Derby Dames Jam Their Way Into Los Alamos

By Greg Kendall

Logo courtesy Los Alamos Derby Dames

What do Thumper, Bampf!, Makeup Artist, Flashover, Lil’ Hoawatha, Princess Leia Hurtonya and Strawberry Tuffcake all have in common, besides their intriguing names? They are all part of the new Los Alamos Derby Dames Roller Derby League.

The Derby Dames plan to make high energy women’s roller derby a staple of excitement for local fans and participants alike. The Derby Dames invite all women of every skill level from never having skated to seasoned pro jammers to join the league. The league has training for “newbies” as well as those more familiar with the sport.

Here are the basics of flat track roller derby, from the Dames website: 

Each bout is 60 minutes, split in two 30 minute periods or three 20 minute periods. Each period is broken into 2 minute play times called jams. After each jam, the teams have no more than 30 seconds to line up for the next jam. Two teams are on the track at once.  Five skaters per team are on the track at one time. Each team is made up of one Pivot, three Blockers, and one Jammer. The Pivot is designated by a striped helmet cover. The Jammer is designated by a helmet cover with a large star on both sides. Blockers do not wear helmet covers or wear solid color helmet covers. One long whistle blast signals the beginning of a jam and for the pack to start skating. Two short whistle blasts are blown to signal the jammer start. One short whistle blast means someone’s in trouble (penalty).    Four whistle blasts signal the end of the jam.

There are five main positions on a roller derby team:

Pivot – Skates in the very front of the pack, controls pack speed and serves as a last line of defense against the opposing jammer. The Pivot can become a jammer IF the jammer passes the helmet cover to her.  Blocker – Works together with other blockers and her pivot to help her jammer through the pack while stopping the opposing jammer. Jammer – The point scoring player who starts 20 feet behind the rear of the pack from a dead start. The Jammer has to skate through the entire pack one time before becoming eligible to score points. Every time she laps the pack she receives one point for each skater on the opposite team that she passes legally. The Jammer can also pass her helmet cover to her pivot if she gets stuck in the pack. Lead Jammer – The first jammer to pass all the girls in the pack legally earns lead jammer status. There is only one lead jammer during each jam. Lead jammer can strategically call off the jam anytime, rather than waiting for the end of the 2 minutes. Referees will signify lead jammer status with one short whistle blast and by pointing to the jammer.

Legal movies include: hits using the shoulder; hits using the hips; “booty” blocking; blocking and hitting to the side or front. Illegal moves to watch out for are: grabbing; blocking with forearms; tripping, kicking;  pushing, shoving, punching or holding;  swinging or jabbing elbows; blocking with the head; blocking twenty feet ahead or behind the pack;  hitting from behind.

It’s appropriate to boo loudly at illegal moves and to cheer wildly at legal moves! Skating and non-skating officials monitor the action and access penalties where necessary.

The league is looking for a few good men (and women) to serve as officials and jam volunteers. The league is also seeking sponsors to help support matches and team travel to away jams.

The Derby Dames have upcoming events for fans to enjoy (Note: The Dames currently have one team in their Los Alamos league, the M’Atom Bombs, and have plans to expand the league).

Spring Fling: Public Scrimmage hosted by the M’Atom Bombs, April 14th at the Los Alamos Ice Rink.  

May Day Melee: Public Scrimmage hosted, May 12th at the Los Alamos Ice Rink.

M’Atom Bombs v. Moab, in Moab June 30th.

M’Atom Bombs v. 4Corners Roller Derby, The Taos Youth and Family Center, July 21st.

M’Atom Bombs v. Animus Roller Girls, in Farmington, August 11th.

Bring a couple of camp chairs and get ready to get rowdy with the M’Atom Bombs as they join teams from around the region in mash up bouts.

The Derby Dames next practice is Thursday, March 29th, 6-8 PM at the Los Alamos Ice Rink. Check online for Derby Dames Practice Sundays and Newbie Practice Mondays schedule.

For more information and to contact the Derby Dames see their webpage at:

You can find the Derby Dames on Facebook at:

You can find the M’Atoms team Facebook page at:

If you would like to know more about the basics of the sport, check the Roller Derby Wikipedia page:

Don’t miss the action!

Click on the following photo for a gallery of Los Alamos Derby Dame images from previous practices:

Photo by Geoff Womeldorff/Courtesy

The Los Alamos Derby Dames held a scrimmage practice and referee training last Sunday at the Ice Rink. Photographer TK Thompson caught all the action. Check back later this week for TK’s feature photo gallery.


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