COLOSSAL COASTAL ROLLER EXPO 2011
THRIVES DESPITE HURRICANE
By El Pony Picante
(Philadelphia, PA) — The third annual Colossal Coastal Roller Expo was almost blown out of the water this year by hurricane Irene, but with some strong perseverance, positive attitudes, and a little bit of crazy, the event organizers pulled it off with a last minute venue change and some re-organization.
In previous years this epic gathering has gone off with out a hitch, sending people home raving about the parties, the beaches, the roller coasters and the roller derbies; and this year the event planners, South Jersey Derby, were working hard to make it the biggest and best one yet. There were celebrity guests scheduled, fabulous derby vendors booked, scavenger hunts planned, rooftop pool parties ready to go and much, much more. However, Mother Nature had something a little different in mind for this year’s beloved CCRE.
Thursday August 25th, the scheduled start of the event had many people walking a line of indecision. All media reports were telling people to head inland in preparation of the historical hurricane approaching the East Coast, while derby guys and girls everywhere were packing their bags looking forward to a weekend of sun, fun and derby at the Jersey Shore island of Wildwood.
By the time the reports were hitting the TV stations and the Internet many skaters were already in route to the Wildwoods, some were already there. Others caught wind of the seriousness of the approaching storm before leaving their homes and were faced with a tough decision, to go or not to go.
Event organizer Mos Deathly assured attendees CCRE was happening, rain or shine, and held on the original schedule as long as possible, until a mandatory evacuation was announced that would affect all of Cape May County by Friday morning at 8 a.m.
With this announcement many assumed the event would be cancelled. The skaters who had already made their way to Wildwood, some having travelled from as far away as Virginia, decided to at least salvage one night of fun while on the island.
Killah Acrylic, Mos Deathly’s right hand man during the planning process, explains a bit of what she was feeling that night, “At first I was concerned for everyone’s safety. I knew the weather report looked clear but I was still concerned it could get bad fast if we decided to stay. Once we knew we had no choice but to leave, I knew we had to make the one night count! We had an entire weekend of partying to cram into one night!”
With plenty of like-minded skaters already having made the trek down to Wildwood, the welcome reception/cocktail party took place as scheduled Thursday evening at the Wharf, followed by extensive hotel partying and a personal “Eff You!” to hurricane Irene with a late night ruckus in the stormy Atlantic.
In the midst of Thursday night’s partying, and while the rest of Cape May county was preparing their homes for the promised devastation and following evacuation orders, CCRE organizers were busy pulling all of their resources and finding a way to reorganize and relocate so that a fun-filled derby weekend could be delivered.
Many skaters who were planning to attend had been looking forward to this event all year, and those on the organizing end would not let their efforts go to waste, the show simply must go on. So, sometime Thursday evening an emergency location change to the Drexel Armory in Philadelphia was secured and announced over the Internet.
South Jersey Derby already had a standing relationship with the Armory from previous practices held there and it surely paid off this weekend. Everyone involved helped spread the word and things began to look up as those who had thrown in the towel regained some hope that there would in fact be some kick-ass, derby happenings going down this weekend!
Friday morning, in Philadelphia, PA, a long cry from the sandy beaches of the Jersey Shore, event activities commenced. After hours of waiting in evacuation traffic, workshop leaders and volunteers prepared the new venue for the days activities. All of the workshops and tournament games were now moved to fit in one day as the Armory was only available Friday and skaters would have to start heading out early on Saturday to avoid being caught in the dangers of hurricane Irene.
Friday was a beautiful day in Philly and walking into the 33rd street Armory you would have never known this was an emergency back up plan. Sure, there were a few impromptu hang ups to overcome, like finding materials to lay down the track as the Wildwood Convention Center had already taken care of this, and quickly finding a solution to replacing the PA that would have also been provided at convention center (which ended up being a sort of in-audible, but effective nonetheless, transportable mic and speaker).
“I had a fantastic time at Colossal Coastal Roller Expo this past Friday! There was a bit of adjusting to MADE-style derby, but I had tons of fun at the workshops and learned a lot. Thanks a lot for putting on a great event!” ~ Betty Gesseret, Diamond State Roller Girls
But, these things did not matter, a quick look around and everyone in that place was gleaming, because yet again our derby community accomplished something awesome. In the face of looming catastrophe, we pulled through and got to skate our asses off!
The merch and vendor area looked fabulous, despite almost all vendors being unable to make it out due to the confusion, and location change all due to the oncoming storm. But, 808 Skates skate shop showed up with an awesome set up, local Philly league Penn Jersey Roller Derby was in attendance selling their wears, and Anna Nichol Smithereens was there from the South Jersey Derby Girls offering up a plethora of derby goodies from vendors and derby-crafters across the country, including: Fast Girl Skates, Dottie Brand Accessories and Nutcase Helmets. Any derby girl or guy would surely salivate while walking amongst this display of derby must-haves.
Over on the track the workshops began rolling at 11 am.
Led by some of MADE’s top skaters and trainers, workshops included:
- Derby 101 led by Penn Jersey Roller Derby’s Foxxxy Contin, where skaters learned the basics of the game.
- Assisting and blocking led by South Jersey Derby’s Mos Deathly and the Richmond Derby Demons Demalisha Durga, where skaters fine tuned their whips, practiced Pivot Blocks, cutting, and advanced assisting maneuvers.
- Advanced Strategy led by Man’s Ruin Roller Derby’s Southpaw Siousxsie and Rocks Harder.
- Basic Strategy led by Penn Jersey’s Clobberella and Wags.
- Jamming and Pivoting led by SJDG’s Billy Rae Siren and MRRD’s Tienty Deville, teaching skaters
When asked what she took from the workshops NOVA’s Slade Ripfire exclaimed, ”I am taking many of the lessons home to NOVA Roller Derby. As a smaller skater, I was always expected to be moved by teammates whether pushed or whipped. In the assisting drills, I learned how I can be the one to move my teammates around to the positions I want them to be, even if I cannot fill a hole myself. I was able to put that newfound skill immediately into the scrimmage and moved a blocker on my team to take a Jammer out of bound.”
NJ State Representative League SJD and VA State Representative League RDD hosted a reffing symposium complete with a “How to ref a MADE game from start to finish” presentation, followed by a Certified Ref testing at 1 PM.
“I was completely impressed with the way that you all pulled together in light of a much less than ideal situation and put on a fantastic event. It really shows your strengths to be able to reorganize on such short notice and still put on an awesome event. Thank you guys so much!!” ~ Loudoun Dirty, NOVA Roller Derby.
Games started promptly on schedule at 4 PM, kicking off with the Rookie Co-ed game of the Sand Slingers versus the Tsunami Bombies.
Stay tuned for detailed recaps, footage and stats of all the CCRE games.