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JBLM Bettie Brigade Spotlight: Mia Gravedigger

Leader of the pack

Mia Gravedigger might be “Derby Tough,” but she is also having a great time on skates. Photo credit: Anthony Vernon

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Candice White is one busy gal.

By day, she's a busy military spouse, mother to two young children, pet mom of a dog and cat and runs a household. By night, she's Mia Gravedigger, a dedicated member of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Bettie Brigade, the all-female, player-run, fast-track roller derby team derived from the local military community and based in Lacey.

White also serves as the Bettie's vice-president, manages the well-received and popular Facebook fan page, oversees the team's revamped website and coaches the Belle Ringers, the team's newest skaters - also lovingly referred to as fresh meat.

Celebrating her second year on the team this month, White is even more energized than when she first started. The high energy and enthusiasm suits her well. What does she love the most about being a Bettie?

"Everything - I'm in love with the sport itself," she said. "When I first started, I didn't realize there was so much strategy and planning. Also, I just love the family atmosphere of the team."

As a military spouse, White found the JBLM Bettie Brigade to be a perfect fit. The Ohio native and her family are back in Washington state for the second time: Her husband was stationed at JBLM in 2005 for three years, and the family returned in 2012. She enjoyed Washington then and now, despite her wish that the weather was better.

However, when she returned the second time, now with two children in tow, she was looking to meet new people and create an interest outside the house. The Betties came into the picture and instantly clicked.

"The team is really good for military life. That's the reason I started, to meet new people. I remember going on Facebook and searching under JBLM Groups, and there it was. I went to the first practice and I never left!"

White sees a lot of excitement happening right now and in the future for the Bettie Brigade. Its list of followers on social media has had some terrific growth in recent months, and the updates to the website have attracted fans and future team members alike.

"For the Betties, I definitely see us growing," she explained. "I see an even bigger fan club, which translates to more fans coming to our bouts, and more skaters for the team and the ref group."

White acknowledged that having new skaters join is great, because during the summertime skaters have to move or PCS, a familiar reality in the life of a military family. She really savors getting to know the new skaters and her role as a coach.

"It's a lot of hard work, but very rewarding," she said. "I love watching the skaters improve and gain confidence. The sport is mentally and physically challenging. I tell them not to give up. It took me two years to get to where I am today. I am so glad to be able to help."

It's with that determination that the Bettie's new slogan, "Derby Tough," really makes sense to White and makes her smile.

"Our new slogan ‘Derby Tough' means to really get out there and give it all you got!"

To learn more about the JBLM Bettie Brigade and its upcoming events, visit or check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

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