Archive for May, 2012

The championships are almost here, and derby fans, we need your help!

We are looking for volunteers for our upcoming championship bout June 9 at the Wolstein Center. As a skater-owned, skater-run organization, volunteers truly make things happen.

For volunteering your time, you will get into the bout for FREE, which will give you a sneak peek at some of the behind-the-scenes work involved in a bout. Plus you get to share in a delicious free Qdoba buffet back stage with the skaters!

Worried about missing your favorite team play? West Nel Virus will work with your requests to make sure you can maximize your enjoyment of the bout. ANY time you can give to us would be greatly appreciated! You are welcome to bring a friend along to keep you company, so long as your friend is working alongside you 🙂

Please find below a brief list of the opportunities we have available. If you’re interested, please contact West Nel Virus as soon as possible for more details at

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Raffle Ticket Sellers at table
  • Program and Raffle Ticket Sellers in the stands
  • VIP Greeting Table – Greet VIPs and media at Gate C and keep the VIP area secure

Can’t make it June 9? We’d love to have you help out another date this season for our travel team games: June 16 or July 21.

THANK YOU to everyone who has already volunteered. We truly could not do this without you!


Behind the scenes: non-skating officials

Posted: May 29, 2012 by burningriverrollergirls in General, Interviews, WFTDA rankings
Tags: ,

Who are those guys standing in the center of the track anyway? BRRG’s Travis Sickle (second from left) gives us some insight on the inner workings of being an NSO. Photo courtesy of Erl Sod.

Travis Sickle, head non-skating official (NSO) gives us some insight on what he needs to do to prepare for a roller derby bout, changes in national standards and why all of it it is so important to the game of roller derby.

What do you do as Head NSO and how much time does it take?

It’s a routine that starts the day before a bout. All game-day rosters must be mailed to me in advance by Derby Operations so we have no scratches or mistakes. I take these rosters and type their names and numbers into a blank WFTDA StatsBook, which automatically fills in the paperwork I need to print out for game day. Sometimes I have to print out inside whiteboard numbers for visiting teams (Sandusky, Firestarters, travel opponents, etc.) and I have a special spreadsheet for that.

On game day, it’s a cornucopia of activity beginning with assemblage of all whiteboards inside and out, arranging paperwork either on clipboards or at their proper stations, making sure the people who volunteered at their positions are arriving to or already at the venue and getting this all done prior to 5–5:15 P.M. I’m also part of referee meetings and sometimes have to do last-minute accommodations if there are NSO call-offs or absences. This all has to be ready before 5:45 P.M.

I would say it’s not very time-consuming in terms of what I have to do vs. what skaters and referees have to do, but when the time is consumed, you have to make the most of that time if you want a successfully-run bout that doesn’t fall apart on itself.

Travis keeps an eye on the NEO vs. BRRG bout.

Why is your job so important to the league?

The general answer is that statistics serve as a guide to help skaters improve their game.  It also helps skaters and bench coaches understand which of their line-ups worked best as a unit, how each element of the line-up operated in the jams they were in, and how effective they were on both offense and defense. 

How many games have you done stats for?

Not counting scrimmage-like events (e.g. Corndogs n Carnage) or Firestarters (did a few and what a great bunch of skaters they all are), about 136 bouts, 29 of them WFTDA-sanctioned. I have to keep a RefSume for travel purposes.

Does WFTDA officially recognize NSOs?

WFTDA has now instituted a certification track similar to what they do with referees.  Before, the highest certification an NSO could get on a referee track was a One, which is why certification is optional for NSOs. With this track, a non-skating official can pursue a track similar to refereeing and become certified in their position of choice, as well.  There are officiating clinics for non-skating officials as there are for referees.

How and when did you get involved with BRRG?

Thrash-Her (Travis’s wife, of the Hard Knockers) joined in late-2006 and they needed volunteers. I told former-coach Stir-Fry I wanted to volunteer for statistics. I had to come up with a derby name and thought of Travis Sickle in like, 10 seconds. 

I first did scoring (not really scorekeeping as we know it today) and gravitated toward line-ups, where I remained for the first two seasons. In 2008, upon Teddy Roxspin’s exit from the league, I took over as Head NSO and have done penalty of tracking, spotter/wrangler and inside whiteboard; there have been bouts where I’ve performed all of these positions at the same time. Right now, I’m just focusing on Spotter/Wrangler, which allows me to be an all-seeing ubiquitous eye on everything else.

Back in the early years, stats were pretty much a free-for-all with haphazard tracking and spotty volunteer attendance; many leagues weren’t really following a set standard for how they tracked statistics. We didn’t even start using a StatsBook until around 2009.  I’m very glad that the governing body nationwide has issued standards for their NSOs so that the process of tracking interleague bouts is less of a hassle, and these standards also make interchange between leagues far easier.

Travis (forefront) works with NSO team at the championships in Denver last year.

You NSOed for the WFTDA National Championships last year. What did you do and how was it different than NSOing for a home game?

Each individual that was chosen for the Championships was selected based on the mastery of their position. I was honored to have been chosen as a Spotter/Wrangler for an extremely talented crew of experienced officials, many of whom I worked with previously at East Coast Derby Extravaganza and a few new faces as well. That’s huge for someone’s first Big Five tournament experience. I’d say the most emotionally satisfying experience in my derby career to this point was being part of the team of officials that worked the 2011 Championship Bout between Gotham and Oly.

What separates the Championship experience from an interleague game (and in some sense, travel bouts) is that because you’re part of a team that’s considered the best of the best, it allows you to focus on just your piece of the puzzle, which in turn makes the unit itself far more effective. The refs and the crew HNSO kind of let me know this during other bouts and I refined my game that way. I didn’t have to do as many things or worry about how effectively the other positions were performing in the quarters, semis and finals of the WFTDA championships as I did in a home bout. In a way, our home bouts and scrimmages offer the best training for this sort of environment. Spartan-like training to make the real thing easier. That’s not to say wrangling the penalty-heavy matches that we did were easy in any sense of the word, but strict concentration on what you do very much tames a hard task. I brought home a lot from that event.

Since you and Thrash-Her are both involved with derby, how do you keep derby separate from your personal/home lives?
It’s kind of difficult not to, since derby events involve us in so many ways. Between her being involved in the street team and other promotional events and me lending my services to other leagues and tournaments, we’re just all about this thing called derby.  Our 16-year-old keeps us grounded and is a good sport about our involvement.

Happy Memorial Day!

Posted: May 28, 2012 by burningriverrollergirls in General
Tags: ,

Some of the members of the Burning River Roller Girls don their patriotic attire for the Bratenahl Memorial Day Parade this morning.

The Burning River Roller Girls wish all of you a very happy and safe Memorial Day. Enjoy this exquisite weather, but most importantly, take some time to remember those who have given their lives for our country.

Thank you to our fallen soldiers and to those who risk their lives for us every day.


Burning River Roller Girls

Food and drink survey

Posted: May 25, 2012 by burningriverrollergirls in General

If this embedded survey is too clunky for you, you can click here to fill it out. We’d love your feedback either way!

Remembering Mark

Posted: May 23, 2012 by burningriverrollergirls in BRRG News, The Burning River All-Stars

Mark and Sharon Schneider show their love for the Burning River All-Stars.

We love all of our fans here at the Burning River Roller Girls. But some will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Mark and Sharon’s “super fan” seats.

Some have been in the stands bout after bout, year after year since before many of us were even part of this league.

We get to know their faces and their names, and over time, they feel like they are just as much a part of the roller derby family as any one of us.

One such fan has left a very noticeable empty seat in the stands this year.

Mark proudly represented his love for roller derby.

Many of our skaters recall Mark Schneider and his wife, Sharon, from our early years as a league. Even though the couple didn’t personally know any of our skaters outside of derby, they would travel far and wide to see our All-Stars compete. It was always a joy for us to see smiling faces in the stands wearing our team colors while our skaters were far from home.

Which is why we were so sad to learn that Mark passed away earlier this year.

We’ll always remember Mark’s truck, decorated with BRRG stickers and a vanity license plate that touted his love of roller derby.

Eva Lucien with a purse the Schneiders had specially made.

He and Sharon were known to give thoughtful gifts to the skaters, once locating special derby fabric which they had made into purses. Another time Mark compiled a CD of roller derby themed music for a skater.

While Mark’s health was a struggle over the years, he and Sharon always did their best to make it to as many bouts as possible and followed along online whenever he couldn’t make it.

Such love and dedication to our league will not soon be forgotten. Mark, we’ll miss seeing your face in the stands. And Sharon, we send all of our love to you and your family.

The Burning River Roller Girls

Some of the BRRG All-Stars pose with Mark.

Justine Greenwald from Reel Cleveland gets down and derby with the Burning River Roller Girls.

Check out the Burning River Roller Girls on Reel Cleveland!

Justine Greenwald talks to Punkd Pixie, Beatrix Wicked, Soul Eater, Sweet Heart-Attack and Morbid Cherub about how our league works and the basic rules of roller derby.

The group also visits Soza Fitness and Wellness where Matt Soza describes how he comes up with off-skates athletic training routines for the skaters.

Thanks, Reel Cleveland!

Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh

Posted: May 17, 2012 by burningriverrollergirls in travel teams, WFTDA rankings

You know all about the classic Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh rivalries. Now you can witness that longstanding feud on the flat-track.

The Burning River All-Stars will be traveling to Pittsburgh this weekend to take on the Steel City Derby Demons.

WHO: Burning River All-Stars vs. Steel City Derby Demons
WHEN:  Saturday, May 19, 7 p.m. (doors open at 6)
WHERE: Romp N Roll, 1661 E. Sutter Road, Glenshaw, PA 15116
TICKETS: $10 in advance, $15 at the door, children 10 and younger FREE

The bout will be a double-header with Pittsburgh also taking on the Mass Attack All-Stars from Massachusetts.

Our skaters would love to see some orange and blue in the audience cheering them on. And it should be a beautiful weekend for a road trip! Will you be there?