Betties fundraise for competition flooring

By Jessi Haish

DeKalb’s roller derby team already knows the basics. Now, they’re just trying to find a permanent home.

The Barbed Wire Betties, DeKalb’s women’s roller derby team, is in the beginning stages of fundraising for a material on which they can skate. Since the team started in June 2012, it has traveled to other locations for competitions because it hasn’t been able to find a spot to host “bouts,” or games.

The team practices at the Kishwaukee YMCA, 2500 W. Bethany Road, but its members want to purchase a material to cover the floor of a local school’s gym so they can host tournaments there. They hope to host bouts at a venue with adequate seating.

The team runs on, and is known for, its dynamics.

“All these girls are like sisters,” said team member Kristin “Tootsie Bang Bang” Spickerman. “We’ve been together a while … I’m just ridiculously comfortable with them.”

Spickerman hopes the team can find a material that it can “piece together” over the track.

The team works year-round and attracts fans, family and potential Betties. DeKalb resident Carrie Miller plans on trying out for the team after learning about it from her friend Sierra Big John, “Phoenix Enforcer.”

“It’s a wide variety of women on this team,” Miller said. “They are all different ages, have different backgrounds, different jobs … they’ve created their own family.”

Big John’s mother, Jodie Big John, was in attendance at the team’s scrimmage Friday and said it was “very entertaining” to watch, and she hopes the team can host bouts in the area.

The team’s photographer, Dave “KORfan” Schrader, also photographs for two other roller derby teams but finds the Betties unique.

“This team puts a lot of work into the fundamentals,” Schrader said. “They tend to have a low number of penalties. They’ve learned how to skate right and how to play right … they always come out playing right away.”

The team of about 30 women has been doing its part to become involved in the community, like holding bake sales and participating in Corn Fest, and will skate in the Pumpkin Fest Parade in Sycamore on Oct. 27.