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Betties bout to benefit kids

Club ready to rumble

The Bettie Brigade from JBLM will face off against the Rainy City Roller Dolls Saturday evening, and collect school supplies for students from JBLM. Photo courtesy JBLM Bettie Brigade

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Joint Base Lewis-McChord's own roller derby team, the Bettie Brigade, will face the Rainy City Roller Dolls from Centralia for their final bout of the season, and they'll help kids in the process this Saturday.

Just who is the Bettie Brigade?

The "JBLM Bettie Brigade is a nonprofit sports organization ... an all-female, player-run flat track roller derby league serving the Joint Base Lewis-McChord community," according to the group's Facebook page."We're a group of strong, independent women from within the military who have found a home away from home on the track."

The sport of roller derby originated in the 1930s. By the 1940s, it had basically become the female equivalent of "professional" wrestling, complete with stunt falls and scripted winners and losers. By the end of the 20th century, it had all but disappeared.

However, during the past decade, the sport has seen a rebirth.

"Contemporary flat track roller derby is an all-American, fast-paced, full contact sport," reads information on the Bettie's website ( "Ten girls on eight wheels, hundreds of cheering fans - derby bouts are the new must-see family event at JBLM.  Roller derby isn't just about the athletes.  The Bettie Brigade is here for the benefit of soldiers, families, and the military community."

Only the snazzy outfits and showy stage names hint at the sport's somewhat controversial history.

Dubbed "The School of Hard Knocks," Saturday's game will feature a school supplies fundraiser for the students on JBLM, according to the Bettie's Director of Marketing, Melissa Provencio. "We would like to build a relationship with the schools on base so that we may talk to students about gear safety, the dangers of not wearing the proper equipment, and basically provide them some mentorship by being positive role models," she said. "We are all military affiliated, so we know how hard it can be to move around a lot and start new. This is just a little something to show the kids our love and appreciation for them."

The bout will be held at Rollin' 253 Skate and Community Center and tickets are $10 in advance from Brown Paper Tickets ( or any member of the Bettie Brigade. Tickets at the door are $15, with a $5 discount for those who donate new, unopened school supplies.  

Along with the roller derby match-up, Saturday's event will feature a beer garden for the over 21 crowd. So come on out, grab a brew and enjoy an evening of fast-paced, exciting entertainment as the Bettie Brigade concludes its 2015 season.

For questions about the event, or for more information about the Bettie Brigade, check out their website,, or drop by a practice session at Rollin' 253 on Wednesdays from 8 to 10 p.m. or Sundays from 9 to 11 a.m.

The Betties are always interested in talking to potential team members - no skating knowledge or experience necessary!

THE SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS ROLLER DERBY BOUT, 6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 8, Rollin' 253 Skate and Community Center, 2101 Mildred St. W., Tacoma, $10 in advance, $15 at the door, $5 discount for school supply donations,

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