Girls get skates on to catch men

By Jared Smith

Wanganui will host about 200 tough women keen to charge down the main street chasing fleeing men wherever they find them.

No, the town has not gone to a feminist Sodom and Gomorrah, but will be the scene of the Low Down Derby Throw Down for the sport of roller derby.

Local club the River City Rollers have hired Springvale Stadium for Easter weekend to run four days of seminars and training sessions for clubs from around the country.

It's the brainchild of national representative coach Stacey Roper (aka Pieces of Hate). As well as the 200 skaters, referees and non-skating officials will learn the ropes.

"They're coming from everywhere - confirmed from Dunedin, Christchurch and Nelson, all the way up to the top of the north," said River City's Melanie McGhie, aka Mel-icious Mayhem.

The skaters will learn skills and develop team strategies.

As the sport grows in this country with an interesting sub-culture of women, many of whom have no other sports background, the seminars will also teach them how to foster their clubs and run them like a self-sustaining business.

Scrimmages will be held daily from 7pm-9pm, with a final game played at the end of the seminars.

McGhie said the guests would contribute to Wanganui, planning to hold movie nights and relax at the Splash Centre, cooling sore muscles.

To promote the event, the club also hope to organise a "Running of the Bulls" on Victoria St. A group of "volunteer" men, dressed in white with red bandannas and scarves, will run for it as the girls skate after them in red shirts with "soft" weapons.

"We don't harm them, we try and grab the bandannas and scarves," McGhie said.

The club are negotiating with Mainstreet Wanganui about the event.

The Rollers' last hit-out was a club game at home against Levin's Whenua Fatales in December, a 133-129 win.

Proceeds are being arranged to be donated to the Cancer Society, while food cans collected will go to the food bank. More information is available by sending an email to

- Wanganui Chronicle

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