Formed in 2006, the Dutchland Derby Rollers are a do-it-yourself flat track roller derby league, born as just an idea from a group of gals who love to don eight wheels and skate. We dedicate ourselves to athleticism and community involvement while delivering a strong, positive female image to South Central Pennsylvania.
In the Summer of 2005, two friends (soon to be known as Betty Clocker and Josie Cuervo) were hanging out in a local bar enjoying beverages trying to come up with a way to get active and have fun. Starting a recreational kickball league and competitive beer pong were a few of the ideas thrown around. A passerby suggested roller derby and after agreeing that neither of us had worn skates in a decade, we immediately set out to re-learn roller skating! A few days later, we were at the local roller rink in our giant plastic rental skates dodging (unsuccessfully) small children and their less coordinated parents.
Feeling sore, yet inspired, Clocker and Cuervo were motivated to organize their efforts beyond risking life and limb at open skate sessions. A myspace page was put up that Fall and we continued to brave open skate sessions as we attempted to recruit and generate interest from other local women. A young lady, soon to be known as Treasure Chest, started meeting up with us at the local rink; her skating ability surpassed us both so she acted as more of a bodyguard, protecting us from the rinkrats who sped by and laughed as we fell. Several weeks of visiting the local rinks and attempting to master our skating skills, we heard about a group of women in the Harrisburg area who were trying to do the same thing. We immediately connected and when they asked if we were a part of the league starting out at Bube’s Brewery, we acknowledged that we were not, but demanded their contact info so we could be. Soon we met up with the future White Thrash and Penny Purgatory who had also been making efforts to organize a team and schedule skating outings. We joined forces and coordinated with the Harrisburg crew, having our first practice at a rink in Middletown in December 2005!
About 25 skaters strong, we practiced in Middletown for a few weeks before we realized a new practice space would be needed as the current rink was too small for the regulation track. The entire group met up and held elections, deciding on the name Susquehanna Hellfire Roller Derby. Everyone left the meeting high hopes of a long career as a SusqueFire skater. Hours later, Cuervo would receive a call from the new President reporting that the Harrisburg gals had secured practice space in Enola. Due to the distance, it was agreed that Lancaster’s skaters should split off and start a league back in their area. Cuervo quickly contacted the Lancaster skaters, including Laverne N. Surly, Haulin’ Ash, Swoop DeVille, Beat Red, Mimosa Mama, One Eyed Jack, and others to see if they still wanted to move forward.
The answer was a resounding yes, the ladies met almost daily at the Castle Roller Rink for open skate sessions; trying to recruit any woman over the age of 18 they saw donning a pair of quads. Our first league meeting occurred in Josie’s living room that March where the ladies decided to take the name the ‘Dutchland Rollers’ and set out to incorporate, develop rules, a board structure, budgets, solicit press, etc. We secured regular practice sessions at the Castle and our membership quickly swelled to over 50 skaters!
A lot of work would be done over the next several months while we continued to grow and build our league’s business structure. We hosted skaters from more established leagues like Philly, Providence, and Gotham to get a handle on what we were doing and learn the game. We also began planning our first public bout for November 2006.