By Jim Rueda email@example.com
The Mankato Free Press
---- — MANKATO — If you thought the novelty of women’s roller derby in Mankato was going to wear off after one season, you’d be wrong.
Nearly 1,100 people showed up at Verizon Wireless Center Saturday night for the inaugural home bout of the Mankato Area Derby girls’ second season.
The home team found the competition to be pretty tough as the MedCity Mafia inflicted a 235-107 thumping on the MAD girls.
The loss was not unexpected by the Mankato skaters.
“They mixed in some of their A players with some B players tonight and that helped them,” MAD jammer Nauty Nelly said. “But they had some new players, too.
“We don’t mind playing good teams. It helps us get better.”
The MAD girls had no answer for MedCity’s WhipHER Ash and Spaztik Pepper and scored the bulk of their team’s 235 points. Strawberry Strikeher led the MAD girls with 17 points.
The Mafia, a second-year team just like Mankato, said they were looking forward to playing in town.
“We’ve practiced with them before and we have a good relationship with them,” said MedCity’s KarMa Bomb. “We were pretty excited to come to Mankato. It’s a nice arena, a lot nice then some of the place we play.”
Nauty Nelly agreed: “Our fans come out and show us the love and we appreciate it. At some places were playing in front of like 60 people but Mankato really comes out and supports us and that makes for a great atmosphere.”
Most of fans seemed to be having a good time Saturday. Ten-year-old Jack Linnerooth was attending his first derby bout and at halftime he said he was enjoying it.
“It’s fun. I’m a little surprised by how good a skaters they are,” he said.
Jack’s mom, Amy Linnerooth, attended both home bouts last season and decided her kids might like to tag along this year.
“I”m a fan of the sport,” she said. “I hear the players on the radio and I know they get out into the community and do volunteer work, so I want to support them.
“My daughter is here tonight and she’s only 7 so I don’t think she gets a lot of it. But she’s looking forward to going down to the floor afterwards and meeting the skaters and getting autographs.”
Keri Silvernagel, who lives in Minneapolis, has seen some derby bouts up there and was in town last year for both home dates.
“It’s just fun to watch,” she said. “The skates look like they’re working hard but they’re still having a good time.”
One of the reasons she comes to the MAD girls bouts is because she has a connection to the team.
Her boyfriend’s sister, Slamra Sue, is a member of the squad. She broke her ankle last year and there were doubts she would return, but she made it back and her friends and relatives are still coming out to support her.
Joe Ruch was another first-time attendee on Saturday and said it’s likely he’ll come back.
“I think it’s awesome,” he said. “I don’t understand all the rules yet but I’m learning. I thought it would be more physical just from what you see in movies and what you hear from other people, but they like to mix it up.”
Ruch said he’d never heard of the MAD girls until Friday when a friend called him up and said he some suite tickets and would he like to go. He thought it was an offer he couldn’t pass up so he said OK.