Hard Knox Rollergirls

The Hard Knox Rollergirls are Knoxville's first competitive roller derby team. Come see what all the fuss is about.

April Featured Skater: Battle Ready Betty

She’s our resident horror expert and Halloween fanatic. Get to know this ghoul and learn about all her spooky obsessions. Pick her brain and find out how she’s improved her skills, overcome a serious injury, and still has time to be an incredible mother.

Last month's featured skater, Barbara Bushwhacker, wanted to know what your all-time favorite Halloween costume creation is? 

Ugh! That is a tough question.  I have done some really great costumes over the years, if I say so myself!  Miss Whacker has done some great ones of her own!!  I guess if I had to pick just one I’d say my favorite is when I dressed up as a one of the scary nurses from ‘Silent Hill.’  That one turned out spot on, I think!  Oh so creepy!

What's your fave B-rated horror movie?

‘Class of Nuke ‘em High!”  It is a cinematic classic.  Watch it.  Your life will never be the same, I promise.  HAHA!!  Another good one is Sargent Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.  It’s not a horror movie but a real-life gritty action packed cop flick.  I really love 70’s B movies at lot as well.  I have not found one of them I didn’t like.  They are hilarious!  Pretty much anything with Pam Grier and Sid Haig and I am going to LOVE IT!

Where did your love of horror come from? 

Hmm.. well I grew up in house that was quite a bit restrictive.  My mom always wanted a ‘pretty in pink’ kind of girl.  She finally had me after 3 boys but I never really was of the ‘sugar and spice’ nor ‘something nice’ variety.   I found that I was drawn to all the things my mom didn’t want me to know about.   Scary things, the metaphysical side of life and theology; the spirit world… the ghosties and ghoulies!  I have a love of the weird, macabre, unknown, and unexplained.  The first scary movie I saw was ‘IT’ by Steven King.  I was like 8 or 9 and way too sheltered and naive at that time to be watching that movie.  It scared the crap out of me and from there I was sold!  I fell in love with being scared.  I have always loved Halloween too… that goes hand in hand I think.  We have a lot of fun with Halloween at my house.  We decorate the whole house inside and out and of course dress up.  I’ve come to realize that my house is not like other people’s houses.  We have a homemade guillotine in my back yard that we use as a picnic table.  I have a severed head in a hanging cage, lots of different religious symbols like Ganesh and Kali from the Hindu traditions, carvings of The Seven Deadly Sins of the Christian traditions, a framed carving of a dragon called Tiamat that was worshiped by the Mesopotamians, reproductions of African ceremonial masks and cabinet of curiosities like Halloween masks, antiques and old medical supplies.  I’m sure, as you can tell, I love the sensible style and décor of The Addams Family!  I’m still looking for a suit of armor though, so keep a look out.  

So, horror movies and tv shows are obviously a big part of your life, since you started watching them at such a young age. I’m really curious to know what you think about all the remakes of classic horror movies. For example, Carrie, Halloween, and Evil Dead just to name a few.

Yes, there have been a ton of remakes.. I personally do not like remakes for the most part.  The only remake I was good with the Rob Zombie’s ‘Halloween.’   The main reason I can’t stand remakes is because I like originality.  I want a new story.  I want a new character.   The originals are better if you ask me.   If you have not watched the original ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’, ‘House on Haunted Hill’ or ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ before; then have some homework to do!  

How do you balance working full time, being a wife, mother, playing derby and serving on the board of directors for the team?

I have played derby for a very long time and been on the board most of that time too, yes I am a self-admitted control freak!  I learned how to balance my personal, professional and derby lives without emotional breakdowns after a lot of trial and error.   I am lucky that I have a very supportive husband and son; they help me stay in check.   I like to make sure things are exactly the way I want them but sometimes you have to let go of the little stuff and not stress about it and just do your best.   All’s well that ends well.   

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What's your favorite game expulsion memory?

Well, no one likes being expelled but I do have a funny story. The team traveled to Texas for the Clover Cup Tournament in 2013.  This was a very prestigious opportunity for Hard Knox.  At that time we had only been invited to one other big time tournament, that being our trip to Regionals in 2010.  We were bottom seed and nervous to say the least.  We were going to be playing well above our skill level against very highly respected teams.  So, we take to the floor against Oklahoma Victory Dolls.  They are bad asses!  Before we knew it they were up by hundreds of points just in first half alone.  The jammers were lapping us like nothing and it seemed like we had no ability to do anything to help.  I am out on the floor with Wrecking Ball and Miss Murder.  Our jammer and other blocker were in the box, I think.  We are trying frantically to quill the points at all cost.  The OK jammer comes in hot and busts up our wall like nothing.  Their jammer comes in for another pass but this times decides to pass the star to their pivot.  This jammer runs through us like nothing again but she splits our wall just so that it throws Wreck and I to the floor in a sprawl.  I go about an angry rampage against the ref’s doing the hand signal for back blocking.  Repeatedly and forcefully.  They just ignore me…  That jammer comes into the engagement zone and this time we are determined to get her… we hold her up for a second and while she is trying to get her bearings again I try my best to knock her to the inside. I opened up my arms and used the front of my body to try to force her to the inside.  Well try is all I got.  My toe stop didn’t plant on the sport court very well and I ended up losing my footing.  I fell on top of her in a big huge dog pile.  Oh it was bad.  Very bad.  I knew it was bad.  I looked up at the jam ref that was searching his brain to figure out what to call that maneuver and I just yelled uncontrollably ‘I KNOW!’ at him and skated to the box.  Yah, I was ejected.  Of course.   They were going to actually expel me from the whole tournament but somehow our coaches talked the refs down.  Telling them that was not an intentional act.  Whatsoever.  That I am a very clean player and that I just lost my footing.   They let me play the rest of the tournament.  I was sooo ashamed!  Man, that was a close one!

What has been your proudest moment in derby?

Well, first a little back story.  Last year in February I broke my left leg during practice, both bones.. arg!  It stunk!  I was so angry.  I was so angry in fact that when they tried to knock me out in the ER to set my leg they had to keep dosing me cause I was not going out.  I guess the adrenaline was flowing real good.  They had to call my husband to authorize dose after dose of the anesthesia. Once I finally went out I was only out for like 15 minutes before I came to.  They gave me enough that I should have been out for 45 minutes!  I was utterly devastated.  I had worked so hard to keep improving during the off season; I just knew 2014 was my year.. huh.. well it was my year to sit back and learn a new side of derby that I had not experienced.. I coached some away games and you might have seen me on the sidelines at our first few home games last year.  Well, I was determined to get back to it and fast!  I was not going to let a little broken bone or two keep me down. Now on to the proud part… My team was so supportive.  They visited me a lot, brought me books and goodies and lunches and I had several skaters come to make my family dinner in my absence.  I was amazed at their loving response.  It warmed my heart and that is hard to do, let me tell yah!  I did my therapy, I worked hard on and off the track and got back to skating as if nothing ever happened.  My first game back was on 9/20/14.  My skating partner Barbara Bushwhacker and I played wonderfully.  We played so well that day that we had the best statistics on the floor for that game.  My proudest moment came when my team awarded me the Most Valuable Player award for that game.  My first game back after a huge injury, I bounced back in good time, with my own stubbornness and determination plus the gracious support of my loving teammates!

Do you think having to spend some time on the sidelines helped improve your skills. Because you coached you got to see the game a little differently, do you think that helped you improve.

I do.  You see things from a different point of view.  When you are out there as a coach you have the responsibility to the team to act as a prudent representative.  That is what changed my game.  I gained patience.  I gained the ability to be a better sportswoman and teammate.  Therefore I gained the ability to be a better representative of my team as a whole.  

What is a skill you find challenging?

Edges.  They are my bane but I won’t give up.  I will get that one legged plow down…..sooner or later!

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I do not like guns.  I know; BATTLE Ready Betty doesn’t like guns!?  Funny, huh!?  I know how to work one and all that and I give major respect to the armed forces for their service and dedication to our freedoms and I picked my name partly for that reason but I would rather live without the need for guns and war altogether.  I am a pretty aggressive person and I find them a necessary evil but I would rather the human race just get along already.  Let bygones be bygones… Funny thing is I am just about 50/50 Anarchist and Hippie!  I know it’s a weird combination but it works for me.  I’m originally from California and I like their social philosophy – I’ll do my thing and you do your thing.  Don’t bug me and I won’t bug you.  Done and done.

 What are you obsessed with?

Static stickers- like the ones that come on new appliances and electronics, synchronicity, staying out of direct sunlight, expensive makeup and smelling good. 

Photo by Lance King

Photo by Lance King

Tell me about your doll.

Well, as before mentioned I like the weird, obscure and macabre and I love antiques too.  I found her at a local consignment and I couldn’t live without her!  She was freaky looking!!  Googly eyes, missing ears and a ratty old stained baby doll gown.  I didn’t have enough money get to her on the day I found her so I had her put back, hoping I could get her later.  I never ended up having the extra cash and I thought I lost her to the terrible financial circumstances!  One of my other good buddies on the team, Space Riot, was sweet enough to get her for me as a surprise gift.  I named her Minerva.  After a ton of searching online I found that she is one of the first ‘wetting dolls’ circa 1947-1956.  I cannot be certain on her exact date though.  Space Riot is our resident ‘soothsayer’ (if you will) and she was kind enough to smudge her with sage to get rid of any yucky ethereal leftovers from prior owners.  Isn’t she nice?

What is your favorite US city?

NOLA!!!  That’s New Orleans, Louisiana for people that have not lived or visited there.  I love that city.  It has so much history and you feel right at home as soon as you get there.  The people are super cool and the food and music is great!  The first time I went as an adult was in June of 2006.  Katrina hit land the August before.  My husband and I went for our honeymoon.  We thought about picking another destination but considering their catastrophic woes we wanted to help add some revenue even if it was just a little bit by comparison of the magnitude of damage they suffered.  The city was a sad site.  The French Quarter was mostly up and running but you could still see the carnage all over.  The horror and devastation these people lived through was just mind shattering.  My heart hurt.  We have visited several times since then.  The city has bounced back and it was nice to see everything going back to normal or as back to normal you can get after living through such a horrendous event.  We are planning our next trip to NOLA for Halloween 2015! YAY!!

Who would you like next month’s featured skater to be? 

I want to hear from Space Riot.  As you can see she picked me; so I am going to pick her!  I wondered if she ran away to the circus what her job would be.

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