Goodbye, Luna Lovewound

Posted: February 21, 2012 by burningriverrollergirls in General, The Pyromaniacs
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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.


  1. Lea says:

    BRRG has lost one of our own today–my heartfelt condolences go out to her parents and family. They lost an amazing woman.

    • Devon Thomas says:

      I skate with the Dames of Anarchy in Mason CIty, IA. We recently lost one of our own beloved skaters to a similiar accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with your team and her loved ones. Devon Thomas, RCDOA

      • dana says:

        I just read up on your tragedy about an hour ago. So sad. You are in our thoughts. And thank you for the kind words. -star crash, brrg

    • Frank Kustra says:

      You are all my ‘daughters’, my sadness is with the BRRG.

  2. Mia Sangria says:

    There’s so much to say about her, where to begin? Niki was known for her corny jokes and puns, which usually cracked her up the most. I always loved that about her. No matter how silly she kept ’em coming. When I posted that my daughter hid her rocks in the freezer, Niki’s response: That must be one cool collection. LOL We’re really going to miss her. Love you Luna.

  3. Tom Lewis says:

    So sorry to hear this awful news. Cincinnati roller derby fans send their sincere condolences. RIP Niki.

  4. Alex Kenemer says:

    So sad…I saw her last match over the weekend, and had so much fun that night. Sorry to hear about her passing. Condolences to all those who knew her well.

  5. eRacer X says:

    So sorry to hear this. Touching tribute.

  6. How terrible, deepest condolences to her family, friends and league mates from myself and the Steel City Derby Demons. A good point, though, at least she went doing something that meant to much to her.

  7. Stacy Molloy says:

    So sorry to hear this awful sincere condolences to her family and friends and to her BRRG family!!

  8. Heather Lantz aka Lip Service says:

    So sorry to hear about your loss Burning River. Our hearts go out to you all and Luna’s family. Derby Love, Lip Service QCRG.

  9. sharklegs says:

    Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Roller Radicals send out our condolences to your league, and Luna’s friends and family.

  10. Gracy Dahmer says:

    Lots of derby love comin from phoenix.
    So sad… ❤ my heart and condolences are with all of you!

  11. Mary Garza says:

    I didn’t know you, but may you rest in peace young lady and may your family be comforted right now at this time…..God Bless

  12. Tink says:

    My condolences to her family and the team. Such a lovely tribute,,,

  13. Sergio Barrera says:

    Condolences and prayers on your heartbreaking loss. God bless you all…

  14. Sending much derby love! We send our love & our prayers!

  15. Karen A. Davis says:

    I don’t personally know any of you involved….but my heart is breaking for you all.

  16. Doug McCutcheon says:

    If there’s anything us fans can do, let us know.

  17. Peewee Slayhouse says:

    Classic City Rollergirls in Athens, GA sends sincere condolences to the league and her family & friends. A loss of one derby girl is a loss for us all.

    • Al' paca punch says:

      Your posting is so true….. all of our hearts have a huge void. — Sincerely Cleveland Firestarters Junior Roller Derby

  18. Lil Miss Gunshine says:

    So sorry for your loss. It is a tragedy to lose someone full of life at such a young age.

  19. Amanda says:

    As a roller derby girl I would like to give my deepest condolences to her family, friends, and team mates! May she forever be remembered and lived as the wonderful woman I read about! May god be with you all during this hard and difficult time.

  20. Mollie Tuff Cocktail~Sugartown Rollergirls says:

    Our condolences and prayers to everyone affected by this loss. Lots of derby love to you all.

  21. Irate Pirate says:

    Condolences for her family (derby and blood) she leaves behind.
    <3's and hits from NH Roller Derby.

  22. Hot Pink says:

    My heart goes out to all of you on this tragic news; and what an incredible tribute. Love and prayers!

  23. Eve L. Hazard says:

    Condolences to the family, friends, and league on your loss. The tribute to Luna is touching and obviously heartfelt.

  24. Hale Yeah says:

    My prayers are with you, Luna’s family and friends – may you be able to lean on each other during this difficult time and share the wonderful memories you made with her.

  25. Seaside Siren Rollergirls, UK. says:

    So sorry to hear about your loss.

    Our thoughts are with you and all of Luna’s family and friends x

  26. Panama Jack You Up says:

    Tragic City sends our thoughts and condolences. We understand too well the pain of losing a teammate. Our hearts are with you all.

  27. Tequila Ann Tix says:

    My sincere condolences to family friends and teammates! Derby love to all! Tequila Ann Tix, Little Steel DerbyGirls

  28. Michele says:

    Our love goes out to the family/team!
    Veteran City Rollers

  29. Pasco County Derby Dollz in New Port Richey, Florida sends our deepest condolences to Luna’s family and to her fellow Burning River Roller Girls. She is in our thoughts and prayers. Derby love!

  30. Raine Maker says:

    We are so very sorry to hear of the loss of one our own…derby sisters. May you find peace at this very difficult time.
    Flathead Valley Roller Derby – Montana

  31. ThrashQuatch says:

    This is such a sad event. 😦 I hope you guys are doing alright. Sending my love to her teammates, friends and family.

  32. Becky Thompson says:

    So sorry for your loss both to her derby family and her other family. She definitely sounds like she was doing what she loved when it happened. Always follow your dreams.

  33. RJ says:

    Love from Chicago. God speed(skates) dear Luna.
    To Niki’s family, friends and teammates: celebrate her.

  34. Ashleigh says:

    So sorry to hear this sad news. Im new to derby, and had never heard of Niki before now, but im so sad to hear this, and ny thought are with her friends, family and league. R.I.P Luna Lovewound

  35. Cleveland Roxy says:

    Although I never met her, my heart goes out to Luna’s family and to the team from my hometown. I wish you well during this difficult time.

  36. DeckHer's Dad says:

    My heart sank as I read this. Our deepest and most sincere condolences to the family of Niki, the family of Luna, and to the sisterhood of derby. We celebrate as one, we mourn as one. You remain in our hearts and prayers.

    The Rolling Arsenal of Derby
    Huntsville, Alabama

  37. Elle Frozen Over says:

    Such a sad loss for all those who knew and loved her.

  38. Roundhouse Roller, Whistler Roller Girls says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, derby is one big family and my heart goes out to you all. X

  39. […] a league practice this past Sunday evening. The Burning River Roller Girls have linked to the info here. On behalf of everyone here at F*ck Yeah Roller Girls, we offer our condolences to the friends, […]

  40. The Lansing Derby Vixens in Lansing, MI send our sincerest condolences and love to her family, her friends and her team. This post was a beautifully written tribute to her memory.

  41. Brawl Stanley says:

    Sending all kinds of love from Angel City ❤

  42. All my love to her family, and the entire extended BRRG family, from this Cleveland transplant on the Left Coast.

  43. So sorry for your loss….

  44. Debinatrixx says:

    So very sorry to hear of this tragic event.
    May you all find peace at this very difficult time.

    Sincere condolences to your league, Luna’s friends and family. Our thoughts are with you.

    North Star Roller Girls–Minneapolis, MN

  45. Felon Mirren says:

    Really thinking of you in your loss and can only echo the sentiments above – we are one big family and any loss affects us all – big love from here xxx

  46. Alice says:

    Heartfelt condolences, I can’t think of anything more to say. ❤

  47. MaMa Gore Derby Girl says:

    My heart goes out to her Family, Friends and her extended Derby Family. Smile when you think of her, laugh when she is remembered, and love all she was and stood for. May God Bless.

  48. Trauma Queen says:

    RIP, Derby sister. This is so sad.

  49. Mr. AJ says:

    To the family, friends and BRRG. I pray that God gives you all comfort during this tough time…RIP LUNA

  50. Condolences from a fan of the CNY rollergirls. A loss to one team is a loss to us all. We are with you.

  51. To Luna’s family and teammates. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your derby family near and far sends their love and support and prayers.

  52. That is awful. I’m so sorry for your loss. She is in my thoughts.

  53. Courtney Shove- Tucson Roller Derby says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends of Luna. Much much much derby love.

  54. Izzy Wright says:

    The ECRG Skatesaphrenics send their love and condolences to all of you at BRRG and Luna’s family.


    Coach Izzy Wright

  55. Bridget Square says:

    OKCRD in Oklahoma City, OK sends condolences to Luna’s family, teammates and friends. RIP LUNA!!

  56. FearneRotten says:

    condolences from over the pond!! my thoughts are with you all at this tragic time!

  57. Kathy Spence says:

    So very very sorry for the loss of one so young in such a swift, unexpected way. Prayers to her family and friends. Just heartbreaking…

  58. The advertisement at the bottom of the post is REALLY tacky.

    • dana says:

      Unfortunately we can’t control that. WordPress picks up on key words from the blog. It rotates though so it’s not always that way.

  59. Alyssa says:

    Sending condolences from the Rebel Revolution Rollers in Newfoundland, Canada. The tributing is touching and has reached us here. Should there be a way we can help keep her memory alive we would love to help.
    She sounds like Luna will make an amazing angel.
    Take care.

  60. IntoxiKate Grube says:

    What a beautiful tribute. The badge is a really special touch. Condolences from Bakersfiield, California ❤

  61. LeiLani Chesty Puller Hauge says:

    I speak for our league, the Fergus Falls Roller Girls (Fergus Falls, MN) in extending all of our love, prayers & deepest sympathies to Luna’s family, friends, team mates, and of course, her fans. It’s always hard to lose a Sister from our vast and wonderful Derby Family…her memory, her moxie and her being will be truely missed…Derby Love, my Friends ❤

  62. Cat-A-Bolt says:

    I am so lucky and thankful that Luna and I crossed paths, and I am truly a better person for knowing her. You will always be with us, for now you are our derby angel. I will see you on the flat track. With all my love.

  63. Avalanche City Roller Girls of Fernie, B.C. send Luna’s family, friends and teammates our condolences. RIP Luna.

    Much Derby Love,

  64. Cindy says:

    With deepest sympathy to both Niki’s immediate and derby families. Every life must come to an end, unfortunately Niki’s came far too soon. In the natural order of life a child should never have to precede parents in death. But the tragedy is that it happens. Although perhaps too soon for some, I sincerely hope you all can find comfort by celebrating Niki’s life (even if it appears to be in the smallest of ways) every day…

  65. Shelly Robberstad says:

    Such a tragic heartfelt condolences to her family and derby friends/family.

  66. Eva Lucien says:

    Thanks so much for the outpouring of support. Luna was such a fantastic person; her untimely death is cruel.

    We will follow up with more information about donations and other things to remember her by as soon as we have that info. Love to all.

  67. oedisa says:

    My condolences to her family and her team.

  68. Anel says:

    My deepest condolences to both her family and her derby family, stay strong.

  69. Laura says:

    I remember when Niki first told me she wanted to do roller derby. I thought she was nuts – and she was and loved every minute of it! You all meant the world to her. Thank you for loving on my friend!

  70. Heather "Fright" says:

    Whole hearted condolences to Luna’s family, friends and derby sisters. Truly a tragedy and my heart goes out to all of you!

  71. Susan Dempsey says:

    So sorry for everyones loss.

  72. Suzy Slam says:

    Sending our condolences to your league and her family! She sounds like a wonderful person who will be greatly missed I’m sure!
    Tri-City Roller Girls, Kitchener, Ontario

  73. Beautiful tribute. I am so very sorry for your loss. Lots of love and sympathy from Jerry Skid and the Black River Rollers of Watertown, NY. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help!

  74. Vic says:


  75. Anna Maria says:

    Funeral Arrangements for Niki… Craciun Funeral Home, 14935 East Bagley, Middleburg Hts., Saturday, Feb. 25, Memorial Visitation 5-8 P.M. Memorial. Service. Immediately following. If you have any pictures of Niki please e-mail them to Joseph.craciun@dignitymemorial​.com .Be sure to visit to sign Niki’s Guestbook for her family. Continued prayers for peace for family & friends appreciated.

  76. AK47 says:

    It’s always difficult to learn of the loss of a fellow skater. Love and strength to her family, friends, and teammates. ❤

  77. Cyn City says:

    This story breaks my heart…my deepest condolences to Luna’s derby family and loved ones. She was doing what she loved, that is a beautiful thing…life is too short, may her story will inspire many to live to their full potential!

  78. Scargyle says:

    Your neighbors to the north send their deepest, most profound sympathies to Luna’s family, both on and off the track. We are with you.
    xoxo The Ann Arbor Derby Dimes

  79. Kimberly Holbrook-Turman says:

    I didn’t know Luna personally, but my little sister did. I know how much she is impacted by her loss. Prayers have been going up for her family, and fellow derby sisters who will miss her deeply. John 3:16 “…….whosoever believeth in Him will have everlasting life.” Love from Memphis, TN

  80. Melanie Sanders says:

    It is so sad. Sending much love and peace from Salina, KS, Sirens Roller Derby League.

  81. Goodnight Gracie 2012 says:

    Thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Luna Lovegood and to the Burning River Roller girls League, the loss of such a young and loved young woman is felt throughout the derby community. ❤

  82. So sorry for The loss of your beautiful Derby sister …thoughts and prayers ur way from pa radicals

  83. so sorry for the loss of your beautiful derby sister. thoughts and prayers from scranton radicals

  84. Jeremy Allen says:

    “I am the resurrection and the life. She that believeth in me, though she were dead, yet shall she live.” (John 11:25)

    We will see you again, Niki.

    J, J-C, and W

  85. Thundra says:

    I play for WA Roller Derby. Our hearts and thoughts are with you.

  86. Jrtheking says:

    So sad so young

  87. Allen Alderman says:

    well now, this just about sucks for the BRRG… Hope the hole made with her passing is filled with someone just as or as close as we can get to, her. My heart goes out to everyone.

  88. Christina hammock, Punky Rooster says:

    My heart goes out to her family and friends and derby family. I am so sorry for your loss. Words cannot even describe the sadness. ❤

    Gem City Rollergirls

  89. Slamadeus says:

    Sincere condolences to Luna’s family, both real and derby.

  90. AnnGree Byrd says:

    This was a wonderfully written tribute to an obviously very dear friend and derby sister. Even thought she was tragically taken I am sure she felt very blessed being around those that she loved so much.

  91. Amy F. says:

    sooo sorry for your loss. you all (and her other family) will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  92. Demona says:

    Luna was a great soul. Whenever I got the chance to talk with her , she was always smiling. Her eyes spoke of a life full of experience both bad and good. But she let that flourish wisdom within her. Its obvious her imprint on those around her is great. The kindness and compassion she exuded is and will always be well remembered. We are all better people for having known her. RIP our beautiful friend. May you be soaring high in the sky with wings of an angel!

    • Thanks to all of you who helped to try to save Niki. I worked with her everyday at the salon, and she was my best friend. She loved Derby so much. We at Salon Evangelene look forward to meeting many of you BRRGirls at her memorial this Saturday. xoxo
      Evangelene Brown
      Aka Angel

  93. Reading all these replies has me in tears, and I’ve never even met you.
    It is obvious that you meant the world to a great deal of people and were an amazing person that I’d definitely go grab a beer with.
    May your beautiful soul rest in piece forever, and watch over your family, friends and derby girls.

  94. igomogo says:


    from the pics she looks like she was a very pleasant person to be around

  95. Kik Higgins says:

    Masses of love from Glasgow, Scotland to all her family and friends, and to all her derby family who were with her on Sunday night, take solace in the thought that without realising it, you made her last hours happy and fun and surrounded by people she loved.
    Goodbye Luna, skate on x

  96. brian baker says:

    All of my heartfelt derby love goes out to your team during this difficult time.

  97. JoAnna Stanford says:

    I am very sorry for your loss 😦 My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  98. Devil Zone says:

    She will be missed by many … she left doing what she loved!

    She probably slid in to heaven on her knee pads with her wheels blazing and said … “What a ride!”

  99. Lori Wheatley says:

    This is so sad. I’m sorry for her friends and family’ s loss ❤

  100. Scout SnipeHer says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  101. Ghost Strider says:

    That is terribly sad. I am so sorry for your loss.

  102. Alex Matsuo says:

    Derby love from Blarney Smash!

  103. Reblogged this on The Corner Seat and commented:
    The Corner Seat sends our condolences to the family and derby sisters of Niki Vodraska (Luna Lovewound). May she rest in peace.

  104. Tanlook says:

    Un fuerte abrazo para la familia sentimos mucho su perdida .
    Desde México DF Las Diabólicas Roller Derby sentimos muco su perdida

  105. Red Tash says:

    Such a tragic loss. When I started in derby a few years back, I remember feeling “If I don’t do this now, I’ll miss out forever.” Being about the same age then as Luna was when she passed, I knew very well the difficulties of wanting to reach for such a physically challenging sport as derby, with a more “mature” physique. I’m so glad she went for it. I never regretted it. I am *sure* she is skating around heaven now.

    Before I settled on Tyra Durden, I consider Hermione Danger (taken) and some Luna Lovegood wordplay. I can’t help but feel Luna was a kindred spirit, indeed. The Order of the Phoenix, indeed.

    My heart goes out to all of you!! ❤

  106. […] Check out our new BRRG Kids Club and our memorial table for Luna Lovewound in the concourse. Also try your luck at today’s raffle, and look for our “Ask Me About […]

  107. […] Check out our new BRRG Kids Club and our memorial table for Luna Lovewound in the concourse. Also try your luck at today’s raffle, and look for our “Ask Me About […]

  108. […] Check out our BRRG Kids Club and our memorial table for Luna Lovewound in the concourse. Also try your luck at today’s raffle, a basket filled with gobs of gift cards […]

  109. […] Check out our BRRG Kids Club and our memorial table for Luna Lovewound in the concourse. Join us in the fan zone on the track after the last bout for skater […]

  110. antidote says:

    hugs and bruises to all the fam and friends

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