Oskaloosa.com

Local News

April 5, 2010

Mahaska Mayhem prepare for battle

OSKALOOSA — These ladies mean business.

Spinnin’ Wheels Skate Center played host to a fierce team of competitors Wednesday night. The rink is home to Oskaloosa’s own all-female roller derby team, the Mahaska Mayhem.

One team member, known as “Anita Spankins,” said she has spent much of her life in Spinnin’ Wheels before signing on with the Mayhem.

“I was the very first person to ever have a birthday party here in 1979,” said Spankins. “I love to skate and I like to be competitive. I thought it was a good sport for a girl who can’t play basketball.”

Mahaska Mayhem Team Captain “Loco Landshark” said the team was formed by five individuals Nov. 1, 2009, who were just looking to get into shape and have some fun. The team soon found itself with more members and by January of this year, they started to get serious, said Landshark. That same month they registered their team with USA Roller Sports and began to adhere to WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association) regulations.

Jason Glasgow, Spinnin’ Wheels Skate Center owner and Mahaska Mayhem team coach, said that, although roller derby might be relatively new to some of his team members, many of them are veteran skaters who have been  skating for more than 20 years.

“I truly believe in the girls we’ve put together,” Glasgow. “I know we can be competitive.”

Along with their competitive nature, Mahaska Mayhem team members are well-aware of the full-contact element of roller derby. For rules on how the game is played according to the USARS, visit the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Web site at www.wftda.com.

“There’s rules,” Glasgow said. “There’s bloody lips and elbows. But, there’s a penalty box and a real game going on for sure.”

Since forming the team, Glasgow said it’s been a real learning process for some team members. He said many of them were not familiar with the rules of roller derby back then.

Mahaska Mayhem is truly a family affair. Glasgow said each of the team’s male coaches are married to team members. At Wednesday’s practice several children of team members watched their mothers practice intently.

The Mahaska Mayhem team has a diverse array of players, said Glasgow.

“We’ve seen a bunch of moms from age 21 to 40 join the team for whatever reason,” said Glasgow who noted that many team members feel empowered through their camaraderie with team mates. “Some of these girls I skated with here as a kid. A lot of them have brought their kids in and gotten them into skating.”

Attracting young people to roller skating is an intended aftereffect of the Mahaska Mayhem roller derby team, said Glasgow.

“Don’t let skate rinks die,” said Glasgow owner of the 30-year-old Spinnin’ Wheels facility.

In order to further stir up interest in the team and roller skating in general, Mahaska Mayhem will be hosting an “Old Skate Game,” much like a high school football “old shoe game” April 11 at Spinnin’ Wheels.

“If we can pack this small place, it’ll be a neat atmosphere,” said Glasgow.

However, this is only a prelude to the real competition in Des Moines May 15.

On that day, Mahaska Mayhem will compete in their first formal bout against the team that inspired them to form in the first place: The Mid Iowa Rollers.

Spankins said that, beyond competitions comes the fact that Mahaska Mayhem are striving to be positive members of the Oskaloosa community. The team will be volunteering at the upcoming United Way 5K run, as well as the Relay For Life event in Oskaloosa this coming July.

“We’ll be out there in the community becoming involved in community activities to put out a positive message,” said Spankins.

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Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at news2@oskyherald.com

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