Archive for February, 2012

Luna Lovewound

At 3:22 p.m., February 20, the world lost Niki Vodraska, a sweet girl who loved drawing, styling hair, and spending time with her friends and family.

She also loved roller derby.

At the Burning River Roller Girls, we knew Niki as Luna Lovewound, #329, one of our newer recruits and a member of the Pyromaniacs. You may remember her as one of the top four finalists in Full-Contact Musical Chairs at our November charity bout, her big debut in the roller derby world.

Luna puts the lockdown on a chair while Jem A. Lition tries to nab it. Photo courtesy of Dave Brown.

Her name is a play on the Harry Potter character Luna Lovegood, a kind, light-hearted wizard who always saw the best in others and the world around her. It was a fitting name for a young woman who often skated with a smile on her face, an eagerness to learn and a love for life.

That life was cut far too short when a brain aneurysm took over the 36-year-old during a derby practice Sunday night.

While it could have happened anywhere, at any time, we are comforted to know that Luna’s last memory was of doing something she loved with a group of women who cared deeply for her.

Luna badge

Though she was no longer conscious, first aid responders, medical crews and doctors kept her alive long enough for her family and friends to be able to say goodbye.

The avid artist was a member of the creative team for the Burning River Roller Girls, a group of skaters who volunteer their services to designing programs, signs and more for the league.

Niki badge

Her most recent contribution was a logo for the Pyromaniacs. Her design featured a phoenix coming out of the ashes, a symbol she felt represented the rising athletes on the team and which she said had personal meaning for her. The league is now sharing that design as a tribute to Luna.

Please feel free to share your own memories of Luna or give your condolences to her friends, family and teammates here in the comments.

We will be retiring her number, 329, from the league and will keep you posted on more ways we plan to honor her in our upcoming season.

We love you, Luna. You will be so missed.

Photos courtesy of Victoria Stanbridge Photography.



The 2012 season is approaching quickly. And now you can jump into the action even sooner!

Our Burning River All-Stars and HazMat Crew will be hosting a double-header bout against NEO Roller Derby Sunday Feb. 26!

WHAT: Burning River Roller Girls vs. NEO Roller Derby
WHEN: Sunday, Feb. 26
Doors open at 9:50 a.m.
All-Stars start at 10:15 a.m. HazMat starts at 11:30 a.m.
WHERE: Pla-Mor Roller Rink, 22466 Shore Center Drive, Cleveland, OH 44123
COST: $5 general public. (Tickets available at the door. CASH only.)
Children 12 and younger are FREE
Season ticket holders get in FREE (Must RSVP at

That’s right, if you bought a season ticket pass for our 2012 season, you get into this bonus bout for FREE.

Haven’t gotten your season pass yet? It’s not too late! Buy your passes now and then email no later than Feb. 23 to RSVP, and you too can score this extra bout for free as a special thank you.

Season passes can be purchased in person at Wolstein Center box office, by phone at 1-877-468-4946 or online at **Processing/convenience fees apply for online and phone orders. Those not buying a season pass can just purchase tickets for Feb. 26 at the door.

Just remember that THIS bout is at Pla-Mor! Visitors are encouraged to bring collapsible chairs. Refreshments will be available for sale at the Pla-Mor snack bar. No outside food or drinks, please.

Skater name: Mrs. Lovehit

Mrs. Lovehit and LuLu come head to head during a Season 5 bout.

Team: Cleveland Steamers

How did you get into derby?
I first heard about derby when my dad gave me a program as a joke. (“Oh, sure, YOU could join roller derby!”) I later saw BRRG myself at Lakewood’s Fourth of July Parade, and was intrigued. I went to Pla-Mor Roller Rink for an informal meeting, and everyone there was so nice, despite me not really knowing how to skate. I later kept practicing on my own in parking lots and other rinks. My dad couldn’t believe little-ol’-me actually wanted to play roller derby. He said: “I was being facetious!” I replied, “Well, don’t be facetious with me because I just might do it!”

 What’s been your biggest challenge in derby so far?
Getting over the “not being able to skate” hurdle. Fortunately, it has been passed (and then some)!

 How did it feel to get drafted to the Cleveland Steamers last season?
I seriously could not believe it. It was like, “Are you sure you called the right person?”

 What are your goals for the 2012 season?
Become totally badass. 😉

Lovehit packs it up with teammate Gonnolea.

 You were nominated for an award for “Most Improved” from the league. How did that feel?
It’s quite the honor, though sometimes it feels like, “Wow, you used to suck!” (Which is true). It’s better than the alternative. (Who wants to win “least improved”?) But I am happy.

Do you have any derby mentors?
Mosh Spice has been an incredible mentor every step of the way, from the first time I struggled to even stay upright on skates all the way to the Cleveland Steamers. She always has something inspirational to say.

 You’re a librarian by day. There seem to be a lot of librarians playing roller derby. Why do you think that is?
We’re tired of saying “Shh!” all the time. 😉

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I do a mean Munchkin laugh.

Any thank yous or shout-outs you want to give?
Hi Mom and Dad — thanks for the health insurance!

Get some on Valentines Day!

Posted: February 14, 2012 by burningriverrollergirls in General

Let me slip into something more comfortable.

What a dirty mind you have.  We’re talking about the best possible gift you could give someone: Burning River Roller Girls Season Tickets.  They won’t even mind that it’s last minute!  Every bout, every power jam, every penalty, will bring you closer together.

The Decorations are taken care of.  Of course you’ll get red and pink.  But you’ll also get green and polka dots, and blue and yellow and black and orange.

 We’ve got Knockers and Cleveland Steamers, if you’re into that kind of thing.  Can you resist the temptations of our Pin-Ups?  Can you feel the heat of our Hellbombers?

So this year, forget the flowers and chocolate.  What’s more romantic than sweat, hits, and skates?

Burning River Roller Girls.  Get some derby action tonight.

USA Today Picks 11 Things It Likes About Cleveland

And guess what?  We made the list!  How very exciting!  Via Pop Traveler:

“8. Burning River Roller Girls. Roller derby is a sport my wife and I can agree on. Fast paced and exciting, you have to see these girls in action. If you sit in the “suicide seats,” hang onto your beer, and make sure you pay the babysitter extra and go to the fun after-party hosted by the league.”

You’ve got that right!  Check out the full story and see a great photo of a Rolling Pin-Ups v. Cleveland Steamers hit.

Also, stop by Cleveland Scene‘s survey site for the Scene’s Best of Cleveland 2012 and vote for us!