Bradentucky Bombers Prepped For Takeoff

Sports

BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY MAY 28, 2015

With wheels on their feet and helmets on their heads, the Bradentucky Bombers take to the arena this weekend at Astro Skate of Bradenton, where the team will face down the visiting Jacksonville J-Villains in a cross-coastal rivalry for Florida roller derby supremacy. Blocking and jamming their way across the rink, the Bombers seek to rectify a close loss to the J-Villains suffered last year. For tailgaters and fans, Little Giant Brewery will be serving locally-crafted beers before, during and after the event.

Formed in 2008 by GiGi Ramoan (the Bombers all have skater names, this one being a mix of DeeDee Ramone and shock-rocker G.G. Allen), the Bombers have been growing steadily ever since. In a match, each team fields five skaters, each with specified tasks. Blockers block, the pivot strategizes and the jammers, the ones with the stars on their helmets, are the scorers. “They’re the one everyone tries to hit,” clarifies team captain Dita Von Cheats (non-skater name: Sarah Pikos), the 6-foot-2-inch blocker who leads the Bomb Squad, the Bombers flagship team.

Von Cheats joined in 2008, after meeting other Bombers as they sifted through the local Hot Topic for multi-colored socks and dramatic accessories that have become the roller derby hallmark. The Bombers asked Von Cheats to join, but she continually declined. Then her mother passed away.

“I really needed something to fill that female void and I thought I’d give roller derby a chance,” said Von Cheats. “Not only did it fill that female strength role, but it gave me a whole team of sisters and friends.”

For the members of the team, roller derby is about more than victory and it’s about more than that perfect hip check sending your opponent head over wheels into the stands; it’s a camaraderie forged in the rough-and-tumble that you can’t quite get anywhere else.

“It’s about empowering women and it’s about empowering the community,” said Von Cheats, adding that the Bombers regularly collect donations for local charities and services at their events, with this match going to benefit Care Net Manasota, a pregnancy resource center. And as intense as bouts can get, each match ends with celebratory laps from both teams, plenty of high-fives and a group hangout at the bar. According to Von Cheats, “There are other female sports teams locally, but roller derby is its own special thing that can’t be compared to anything else.”

The Bradentucky Bombers take on the Jacksonville J-Villains May 30 at 5pm at Astro Skate of Bradenton. Tailgating starts at 4pm. Little Giant Brewery is bringing the suds, but it’s recommended spectators bring their own chairs. 

Photo by: Josh DeSario. Courtesy of: The Bradentucky Bombers

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