Banging and Bumping on Wheels

Tucson Roller Derby: Copper Queens vs. Northern Arizona Whiskey Row-llers

6:30 p.m., Saturday, May 17

Tucson Indoor Sports Center

1065 W. Grant Road


Tucson Roller Derby is midway through its 11th season of competition, and the inevitable bumps, bruises and breaks that come with the high-contact sport have whittled down the number of healthy bodies available for the group's five teams.

Good thing there's some fresh meat on its way to the rink.

Saturday's bout, featuring the Copper Queens against the visiting Northern Arizona Whiskey Row-llers, is the last one before graduates of TRD's latest newbie training program become eligible for competition. The newbies, known as fresh meat, have been learning the ropes since February, and tests they must pass to make the league teams have been given this month.

"This group of newbies has been really awesome," said Deni Perez, who goes by Metal Maiden when she plays for and coaches the Copper Queens. "Usually we'd get one or two who'd want to come to our regular practices, but this group has been so excited to come to everything. I expect most of them to pass."

Perez said fresh meat graduates will be drafted by TRD's five teams—the Bandaleros, Copper Queens, Furious Truck Stop Waitresses, SaddleTramps and Vice Squad—in late May and could begin competing as early as June. They'll help provide depth at first, before becoming part of the regular competition rotation, she said.

"It really is up to the team captains to decide when they're going to play," Perez said.

Her team may need newbies right away because Perez has been unable to compete since breaking her leg in a bout in New Mexico earlier this year. The injury is par for the course, said Perez, who has torn knee ligaments five times and has had surgery on both knees because of roller derby injuries.

"I have a metal rod in my leg now, so I'm now truly a Metal Maiden," she said.

Tickets for Saturday's bout are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Admission for children ages 10 to 17 is $5. Saturday's event features a halftime performance the Female StoryTellers, whose members write and perform personal stories based on a prompt or theme.