More than carnage on eight wheels

The West Kootenay has caught roller derby fever.

Teams from the West Kootenay Roller Derby League faced off at the Carnival of Carnage.

The West Kootenay has caught roller derby fever.

Friday night enthusiastic roller derby fans came out to the Nelson and District Community Complex for the last bout of the season, the Carnival of Carnage.

The Castlegar Dam City Rollers took on the Nelson Lumber Jackies, and then the Nelson Killjoys took to the track against the Salmo Babes of Brutality.

“The outcome never really matters as long as people are having fun. That said the Dams played a damn fine game,” said Pamela (Vicious Kind) Jeffers, captain of the Nelson Killjoys, about Friday’s bout.

As a spectator it’s hard at times to imagine what draws these women to the sport. Roller derby is sometimes violent and aggressive, but most players were drawn to it from the beginning.

“After seeing the Babes vs. Angels first bout in Rossland I was intrigued. To quote me, ‘If Nelson had a derby team I’d totally join.’ Then my sister-in-law Amanda Harris-Sawatzky started derby in Nelson, so I had to join. I’d said I would,” said Jenna (te Ammo) Goodwin, who plays for the Nelson Killjoys.

Goodwin’s biggest fans are in the crowd every time she takes to the track.

“Knowing that my two girls are in the stands helps me skate faster, get up quicker and hit harder. I want them to be as proud of me as I am of them,” she said.

Unlike hockey, or soccer, roller derby is just strong women on eight wheels battling on the track.

“I love playing a game that is hard and fast and scares the crap out of me. My non-derby life is very peaceful and polite, it’s been so exhilarating to come up against some very real fears and absolutely defeat them again and again. That’s confidence,” said Kaleigh (ChainSawndra) Bardon who plays for the Lumber Jackies.

“This season was tough, feeling inexperienced and a little shy against some stiff competition, but I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to what derby looks like when it’s played with finesse,” she said.

Like all team sports, roller derby has brought the women on the teams together.

“I am so pumped to have met some of the most stellar people in the Kootenays. People I wouldn’t have met any other way. All the women in this league are fierce competitors on the track. These are the first women I want to hang out with off skates as well,” said Goodwin.

The West Kootenay Women’s Roller Derby League’s regular season may have come to an end but there is more exciting action to come.

For more information on the league visit their website at


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