything to come together was one of the harder tournaments we’ve been involved with. All in all, I think anyone that was there will remember the Derby Brothers BBQ set up and party tent — it was amazing!
The 2009 East Coast Extravaganza – even though we did not have any duties for this tournament in Philly, we had a golf tournament to raise money for Tequila Mockingbird (a Windy City Rollers skater who suffered a spinal injury during a bout in 2007). Having Chip Queso commentate it during halftime of a Windy City bout as I handed Kola Loca the check was a pretty cool moment!
And of course the recent Star of Texas Bowl! It was another great moment for Texas Rollergirls and the Derby Brothers. We love doing what we do for these girls!!
Do you have any special shout-outs to make?
Big huge props for Big Tom, taking the reins this year due to Houston Roller Derby and Texas Rollergirls bout scheduling conflicts — he’s really stepped up and done a great job. Lefty is the man he can always be counted on for help in Austin.
Also, Mike Maize and Raul Rivera in Houston for covering when I’ve been in Austin — these guys can do this in their sleep. They git er dun!!!
And without these people below none of this would have ever happened:
- William Ford (Mr Freight Train)
- Cary Porter (Trailmix)
- Christopher Moreno (B.S. Meatball)
- Connelly Wirth (Conn)
- Eric G. Wells (Mr Pixie)
- Marc Declerq (The Hot Rink Sweeper)
- Jack Camacho (All Man Joy)
- Joseph Frybert (Mr Stick)
- Johnny Diablo
- John Davis (Chappy)
- Kim and Derek Lundquist (The Super Fans)
- Kane Lawless (My Ninja)
- Kris Rosenko (Puke-a-hontas)
- Scott Sutherland (Sir Loin)
- Poppa Morphine
- Earl Ball
- Ozzy Zion
Thanks again, Mr Booty, for talking to us and for all you and the rest of the Derby Brothers do for the league. Texas Rollergirls would not be what it is today without your help!