When you say "Roller Derby" to the casual passer by, they still think girls in fishnets hitting each other on skates. Well we all know that derby has moved far beyond that, but the number of guys playing derby is still greatly outnumbered by women.
However that is changing too, thanks in part to the men of the New York Shock Exchange. Pulled together in 2006 by Jonathan R, the NYSE played their first game way back in 2007.
They went on to be a founding member of the Men’s Derby Coalition, and champions at the first year's tournament in 2010.
The next year MDC became the MRDA, and once again, Shock Exchange took home the championship trophy. They share practice space with WFTDA champions the Gotham Girls Roller Derby, and you'll have seen NYSE's own Buster Cheatin and Abe Drinkin on the bench helping the Gotham All Stars to take home the Hydra trophy 4 years running.
Down Under, mens derby has taken a little longer to get going. In the year that NYSE won their first championship trophy, the Aussie guys had only just done their foray onto the track with the 2010 Moustachio Nuts games.
In 2012, NSW saw its first full length mens game with the Incredible Hulks vs the Dark Knights. That sparked the flame for men's derby for a lot of people - soon after, the Sydney Merby Crew incorporated and became Sydney City SMASH Mens Derby.
A bit of a crazy thing happened next, the Aussie guys got together and formed a national team - The Wizards of Aus. June 2013 saw Australia's first dedicated men's bootcamp happen - the Nut Factory.
Guys came together from all over the country and spent 2 days learning how to play derby using their own style. And in the evening we watched This Is How I Roll - the story of how the Shock Exchange and the MRDA came together.
We hadn't event played any league games yet, but the guys were so keen coming out of the Nut Factory and from seeing what the guys from New York could do, that the Wizards took on New Zealand in Sydney in August 2013.
Not wanting to rest, the Sydney SMASH Bros then played Australia's first interleague men's game in Port Macquarie later that month, and soon after took on BCR's Scartel on their home ground of Ipswich.
2014 saw an even greater challenge - the first Mens Roller Derby World Cup. Tryouts happened around the country, and a squad of 20 skaters were selected to travel to the UK to compete against the best in the world.
Sydney City SMASH was the most represented league on Australian squad, and along with guys from Perth, Tassie, Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne, the Wizards spent a week training in Scotland before the tournament in Birmingham.
The Wizards had a nailbiter game against Wales to take home 5th place in the world, and since then men's derby has been very much part of the Aussie community.
2014 finished off with the AMRD Nationals - where 9 league-teams from Australia and NZ came together in the summer heat of Ipswich for a 2-day tournament which saw the Victorian Vanguard defeat Sydney SMASH Bros and the Bass Straight Brawlers to be champions.
Both the SMASH Bros and the Brawlers are ready to prove they are not second best, and have been working together with NYSE to bring another first to Australian derby - the first International mens inter-league games to be played on these shores.
In Jan 2015 the Shock Down Under tour will bring the men from New York out, and after a stop at the Bont Invitational and a mid-week game in Brisbane, they are coming to Sydney for the 2015 NUT FACTORY bootcamp.
Sydney, at the Menai Indoor Sports Centre, on Friday Jan 16 - Tasmania's Bass Straight Brawlers will take on the Shock Exchange in a full length game. and on Sat Jan 17, the Sydney SMASH Bros will test their skills against the men from New York.
The SMASH and Brawlers games are just part of the event - and this is where you get involved. The NUT FACTORY will include a full length black & white mens game for attendees first up Friday night, then there will be a 2-day bootcamp coached by the NYSE, with Saturday dedicated to mens derby skaters.
Sunday will be running 4 tracks plus an off-skates room, and will be open to all adult skaters, so guys and girls can learn together from these amazing skaters and coaches.
Finishing off the weekend, will be a coed scrimmage with the NYSE guys playing on both teams, so you can test out these new skills and see just how they compare to some of the best in the world.
Tickets are on-sale now, click here to head to the event page.
Option for off-skates coaches to attend, or a SHOCK PASS that gets you into the Friday B&W game, spectators for both NYSE games + the whole bootcamp.