Hard Knox Rollergirls

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

May 2015 Featured Skater: Space Riot

She had a run in with an unknown beast and she’s The Machine Gun Kelly’s new captain. Get to know this month’s featured skater. Soothsayer, bowl skater, and deal maker: find out what makes this skater tick. Jump into the ethereal world of Space Riot!

Photo by Rebecca Sword

Photo by Rebecca Sword

So BRB picked you to be our May Skater of the month, and she wanted to know if you ran away to the circus, what would your job be?

Photo by Rusty Riot

Photo by Rusty Riot

I’ve often dreamt of running away and joining the circus and sometimes regret not doing it. I think that would have been a really good career move for me. If I had ever actually done it, I would have been a trapeze artist. Watching them perform always got my blood pumping. I imagine swinging and flipping through the air would feel like flying, and I’ve always wanted to fly—and their costumes are consistently fabulous.  

She also mentioned that you were Hard Knox’s resident soothsayer. Can you explain what that is, and what exactly you do.

I am. A year or so ago, everyone started calling me the team mystic because I’ve assisted several skaters in spiritual matters. Smudging and gridding with crystals are my specialties.

What exactly is gridding with crystals?

Crystal gridding is when you place certain crystals in specific locations to achieve an intended purpose. You can do this on your body or in your environment. Some examples include: placing black tourmaline in the corners of your house for protection, putting a piece of howlite under your pillow to help you sleep, or meditating with lapis lazuli on your brow to open up your third eye and enhance your psychic abilities.

I hear you know a lot about crystals and their properties. What is your favorite crystal and why?

I guess you could say that I possess more crystal knowledge than the average person. I have studied the metaphysical properties of crystals for years, and I have a lot of experience working with them and their energies.

Oh geez, my favorite crystal? That’s a tough one; there are so many wonderful crystals. I would have to say it’s a 4-way tie between: moonstone, labradorite, turquoise, and amazonite. I love moonstone because it’s a goddess stone. Its energy empowers me as a woman, but it can be really strong, so I never wear it during the full moon. Labradorite is very mystical and helps me tap into my intuition. I also love its goldish-green color because it matches my hazel eyes. Turquoise is my birthstone, so I’ve always loved it. It is a great stone for communication, so I wear it over my throat chakra whenever I am speaking in front of an audience, in an interview, meeting, etc. It is also a protective stone. Legend has it that turquoise changes color when evil is present. I also feel that it keeps me grounded. I guess I just feel really connected to it because of my zodiac sign. And finally… amazonite. I love the calming, soothing effect of amazonite. I have occasional panic attacks, so whenever I feel one coming on, I reach for my amazonite. Holding and gently rubbing this crystal is as pacifying as taking anxiety medication. 

Photo by Rusty Riot

Photo by Rusty Riot

You do a lot of bowl skating. What’s your favorite part of bowl skating? What’s the hardest part of bowl skating? Do you feel like it makes you a better player?

I do enjoy aggressive quad skating. I spent my early 20s traveling around to skate parks with all of my skateboarding buddies. I’ve skated parks all over TN, FL, NY, and even hit one somewhere in Canada. Kona in Jacksonville, FL is my all-time favorite park. I wasn’t a stellar skateboarder, but I was usually the only chick on a board at the park, so that generally drew a little attention, and I always had a lot of fun. I liked surfing the concrete waves and flowing back and forth on mini ramps and half pipes. It gave me a sense of freedom and being dialed in to everything that was cool in the world.

So now, I’m translating that into aggressive quad skating. I started hitting the parks on my roller skates in 2013. It’s a totally different experience, but it’s been a fun and enjoyable learning process. There has been a bit of a learning curve since on skates, you roll straight at something, rather than being turned sideways and leading with your hip like you do on a board.

I frequent the parks mostly with EviLucia. She’s taught me a lot and is always an encouraging friend. And now thanks to her, Knoxville has its very own chapter of Chicks in Bowls!

My favorite part of skating the park is getting a really good line. Like just cruising around, pumping in the corners, riding the wave and hitting as many dips and turns as I can until my speed runs out. It’s what I imagine surfing feels like.

I recently learned how to drop in, which was a terrifying experience until I turned off the fear factory in my brain and just went for it and rode away with a contented grin on my face. I think the hardest part of aggressive quad skating is overcoming your own fears. If you’re scared to try a trick, then you’re most likely going to bail. You have to have confidence in yourself and just go for it. And wear your pads, cause you’re probably gonna bail from time to time anyway!

I do feel that skating outside and skating parks makes me a better derby player. I play flat track roller derby, so if I can do something epic on a sloped surface, then I’m more likely to do something epic on a flat surface. I have become more comfortable on my skates, and my balance has improved greatly. Aggressive quad skating has most definitely given me more confidence on the track.

Photo by Rusty Riot

Photo by Rusty Riot

What’s an interesting story you like to tell people?

Back in 2003, I believe it was, I was attending my work’s annual summer cookout at Standing Stone State Park. Everyone had eaten and grown weary of playing volleyball, so a handful of us decided to go for a hike. Before ascending the trail, my friends decided to stop by the creek to check it out. I had my dog, Sati, with me and she was eager to hit the trail, so I told everyone I was going to get a head start and they could all catch up later. Sati was a spry little pup and loved to be in the wilderness, so she happily trotted up the trail without being tethered to me. Realizing she wasn’t on a leash, she quickly upped her pace and was soon about 20’-30’ ahead of me. As soon as we were out of earshot of my friends, I could sense something behind us. Every time I stepped, it stepped. At first, I thought I was hearing things, but then I noticed that Sati heard it too…I could tell by the way she cocked her head and twitched her ears. So to prove we were really hearing something, I stopped. It immediately stopped. I started walking again, it started walking again. I thought it was one of my friends trying to scare me because it was a 2-step gait and sounded heavy; it didn’t sound like an animal because I only heard 2 feet hitting the ground, and it was much heavier than a bobcat or wild boar. What struck me as odd though was the fact that as the trail rose in elevation, it narrowed and had a steep drop off to the left-hand side—the side in which the footsteps were coming from. I thought to myself, ‘there’s no way a person could walk on that kind of terrain...’ So this little game of me stopping and going went on for about another minute or two, when all of a sudden, Sati’s ears flipped straight back on her head like an angry mule, and without looking back at me, she bolted up the trail and was quickly out of sight. Panicked, I spun around and headed back down towards my friends, pounding the trail as hard and as fast as I could with my bare-feet. I yelled out to them until we finally met up. Heart-racing and out of breath, I tried explaining to them how Big Foot was after Sati. They all started to laugh and looked at me like I was crazy, but between gasps of air, I explained to them the events leading up to her disappearance. We all headed back up the trail, searching for signs of Sati and calling her name. An hour or so went by, but finally we found her. She came back to us with a deranged look in her eye, and at that moment, I wished she could talk and tell us what she experienced.

Standing Stone State Park is known for its Big Foot sightings, so much in fact, that a team of scientists from Russia came all the way across the pond to visit the area and do a little research. It is believed that several families of Big Feet live there. Like humans, they have different colored hair: red, silver, brown, and blonde. So anyway, that’s my story about that one time my dog got chased by Big Foot.

Photo by Rusty Riot

Photo by Rusty Riot

What were some skills you struggled with when you first started skating? What are some skills you struggle with now, if any?

Haha, um, skating! Standing up, not falling down, rolling forwards (forget backwards, that was a foreign concept!)…I couldn’t roller skate at all when I joined the team. I spent my 1st 2 seasons just getting comfortable in my skates. A lot of people on the team helped teach me how to skate, and I skated a lot outside of practice: I went to the skating rink, I skated on tennis courts, in parking lots, in my living room and dining room—luckily I have hardwood floors. I learned how to crab around my oval-shaped coffee table. ☺ It took me a long time to master just the fundamentals of skating, and having proper equipment helped immensely with my progress. Once I got skates that fit my feet better and paired them with softer bushings and looser trucks, I was finally able to do things I struggled with for so long, like fast, tight cuts and skating on 1 foot. I’ll never forget the day I went from feeling like I was riding my skates to knowing I was controlling my skates.

I am constantly learning how to become a better skater. There’s always something you can improve on. I struggle with using my edges to juke and be more agile. I love my toe stops, so it’s been a challenge to learn to trust my edges more. Besides practicing my jukes and speed control on my edges, I want to nail apex jumps this season. I know I can do it!

How have you grown as a skater in the last year? 

Last year was a year of growth for me. I earned my spot as a regular jammer on the Allstars. I won my 1st ever MVP award (1st home bout, MVP jammer in Allstars vs. Little Steel Derby Girls). I got to travel to NYC to visit my derby wife, Slaughter, hit a skate park in Brooklyn, then practice with her home team, The Bronx Gridlocks (I got to skate with Claire D. Way, my favorite Gotham jammer—gush). I attended my first RollerCon in Vegas and learned some really great stuff from some of the top skaters in the world: Scald Eagle, Stef Mainey, Smarty Pants, and Demanda Riot. I ended the year by receiving the Allstars Seltzer Award from my coaches. This meant the world to me; it was a great honor.

Photo by John Blood

Photo by John Blood

You’re the new captain of The Machine Gun Kellys, what are your hopes as a new team captain member?

Yes, I just got elected captain of my home team, The Machine Gun Kellys. With Cut N’Dye as my co-captain, we hope to take down the undefeated Lolitas Locas this season and send those crazy girls back to the looney bin!

Who do you want to be next month’s featured skater?

I would like to see Sunday School Slammer as next month’s featured skater. She’s looking really strong on the track these days, and I’d like to know what her training secret is.

Copyright 2015 by the Hard Knox Rollergirls. All rights reserved.