AFTER months of tireless training, feverish fundraising and derby dreams, Glasgow’s top skaters are ready to fly the flag in America.
For the first time in their history, Glasgow Roller Derby (GRD) are travelling to the United States – birthplace of derby – to compete alongside the best skaters in the world.
The Irn Bruisers – the cream of GRD’s talented, and rapidly-expanding, skating pool – are preparing to rock the 2013 East Coast Derby Extravaganza (ECDX) in Pennsylvania.
It’s an honour which has been compared to sprinters competing at the Olympics and the Bruisers have been backed by Scotland’s deputy first minister, as well as having a motion of praise raised at the Parliament.
ECDX will see the best teams from more than 100 leagues from around the world converge on Feasterville, PA, for 53 all-action bouts on three rinks over one weekend – June 28-30.
It’s shaping up to be the most important – and high-profile - event that GRD has ever taken part in. The Bruisers are one of only two British teams taking part – alongside Auld Reekie Roller Girls from Edinburgh.
ECDX is an all-star showcase for all that is sensational about women’s flat-track roller derby – attracting the best skaters in the world.
It’s going to be a one-of-a-kind, unforgettable roller derby experience for all the Bruisers involved – not to mention the league mates, friends, family and fans cheering them on back home.
As an added bonus, after ECDX, the Bruisers will get the chance to train with the world’s number one team - Gotham Girls Roller Derby.
Co-captain Louise Kerr – aka The Very Hungry Splatterkiller – said: “I’m looking forward to America – it will be nerve-wracking, but really good. We’ve come a long way – even since the start of the year.”
The Bruisers take on Columbia QuadSquad Allstars on the Saturday and Long Island Roller Rebels on the Sunday – two challenging games for the homegrown heroes.
According to the latest rankings, Columbia are 42nd in the world, with Long Island on 92 – while GRD are currently pegged at 123.
A spokeswoman for GRD said: “We can’t wait to get to America and take part in such an amazing event. It’s been months of hard work – both on the track and off it, with a host of fundraising events to help get us to the States.
“It will all be worth it though when our team skate out in yellow and black – flying the flag for our league, our city and our country.
“We face a tough challenge in both bouts, but the experience is going to be priceless. All that we learn at ECDX and Gotham City will be brought back and passed on to all our members to help us strengthen for the future.”
Glasgow’s elite players have been training hard to ensure they are fighting fit for the exertion and excitement of ECDX.
It has been made possible thanks to the efforts of GRD’s members, supporters and sponsors, who have dug deep to donate time and money to the cause.
A GRD spokeswoman added: “Any success we have in America will be shared with our sisters in Glasgow. We are a team and that team includes all the members of GRD, our friends, family and our fans.
“It is going to be difficult as both Columbia and Long Island are experienced, talented teams, but we are relishing the opportunity. We will give it our very best and hope every point scored will be cheered back home.”
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I look forward to seeing the Irn Bruisers fly the flag for Scotland overseas and achieve the results they deserve.”
Glasgow MSP Bob Doris added: “This is an exciting opportunity for Glasgow Roller Derby to be recognised on the international stage. Getting invited to the Pennysylvania tournament is recognition of their success.”
* The great news is that you can see Glasgow’s skaters in action live when they next play at the ARC, Glasgow, on July 20. All four of the GRD home teams will be playing in a family-friendly extravaganza
Visit www.glasgowrollerderby.com for more information and to find out about how you can donate to the cause.