The Wild Wood Rollers derby team started from just a Facebook post but are on the fast-track to becoming a Women's Flat Track Derby Association recognized team
WAYNESVILLE — It was a humble beginning for the Wild Wood Rollers derby team in January.
A simple post on a yard sale Facebook group read, “Does anyone play roller derby at Fort Leonard Wood?”
Nissa Peterson, or “Screamin' Evil” as she's known to the team, is the coach of the team and she said she still remembers finding that post.
“A couple that still lives in Japan that is about to PCS (permanent change of station) here in a few months posted [the message],” Peterson said. “[Jen Ogden] and I kind of mobbed on the post and said we do, we do, we do!”
After that, Peterson and Ogden got together and created a page for the group on Facebook and started inviting other people to see if they could get enough girls together as a team. Which, took all of about a week.
“Then we all went out to dinner and decided what we wanted to do, put together a newbie packet with information and we started at the roller rink in Crocker,” Peterson said.
They didn't start out very fancy, but it was at least something for the team, which had gotten beyond excited.
“We started out on rental skates, people were wearing their kids roller skates and knee pads,” Peterson said.
The Wild Wood Rollers have come a long way since then.
All the ladies have team shirts, pads that fit, helmets, skates and most have become decent skaters — all in a matter of five months.
They've improved so much so that the Mid America Rebel Rollers out of Troy, Illinois messaged them to ask if they could borrow some of the Wild Wood Rollers for the bout that is coming up in Lebanon on June 27th.
“As a team we may not be ready, but I knew we had a few players that were,” Peterson said.
To make sure they are, Thursday's practice was very upbeat and physical.
More than a few players took some thunderous shots and hit the floor hard.
But they got back up and skated on. Just because they're ladies, that doesn't mean they can't take the pain.
“We're just playing rough with them because it's going to be rough at the bout,” Peterson said.
Wreck It Roxie (Roxanne Hanna), Buzzed Lightyear (Jen Ogden), Chee Wee Bomb (Jenny Cherry), Honey Badger (Marie Jena) and Hapa Oni (Suzi Shaw) will join the Rebel Rollers for their bouts on the 27th 28th and 29th.
It'll be the first bouts for all of them other than Ogden, who played on a derby team in Korea off of two military bases while her husband was deployed. She and Peterson, who has played for five years, are the only ones with any experience on the team.
They're hoping to change that.
“I would love to see us become an apprentice league,” Peterson said. “Once we start bouting we can get our apprenticeship and then we can become a full WFTDA (Women's Flat Track Derby Association) team.”
After that, the Wild Wood Rollers will be able to start having bouts. Which is music to Ogden's ears.
“I would like for us to be competing with major teams,” Ogden said. “It'll take a little while or so, maybe a year or so, but I'd really like to see us there in the big leagues.”
The only issue is, they don't have a place to host them yet.
Currently, the team is practicing in the Pulaski County Baptist Association building, but it's not large enough to host bouts.
The team would like to have their bouts in Pulaski County, but they haven't found their home just yet.
“I think this area is ready for something like this,” Peterson said. “It's not like there's a big sports team, there's not a lot to do around here, but roller derby is a lot of fun as a spectator sport. I think if we can find the right kind of venue to put this on, I think we can really entertain some people.”
And it's not about money for the Wild Wood Rollers. They're a non-profit derby team.
“Anything we have left over we'll be donating,” Peterson said. “We're just here to play derby.”