DeKalb group aims to bring back roller derby

DeKalb group aims to bring back roller derby

By Jen Weddle

Roller derby was a dying sport, but some DeKalb residents are fighting to bring it back to life.

The Barbed Wire Betties, a new women’s roller derby team, can be found training at 7:30 p.m. Fridays at the YMCA, 2500 Bethany Road.

There are women from all walks of life on the team, including homemakers, nurses and students.

“It’s a sport that empowers women, teaching young girls that they can do anything they want,” said Kimberly Pincombe, founder of the Barbed Wire Betties.

One way roller derby empowers women is by encouraging nicknames or alter egos. In the movie Whip It, Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut about the sport, some of the nicknames are Smashley Simpson (Drew Barrymore), Dinah Might (Juliette Lewis) and Rosa Sparks (Eve). The Barbed Wire Betties also have nicknames for their teammates: Ol’ School Chopper, Tootsie Bang Bang and Bubble Trouble are just a few.

Taking into consideration the cost of roller derby is sometimes forgotten. Helmets, team fees, uniforms and knee and elbow pads can be pretty expensive, but adding in the cost to drive to practice and bouts that are far away shouldn’t even be considered, Pincombe said. She said that’s why it was essential to create a roller derby team in DeKalb County.

“Moving to DeKalb, I realized there was no roller derby team for girls nearby,” Pincombe said. “Girls would have to drive pretty far to compete. It’s a lost sport and I want to bring it back.”

There were about 10 women who originally signed up to participate, and more are being added to the roster as the season progresses, but the Barbed Wire Betties still need skaters, coaches and sponsors. Skaters have to be 18 or older in order to participate because there is a risk of injury, and they must be covered by health insurance.

Their first bout, or team match, is scheduled to take place sometime next summer. A new team must practice between eight months and one year before being able to partake in bouts against local teams, Pincombe said.

Practice began in late July for the Barbed Wire Betties, and their training has been rigorous, Pincombe said. It consists of team drills and practicing how to fall correctly without injury. Teams from around the area help the women practice drills.

Anyone is interested in joining the Barbed Wire Betties can contact them through Facebook, join them at a practice or visit their website at