Appalachian Roller Derby brings hard hits and open arms in season opener

The parking lot of the Youth Outreach Skating Rink in West Jefferson was entirely filled by 3:25 p.m. on Feb. 24, but cars kept pouring in, extending increasingly farther out into the field of grass and wild onions alongside the building.

Skaters and spectators alike milled around outside enjoying the overcast but unusually mild weather. A group of skaters, sat in the back of a van in the lot, its doors and trunk open, allowing the breeze to blow through.The door to the venue was propped open, encouraging visitors to wander in.

Through the door, past where tickets were being sold, was a small arcade with an air hockey table and a snack bar that opened up into a skating rink with a track made of yellow duct tape. Novelty lights such as black lights and strings of multicolored Christmas lights adorned the walls of the dimly lit track, and a disco ball and strobe lights danced across the ceiling as the home teams took to the track. The space between the rink and bar was occupied by chairs that slowly filled up with attendees.

Appalachian Roller Derby held a double header on Saturday as the Boone Shiners took on the Red Stick Capital Defenders from Baton Rouge, Louisiana in a B-team bout, and the traveling team, the Appalachian All-Stars, opened their season against the Red Stick All-Stars.

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