JARED FIELDS • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — Roller derby is making a comeback in the Hill Country.
And to raise money and awareness, the Marble Falls Night Mares are holding a taco fundraiser Jan. 31.
“Breakfast tacos, carne guisada, chicken fajita — anything you can get at a typical taco stand, we’ll have,” Crystal Hilburn said.
Hilburn, known on the track as Bam Bam Slamma, said the nearly year-old league is gaining interest.
“This time around has just been crazy,” she said. “Everyone just wants to be a part of it.”
The taco fundraiser supports travel and other expenses for bouts, or contests. It begins at 9 a.m. and goes until the afternoon at the Boys & Girls Club of the Highland Lakes-Marble Falls unit, 1701 Broadway.
Unlike the roller derby in Austin or in the recent movie “Whip It,” this roller derby is on a flat track. Hilburn said the local team usually travels to Kerrville, Killeen or San Antonio for a bout.
Hilburn said the practices and bouts have helped her lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. But being with her teammates has been Bam Bam Slamma’s favorite part.
“Typically, we would not know each other or hang out. You’re putting yourself out there physically and depend on your teammates,” Hilburn said. “You build a sisterhood with them. That’s my favorite part.”
Roller derby isn’t just for adults. The Night Mares also have a junior league that currently has a handful of younger members.
Like many, Nikole Ulbricht saw “Whip It” and went to the Texas Roller Derby League in Austin wanting to get involved. When she found out about the Night Mares, she joined.
“I’m a jammer, one who scores points. They’re trying to block me or hit me when I’m coming by,” said Ulbricht, a junior at Burnet High School. “They do kinda pummel you a little bit, but it’s really fun and worth it.”
The youngest member is Kyla Cagle, 12, also known as ‘Lil’ Bit.’ Cagle said she likes skating and found out about the league from her mom.
“She just saw it on Facebook, and I begged her,” Cagle said. “She finally said ‘yes.’”
Ulbricht’s mom, Mary, also is a member of the Night Mares.
“It’s scary if she falls down. I want to check on her, but I’ve gotta keep going. And it’s the same with me. If someone knocks me down, she kind of targets that person,” Nikole Ulbricht said. “We’ve gone against each other once. She let me by once, then I felt bad because I didn’t let her by.”
Hilburn said the Night Mares have about 10 adult members, but more are always welcome. More junior league members are needed in order to have full bouts with other leagues. Hilburn also said the league is in search of people who want to skate or be involved in other ways.
“We teach people how to train other people, we train referees and non-skating officials,” Hilburn said.
Even if you’ve never skated, you can soon be bouting with the rest of the team and have an awesome roller derby name.
“We’ve had girls that have never put on skates before, and now they’re bouting with us,” Hilburn said.
For more information, search for “Marble Falls Night Mares” on Facebook.