SIOUX CITY | Skaters for the Sioux City Roller Dames have circled the track and jammed opponents for the last time.
The women's roller derby team, formed six years ago, will no longer play as a team, player and coach Melissa Dittberner said Monday. Dittberner said the number of players had dwindled to about 10, so the team won't start a new season. The last bout was in May to conclude the prior season.
"We can't keep something going if we don't have the manpower," Dittberner said.
The team played its matches at the Long Lines Family Rec Center, the former Sioux City auditorium. The first bout came in October 2008 when the Roller Dames hosted the Sioux Falls Roller Dollz. Players who assumed such guises as Crystal Carnage, Breakneck Blondie, Stiletto Killer, Roxy R. Soxoff, Lady Biohazard and Hell-Raizin Kitty were among the team members. They at one point were in the Women's Flat Track Roller Derby League and played regionally.
Initially, 26 players from ages 18 to 44 played for the Roller Dames, who were coordinated by local businessman and community volunteer Phil Claeys. Five players were on the skating oval in a competition, with three blockers, a pivot and a jammer, who scored points by getting to a certain point of the rink.
Andrea Buckley is a local attorney who really enjoyed playing for seven years under the name The Annihiliatrix. Buckley particularly relished the many people she met from a wide variety of backgrounds.
"It also gave me a lot of confidence as an athlete. I never thought of myself as athletic before and now I know I have abilities, not only to skate but to play a difficult and demanding sport," Buckley said.
"I will miss having an organized way to express that athletic ability, but luckily, I made close friends with my teammates, so I still have that personal connection."
Dittberner said the team members' numbers dropped off recently, with people having babies or getting married. She played under the name Sum Mo Payne, and said the Roller Dames were a great thing, when attendance was higher and camaraderie was strong.
"It is a way for me to empower myself and others...If this would have happened five years ago, I would have been devastated," Dittberner said.
Libby Claeys, who skated under the nickname PBR, had a hand in founding the team after moving to Sioux City from Minneapolis.
"It has been a good run...Sometimes all good things must end," Claeys said.
Dittberner said her skating career won't end, as she will join the local men's team The Cornstalkers, which was formed after the Roller Dames. The Cornstalkers will next skate in a new season in roughly March 2017.