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League Profile: Gladstone PCYC Roller Derby

In the coming months Roller Derby Australia will be featuring some of our member leagues from around the country. This month we chatted to Gladstone PCYC Roller Derby, who are working hard to take derby to the next level in regional QLD. With talks of making it to the Top 4 at Tropicarnage this year, we look forward to seeing what 2014 holds for these guys!

1. What year did the league form?


2. Tell us a little bit about how it all started?

From day one, our league trained at the Gladstone PCYC – and we started as just a handful of girls, watching YouTube clips to learn how to skate!

3. How has roller derby been received in Gladstone?

Our first bout was our biggest – the PCYC was so packed we had to turn people away at the door! And we’ve maintained a dedicated fan base since then. Some of them even understand the rules! Our crowds are fun, full of families, and freaking loud – it’s probably why our Hustlers still haven’t lost a game at home! Being an industry town, there’s also plenty of hi-vis in Gladstone – but our derby girls have no trouble standing out from the crowd!

4. What is the biggest crowd you have ever had at a home game? What was the game?

That first home bout, against BCR's Dark Horses, in 2011, got more than 1000 people through the door - definitely the biggest. We're still fighting to get that many again - but we're definitely growing the committed derby fan contingent in Gladdy!

5. You get quite a lot of support from the PCYC, how has this sponsorship impacted the league? What advice would you give other leagues seeking sponsorship?

Our league is a member club of the Gladstone PCYC – and we’re glad we are, they’ve got the best roller skating floor in Gladstone! And it means all our efforts to grow the league also support the PCYC, which runs great services for local young people. Every league is different, but partnering with PCYC really works for us – and they all love derby, so that definitely helps! We’ve also done sponsorship deals with the Gladstone Observer, Zinc Radio, the Central Lane Hotel, and Turkey Beach Responders – they all do a great job spreading the word about our awesome sport, and we are really proactive about doing the same for them.

6. Your travel team, the Hustlers, is growing in leaps and bounds, what is the core focus of the team at the moment?

Teamwork! In particular, teamwork to make our defence as tough as it can be – we’ve always had big hitters, our relentless coach CeeBee is determined to add unbreakable walls to the arsenal!

7. What has had the biggest impact on the team’s competitive game in the last 12 months?

Going to Northern Tropic Thunder (our first tournament!) was a real eye-opener about the commitment and intensity needed to play eight games in three days, and it also gave us a good idea of how competitive we could be. We realised we were one of the strongest leagues in regional Queensland – but ultimately, not disciplined enough to topple the Townsvillains. But kicking off 2014 with a win against Brisbane City Rollers' Punk Blockers definitely provided a morale boost – hopefully it’s a sign of a big year to come!

8. What is one of the biggest highlights you have had as a league?

Going to Tropicarnage in 2013 and staging a final-minutes fightback against The Bay Rollers, to win it 165-159, was pretty special.

9. What are the league's goals for 2014?

Grow, grow, grow! We want to support more fresh meat to come through, as well as expand our bouting skater base, our officials ranks, and keep building our community support. We’ve got lots of events planned to make it happen – and hopefully a few more Hustlers wins on the board won’t go astray, either! CeeBee has big plans for taking us to top four at Tropicarnage this year.

10. What advice would you give to locals wanting to get started in roller derby?

You will love it! Our fresh meat program runs three times a year, on Tuesdays from 6pm and Sundays from noon – like Gladstone PCYC Roller Derby on Facebook to find out our next dates. And our coaches aren’t as mean as they look!

*Photos contributed by Richard Tompsett

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