Minnesota RollerGirls: Skate or die

Article by: Christopher Vonracek | November 9, 2012 - 3:14 PM

Minnesota RollerGirls publicist and Garda Belts team member Lindsey Lyford was reached by phone in an Atlanta airport terminal.

"I got like 10 minutes until they start boarding," she said. "We can talk tomorrow, too."

By day, Lyford is a freelance assistant photo stylist. Off track, sans elbow pads, helmet and sassy name (hers is Scootaloo, and her teammates run with, among others, Citizen Pain, Second Hand Smoke and Tara Bichapart), Lyford is soft-spoken and quick to laugh. It's far from the knock-a-grown-woman-in-spandex-on-her-ass mentality of flat-track roller derby.

A former dancer, snowboarder and lacrosse player, Lyford was in college before she became a weekend limb-mangler with MNRG. She recently returned from the Women's Flat Track Derby Association national championship in Atlanta, where she cheered on the Minnesota squad and did other business. "I was selling hot pants down here," she explained. "Sales were OK."

MNRG is in its ninth season and is prepping for Saturday's "Harvest of Hurt" doubleheader, the first official home bout of the season. "We've got students, servers, managers, lawyers, nurses. We even have a 54-year-old -- she rocks," Lyford said of the league's makeup.

The nationals saw our hometown team lose in the quarterfinal round. "Some serious girls down here, a handful are starting to get endorsements," Lyford reported. But the atmosphere wasn't like the raucous parties MNRG throws at Roy Wilkins Auditorium.

Lyford said the fans run the gamut from kids with 3-foot mohawks to grannies. "I hate to say, but a lot show up because of the sex appeal," she admitted. "But then they get here and see how serious we are about this."

Lyford's proud to mention she's the first skater to earn a police escort home. "No nothing bad. I was pretty intoxicated and crying and lost and the cops helped me home. I think I lost a shoe."

She was halfway through her second badge of honor -- "I'm one of only two people to be suspended. It's not as bad as ... oh, crap! They're boarding the plane!" -- when the call ended.

Like a peach, she sent a text. "Can I call you at layover?" Somewhere inhabited in this softie is a roller-skating, Queenie-McBear-meets-Mad-Max-styled Ph.D. in the School of Pain. But she hid it well -- at least tonight.

MINNESOTA ROLLERGIRLS: 'HARVEST OF HURT' When: 7:30 p.m. Sat. Where: Roy Wilkins Auditorium Tickets: $13-$18.

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