EASLEY—Starting in June, the Upstate Roller Girl Evolution (URGE) will be bringing roller derby to Easley.
Founded in 2008, the URGE moves into Pickens County after the expansion of the team created a need for a more centralized location for their team members. The URGE is a non-profit organization that is managed by the skaters and coaching staff. The primary concern of the URGE is to foster and promote the sport of women’s flat track roller derby through organized competition and community involvement.
Coral “Anne R. Ki” Kutrip, a former competitive hockey player, said, “I’ve played competitive sports for years. For me it was always about being a role model and having that powerful image. It keeps you healthy, it keeps you busy, and it keeps your mind active.”
The skaters that make up the URGE come from many walks of life. Various lifestyles come together for the sake of accomplishing different goals. One of the most important goals is to be successful in competition with other teams from the surrounding areas. These women say they love what they do.
Rachael “Raven Maniac” Hamrick, a 6 month active URGE skater, said, “(Derby) is a lot of fun. It gets out energy that I don’t normally don’t get out on my day to day life. It inspires me. I was born for it.”
Arriving with bumps, bruises and healing injuries, skaters practice up to six hours a week in preparation for an hour long bout broken in two 30 minute halves. Using the skills, maintained by weekly practices, these women balance on quad skates while issuing contact with opposing skaters in an effort to score points.
Hamrick said, “(Derby) is a great stress reliever because you leave everything out on the track.”
The sport is tough and dominated by women. It is a sport that is growing tremendously in popularity. Across the nation states have numerous teams while South Carolina has eight. Most of the teams in the state are amateur with Columbia Quad Squad (CQS) and the Lowcountry Highrollers (LCHR) from Charleston becoming the first to enter in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) in the state.
Upon changing hometowns the URGE has been greeted with open arms. They are excited about the opportunities that lie before them to work with the community in promoting pride along with the talent of the area.
Kutrip said, “I’m excited. I think the city has embraced us. I think nothing but good will come out of it.”
Hamrick said, “Easley is a big move for me…, but it is totally worth it. Moving has been great.”
Keisha “Torch” Wham, URGE’s president and a veteran skater, said, “I’m just glad to be somewhere that we are wanted and the people are glad that we are here.”
URGE’s next home bout will be against Cirque de Pain of Florence, SC on June 30, 2012 at Skate-A-Round USA 719 Ross Avenue, Easley, SC with the doors opening at 6 p.m. Come out and greet these ladies and welcome them with cheers as they fight to bring one more win to the town of Easley. Recruitment is always available visit their website at www.upstaterollergirlevolution.com, or come out to one of their practices Monday and Wednesday from seven to nine p.m. at Skate-A-Round USA.