Happy Birthday, Ohio Roller Girls!
The Ohio Roller Girls, originally the brainchild of Melissa Wallace (Scarlette Fury), had its first organizational meeting April 23, 2005 at a local pizza shop. Recruitment continued throughout the summer of 2005, and by winter the league had about 30 skaters practicing regularly. OHRG also was one of the founding leagues of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), what has become the skater-run international governing body of women’s roller derby.
In December 2005, the league hosted an exhibition bout at a skating rink. Titled “Skatemare Before Christmas,” the game pitted the Jingle Belles v. the Roller Ghouls. Each year after, this match-up is revived as a “just-for-fun” charity benefit game at the end of the competitive season. You can read a recap of the very first Skatemare here.
After a year of running drills and gaining their skate legs, The Ohio Roller Girls hosted their first home teams bout on April 23, 2006, exactly one year after their inaugural meeting! The bout was aptly dubbed “First Blood.”
For the first three years, competition was mainly focused on four home teams: the Band of Brawlers, Blackeye Bullies, Sprockettes and the Take-Outs. These home teams competed for the duration of a season, culminating with the Envy Cup championship. They played for Columbus crowds at Battelle Hall in the Greater Columbus Convention Center, and later the Lausche Building at the Ohio Expo Center.
After three seasons of intra-league play, OHRG decided to refocus on inter-league, ranked competition. At the end of the 2008 season, the four home teams were disbanded, and skaters were re-organized into two competitive teams, the OHRG All Stars (the WFTDA Chartered Team for sanctioned/ranked games) and OHRG Gang Green (the B team).
After a lot of hard work, the OHRG All Stars made their second-ever regional appearance in 2011, entering the WFTDA North Central Regional Playoff (Monumental Mayhem in Indianapolis, IN) as the tenth-seed and leaving ninth after defeating the veteran Mad Rollin’ Dolls of Madison,WI.
In 2012, OHRG made even bigger strides towards becoming a regional threat. Starting the year ranked #9, they played a grueling twenty-one bout schedule and steadily climbed the rankings, entering the regional playoffs as the #5 seed. After an exciting win over the Arch Rival Roller Girls, and a pair of losses to Windy City (#1) and Naptown (#3), OHRG snagged the #4 spot in the North Central. Although Ohio narrowly missed qualifying for the Championship tournament, the team earned the votes for both MVP Blocker and MVP Jammer awards at the tournament.
OHRG has come a long way, and we’re not finished yet!
Special shout out to Pippi RipYourStockings, Amy Spears, and HellionBOI who have been continuously skating since the beginning of the league. In roller derby, that is no small feat. Another shout out to Foxy (who came back to us after a season break) and Lightnin’ Bug, Dixie Heartless, and Donna de la Muerte who still volunteer with us!
Photos from various sources: Dorn Byg, Kent the Politician, Dixie Heartless, and the personal collections of our members.