MANCHESTER >> This Saturday Bennington's Southshire Roller Derby will be heading to Riley Rink in Manchester for their season opener.

In addition to the bout, the event will feature a half-time skating expo of the Southshire Junior Roller Derby, kids activities, a photo booth, a beer garden provided by Ramunto's, and good food for the whole family.

Southshire Roller Derby will face off against the Albany Brawl Stars for the second time this season. Southshire played the Brawl Stars away in January, losing 56-282 and is looking forward to a rematch. Southshire is currently 0-3 this season, having taken losses away against Central New York Roller Derby's Wonder Brawlers and the Mid-Hudson Misfits. The Brawl Stars are at 3-0 this season, having won at home against Southshire, Assault City Roller Derby's Battery Brigade and Title Town.

The Battle Cats have been training since early 2014 and hosted their first competition season last year in Manchester, drawing sizable crowds to Riley Rink.

The league has been working with the community for several months to plan their first home event of the season. Many area businesses have generously sponsored the team.

"Once again, we would not have been able to pull this off without such great support from local business owners," said the league's sponsorship coordinator Retha "Wanda Lust" Charette.

Modern roller derby is a full-contact sport played on a flat track with quad roller skates. Skaters wear protective gear similar to that of skateboarding. The 60-minute game is divided into short competitions called jams. Teams play five skaters from their roster in each jam; four of them are blockers and one is a jammer.


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The jammers score points by lapping the group of eight blockers, picking up a point for each opponent they pass during the lap. Blockers work together to slow the progress of the opposing jammer via walls, pushes, and body checks (called blocks) while aiding their own jammer with whips and assists.

With both teams fielding a jammer, the simultaneous offense and defense makes for a highly strategic and competitive game.

"We continue to be grateful to our fans and sponsors for allowing us to bring derby to Bennington County in such a big way," says league president Amy Jo Moore. "The community support we've received is like nothing I've experienced."

The doors to Riley Rink will open at 5 p.m. Bleacher seating is expected to fill up quickly. The league recommends bringing your own chair and sitting trackside for the best view.

Advanced tickets are available for $5 in Bennington at Fiddlehead at Four Corners, in Manchester at Zippy Chicks and in Rawsonville at Meulemans' Craft Drafts. Tickets and team merchandise are also available at SouthshireRollerDerby.com.

The league will have three more home events this season on July 30 against Central Vermont's Twin City Riot, Aug. 20 against Monadnock's Mad Knockers and on Sept. 24 against Cape Cod Roller Derby. On June 24-26, Southshire Roller Derby will also be hosting Skate for the Hills, a three-day sleepover training event at Riley Rink, open to skaters from around the country.

For more information on Southshire Roller Derby, including more information on Southshire Junior Roller Derby, and information on how to get involved, volunteer, or become a sponsor, email southshirerollerderby@gmail.com.