The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Jim Rueda

April 3, 2013

Rueda column: Roller derby a surprise success in debut


Apparently the excitement in the stands wasn’t limited to simply watching roller derby. There seemed to be a lot of interest in actually participating in the sport, as well.

According to Sundboom, team members started  fielding questions about how women can get involved in the sport as soon as the bout was over.

As a result, the MAD Girls are expecting a pretty good turnout for what they’re calling the Fresh Meat Locker on Sunday.

The Fresh Meat Locker is an eight-week training course that runs every Sunday at the YMCA for prospective skaters. The three-hour sessions run from 2-5 p.m. and it costs $30 to take the eight-week course.

“After the eight weeks the participants are evaluated to see if they can make the team,” Sundboom said. “Ideally we’d like to get three or four teams going right here in Mankato so we could have some bouts internally. If it really catches on, we’d like to get a junior program going, too.”

However it plays out, the MAD Girls are already busy preparing for their next home bout on May 4. Even if a significant percentage of spectators came out last Saturday simply for curiosity’s sake, Sundboom believes they’ll be back.

“I wouldn’t expect much of a drop-off in attendance at all,” she said. “I think we showed we’re more than just entertainment, we’re a legitimate sport. And I think the fans proved that Mankato is ready for roller derby.”

Jim Rueda is the Free Press sports editor. Call him at 344-6381 or e-mail him at

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