MILWAUKEE -- Coming from all different backgrounds and boasting colorful names like Danger or Becky the Butcher, the Brewcity Bruisers are back for another season of roller derby.
“It’s a really exciting game to play," said Nicole Armendariz, whose roller derby name is VarucAssault. "It’s very physical.”
The group will open its 11th year on Saturday, January 7th at UW-Milwaukee’s Panther Arena.
If you’ve never seen roller derby in action, here’s how it works -- it’s five-on-five on a tight circuit. The goal is for the two players called the "Jammers" to make their way through the chaos and around the track. You get a point for however many opponents you pass along the way.
“You get a chance to see how tough you really are," said Deanna Danger of a bout's physical nature.
In the middle of that fray, roller derby offers something the Bruisers say is rare for women -- a full-contact sport.
“It’s a great form of stress relief. You work your job, you have your family, then you go to practice and you get to bash some people in a socially acceptable way," said Armendariz.
“After a really hard day, I can’t wait to get on the track and hit someone," said Amanda Mayer.
The Brewcity Bruisers have around 100 members, split into four teams on the local level and featuring a select travel group that is internationally ranked. And many of those women had little to no skating experience before they joined.
“We have people that start holding the wall, and now they are some of the best skaters you know," said Mayer.
It's a group that empowers female athletes, as long as you're on the lookout for a hard check.