Roller derby tourney takes over Tucson Convention Center

Published: Sep. 6, 2015 at 8:35 PM MST|Updated: Nov. 1, 2015 at 9:40 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Tucson already has its own roller derby community, but this weekend's tournament at the Tucson Convention Center attracted teams from around the globe.
The playoff bracket for Women's Flat Track Derby Association Division 1 teams included teams from Canada, Australia and across the United States. Each team represents the entire league of athletes from a particular region.
Sunday's championship match pits the Bay Area Derby Girls against the Victorian Roller Derby League. After a few years of working her way up the ranks, Skatelyn #36 with B.A.D. Girls said she can't get enough of the sport.
"I had no idea of the scope of roller derby when I started," she said. "It's an amazing sport. It's dynamic, it's fast, it's aggressive."
Especially at the Division 1 level, according  to Joanne Amstutz, who is part of Tucson Roller Derby, a local league with several teams. She said the weekend's tournament is a great opportunity for local skaters to see a higher level of competition and it makes an exciting experience for fans who may not understand the resurgence of the sport.
"They don't realize that it's back and it's not just a gimmick," said Amstutz. "It's got real athletes with women that train hard."
Amstutz, skate alias Mystery Meat, said Tucson hosted the first WFTDA championship years ago, so the local team put in a bid to host one of this year's
tournament. Qualifying teams from the Tucson event will earn a spot to the 2015 championship in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The sport continues to grow, with more teams popping up all over, according to Amstutz. She said all the athletes have their own jobs and responsibilities, but roller derby does a great job of bringing people together.
"It's kind of cool," she said. "You have people that are lawyers and teachers and doctors and veterinarians and people that are hairdressers and taxi drivers."
The WFTDA tournament wraps up Sunday night, but Amstutz said anyone that missed the action can enjoy it on a local level Saturday September 12 at Tucson Indoor Sports Complex. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. with the skating set to start at 7:00 p.m.

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