March 2015 Featured Skater: Barbara Bushwhacker

As one of the original members of Hard Knox Rollergirls, this tiny tank deserves some respect, both as a seasoned coach and a long-time skater. Her "mess stuff up" blocking strategy makes her a solid blocker, whether on offense or defense. Who does this derby girl look up to? Read on to learn more about Barbara Bushwhacker!

Photo by John Michael Blood

Photo by John Michael Blood

Our last featured skater Wrecking Ball wanted to know how you stay calm and happy all the time.  What is the secret to your refreshing positive approach to life?  

Being positive or negative is a choice we each make daily.  Sometimes life is awesome and sometimes it just plain sucks.  How we react to the roller coaster of life is what defines our attitude.  I choose to be positive for myself and everyone around me.  I much prefer to focus on the silver linings.  Like Dolly Parton says, ‘If you want a rainbow you gotta put up with the rain.’  As for staying calm, that’s who I want to be for my team.  I know that having a meltdown isn’t going to fix anything or help my teammates stay calm and focused so if I starting heading down that road I remind myself to be strong for the team.  I do have the occasional freak out.  Just ask Throb Zombie.

How did you pick your derby name?

Well Betty Kruger was taken! I was mainly looking for a name that had some kind of double meaning. Bushwackers is a term from the Civil War. Bushwackers were unaligned soldiers. They would just go into battle and mess stuff up, and leave. That’s kind of how I like to play, just get in there, mess stuff up, and get out.

Tell me something surprising about you that people wouldn't believe. 

I was homecoming queen my senior year of high school. I was also Salutatorian and Senior Class President.  I'm in the process of organizing a high school reunion for my little class of about 60 people. 

Photo by Rebecca Sword

Photo by Rebecca Sword

How do you spend your free time? 

Usually watching something on Netflix or, when time allows, hiking to a scenic waterfall. 

What are you obsessed with?

Besides roller derby? I love unicorns, rainbows, kitties, Garbage Pail Kids stickers, vinyl records, Pee Wee's Playhouse and proper grammar. 

If you were to guess, how many games would you say that you have played throughout the years? 

I wish I had kept a log of this.  My best estimate is 75-80 games. 

Tell me about a defining moment in your derby career. 

When we played against Cincinnati Roller Girls in March 2009, it was our first WFTDA game.  During this game, I developed a new perspective on the game.  Everything slowed down and the sport really started to make sense to me.  I understood strategy for the first time.  I call that the epiphany moment. 

Photo by John Michael Blood

Photo by John Michael Blood

If you could change anything about derby what would it be?

I would like to see a finalized version of the rules.  They are modified 2-3 times a year and it's starting to get difficult to remember what's an old rule and a current rule.  I think having some consistency would help teams build a fan base.  If we want people to keep coming back, they need to be able to understand the game. That's hard when there are big changes every season.

What do you find challenging?

Social interactions.  I'm awkward around people I don't know.  

Who is your 'Rock'?

My husband Throb Zombie. He is always by my side and supportive of anything I want to do, except on game day. 

Photo by John Michael Blood

Photo by John Michael Blood

Who do you look up to?

Just about everyone.  I'm only 5'2". 

If you could do anything you wanted in the world what would it be?

Travel everywhere.  I want to see everything in the world! 

What super powers would you possess if you could?

Flight or teleportation, so I could travel everywhere. 

Jam plugs? When did you switch over to toe stops and what are your feelings?

I believe it was the end of 2010 when I switch to toe stops.  I hated it at first.  They always got in my way, that's why I took them off in the beginning.  I'm still getting used to them but I have found that they definitely come in handy. 

How has coaching the team impacted your thought processes and game play on the track?

As a coach I became more comfortable being a leader for my team.  I have more confidence as a skater because of my experience coaching.  It has also helped streamline my thought process and reaction time during game play.  I see the game from both perspectives, coach and skater. 

Photo by Jason Scott

Photo by Jason Scott

Your husband Throb Zombie is a ref, how's that working for you guys?

It's awesome, most of the time.  We have roller derby in common so I never feel l have to choose between derby and my husband. We're in it together.  On the down side, he is the enemy during scrimmage and games.  We often have to agree to disagree. Another positive is having him as a resource.  As a skater and coach, it's important for me to know the rules forward and backward and having him around to answer my questions is invaluable.

Photo by John Michael Blood

Photo by John Michael Blood

For the next featured skater I would like some insight into the psyche of Battle Ready Betty.  We have been teammates since 2006, played in many games together and a few against each other.   We have seen the sport evolve drastically.  So, what I really want to know is, what is her all-time favorite Halloween costume creation?