A new sport is making its way to the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds, and it's bringing some attitude with it.
The Crude City Roller Derby is looking to begin its inaugural season in Robstown sometime in May, but the search for skaters, referees and volunteers who would like to participate is still ongoing.
"We're looking for people to help us spread word throughout the community," said league president Tricia Galvan, who is known in the sport by her derby name, Stormy Daze.
The sport itself is on the rise in the South Texas area, but has a presence throughout other cities in the state and around the nation, Galvan said. It is unique in its presentation, with a decidedly punk rock attitude as two teams of five race around a flat track trying to score points.
There are also different positions that make up a team: a pivot, who sets the pace and leads the pack; three blockers, who stay behind the pivot and guard one another; and a jammer, who starts off 20 feet behind the pack and is the only one of the five members on the track who can score points.
Essentially, a jammer must break her way through the pack, which can be comprised of up to six blockers - three from each team - and lap the pack once before points can be accumulated. This is done by passing members of the opposing team. Blockers from each team try to prevent the other team's jammer from passing and scoring points.
If it sounds like things can get pretty physical during a game, it's because they do. Galvan said that is exactly why they require players to undergo physical training in order to prepare themselves for the experience only roller derby can bring.
"You've got to learn balance, you've got to learn your strength and you've got to learn your speed," Galvan said
Training includes many exercises that would not be out of place on many athletic programs: sit-ups, crunches, squats, sprints, etc.
"Just like the football players train, we're having to train like that, but we're having to wear skates at the same time," said vice president Zee Kelly, whose derby name is Lit Mis Psychlone.
Participants are also taught how to fall and how to hit. Though roller derby is a contact sport, it is not a free-for-all, Kelly said. There is a legal hit zone from the knees to the shoulders, but elbows cannot be used and tripping is not allowed.
A penalty system is even in place that awards free points to the other team for repeat violations during a game, Kelly added.
"When you go on the track, you don't want to hurt the girl that you're skating against," Kelly said. "Yeah, you want to get her out of your way, but you don't want to hurt her. Because, if you hurt her, you could be taking away her livelihood.
"We don't want to hurt someone for something we do for recreation. That's why we train as hard as we do."
Galvan agreed, adding that people who do not train properly should not expect to get on the track.
"It's far beyond beating someone up," Galvan said.
The skater-owned and operated Crude City Roller Derby will likely begin play in May, Kelly said, with the season running through November.
For more information on how to become a member of a team or to volunteer, visit the league's Web site at www.ccrollerderby.com.