On a Saturday night in North Tonawanda, some of the meanest women you’ll ever meet converge on a skating rink. They shove, push and swear like sailors while flashing barely-there skirts, ripped fishnet tights and heavy eye makeup.
For about two hours, members of the Queen City Roller Girls (QCRG) whip around the sold-out rink to deafening levels of rock music as announcers narrate the play-by-play and the crowd works itself into a frenzy. Later, during intermission, these hellions on wheels turn their attention and aggression on the audience as they launch free loaves of rye bread (a sponsor is a local bakery) at fans who covet the edible keepsakes like prized possessions.
On Monday morning, some these same women will greet you with a polite smile at the office water cooler, teach classes to bleary-eyed UB students and keep the campus safe from danger. Roller derby girls by night, UB faculty and staff by day.
Started in the fall of 2006, the QCRG is Buffalo’s own roller derby league. Comprised of four teams of female skaters from all walks of life and ranging in age from 21 to their late 40s, the girls spend two nights a week honing their derby skills, answering to clever monikers instead of their real names and practicing for bimonthly battles, or “bouts.”