The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

Newsletter Signup

Get our news delivered straight to your inbox every week.

* indicates required

Appalachian Rollergirls host speed-dating on Valentine’s night

“Our group is composed of the most random women you will ever meet, and as it turns out, love,” said Ashley Laws, or Ashinator, one of the four original Appalachian Rollergirls, a competitive 18-and-up women’s roller derby team located in the High Country. The group hosted a fundraiser this past Valentine’s Day, a speed-dating event for participants of all genders and orientations.

received_10152574895280881
The Appalachian Rollergirls hosted a fundraiser event at Portofino’s, successfully raising $450 to be applied towards paying for a new practice space.  Photo courtesy of the Appalachian Rollergirls

Around 45 singles showed up to Cafe Portofino’s for the event, raising $450 for the group’s hopes of paying for a new practice space. Currently they practice at Skateworld in Vilas.

“Derby is a pay-to-play sport,” team member Jennele Vaquera said. “We all have membership fees and pay for all of our own travel.”

Typically in roller derby, skaters choose a stage name to use in competitions. Often the name will be a cultural reference or a pun based off the skater’s real name. Vaquera skates under the name Coco Janel, and joined a few weeks after ARG started in 2010. Although she had no derby experience, she quickly learned it was the sport for her.

Legally, ARG are a nonprofit 501(c)3, which means that any profits they make – outside of paying for the space where they compete – goes to a local charity.

“As far as our profits go, they go to running the team,” skater Sarah Holt said. “Like any business there are operating costs from paying rent for our practice facility, hosting bouts at [Holmes Convocation Center] to printing costs for posters and flyers.”

Holt skates as Holt .45 and also serves as art director for the group, after serving as vice president for the past two years.

“I got involved with ARG two weeks after they started at Skateworld and immediately fell in love with the sport, the people and pretty much everything derby stands for,” Holt said. “I made some of the best, lifelong friendships becoming a derby girl.”

Holt said she feels that 75 percent of roller derby is an athletic endeavor and 25 percent of it is a social community.

“Derby is a sport,” Vaquera said. “It takes a lot of commitment, dedication and hard work.”

ARG also make routine appearances throughout the year at other fundraisers, including Celebrity Serve, adopt a pet day through Watauga County Humane Society, birthday parties at Skateworld for kids, The Annual High Country Beer Fest and fundraisers for community members who have fallen on hard times.

“From the friends you make on your own team to the friends you make on other teams, the fundraiser, the events, the bouts — you’re constantly meeting new people and interacting,” Holt said.

As for Valentine’s Day, Holt said that some true love connections may have been made at the event and the following social.

She believes in what roller derby stands for: empowering women and giving back to the community.

“I’m part of roller derby simply because I fell in love with it on day one,” Holt said. “It’s been a huge support system of mine for five years now.”

STORY: Lovey Cooper, Senior A&E Reporter

View Comments (1)
Donate to The Appalachian
$1500
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

We hope you appreciate this article! Before you move on, our student staff wanted to ask if you would consider supporting The Appalachian's award-winning journalism. We are celebrating our 90th anniversary of The Appalachian in 2024!

We receive funding from the university, which helps us to compensate our students for the work they do for The Appalachian. However, the bulk of our operational expenses — from printing and website hosting to training and entering our work into competitions — is dependent upon advertising revenue and donations. We cannot exist without the financial and educational support of our fellow departments on campus, our local and regional businesses, and donations of money and time from alumni, parents, subscribers and friends.

Our journalism is produced to serve the public interest, both on campus and within the community. From anywhere in the world, readers can access our paywall-free journalism, through our website, through our email newsletter, and through our social media channels. Our supporters help to keep us editorially independent, user-friendly, and accessible to everyone.

If you can, please consider supporting us with a financial gift from $10. We appreciate your consideration and support of student journalism at Appalachian State University. If you prefer to make a tax-deductible donation, or if you would prefer to make a recurring monthly gift, please give to The Appalachian Student News Fund through the university here: https://securelb.imodules.com/s/1727/cg20/form.aspx?sid=1727&gid=2&pgid=392&cid=1011&dids=418.15&bledit=1&sort=1.

Donate to The Appalachian
$1500
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (1)

All The Appalachian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • E

    Emily CooperMar 4, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    D’aww…

    Reply