By day, Jennifer Oetting, is a mild-mannered officer manager at her father’s commercial property maintenance company, in Waynedale. She is also about to graduate college with a degree in Business Management and her associates in Marketing. She is engaged to a Marine, Lawrence Shinabery, who is currently deployed in Iraq. But by night she becomes a rolling, bruising, first-class competitor in the flat-track sport of Roller Derby.
In October 2005, Tonya Vojtkofsky (Minx) and Danielle Abbott (Little D.Evil) founded the Fort Wayne league, and it has since grown from 5 skaters to 50. Their goal was to create Indiana’s first all-female roller derby league in Fort Wayne and they succeeded!
The Derby Girls are a non-profit organization with proceeds from each bout being donated to local charities, such as Erin’s House, SCAN, Hoosier Burn Camp, etc. Since 2006 the FWDG’s have successfully raised over $20,000 for local woman and children’s charities.
Oetting joined in December 2005 and ever since has been an active member in the league whose first bout was May of ’06. The roller derby events are called “bouts” and they consist of three 20-minute periods. The bouts are played on a flat track normally held at The Plex on California Road. However the girls are hosting a tournament call the “Fall Brawl” on November 24th, at the Memorial Coliseum, which will consist of teams from different cities playing each other all day long.
The bout begins with a pivot from each team in front, 3 blockers from each team in the middle, and a jammer from each team in the back. When the whistle blows, the pack takes off, and on a second whistle, the jammers blast off and fight their way through the pack in an attempt to become “lead jammer.” The jammers lap the pack and when they re-enter the pack, they receive one point for each member of the opposing team that they pass. A jam lasts a maximum of two minutes, but the “lead jammer” has the right to call off the jam at her discretion.
PIVOT: Sets the pace for the pack and is the last line of defense. She wears the helmet with a stripe.
BLOCKER: Tries to stop the jammer and makes life difficult for the opposing team’s blockers. JAMMER: Tears through the pack and scores points by passing members of the opposing team. She wears the helmet with a star.
There are penalties for certain behavior such as:
• False starts
• Excessive skating out of bounds
• Illegal blocking
• Intentional tripping and falling
• Illegal use of the hands
• Intentional cutting of the track
Take these guidelines and add falling, fighting, tempers, rivalries and general mayhem and that’s our Derby Girls. This sport is not without risks, as in any high profile sport, there are occasional broken legs, fractured tailbones, wrists and ankles.
Jennifer (PushyCat) and her home team the “Alpha Dollz” will be at their next bout, “The Rocky Horror Derby Show” on October 13, 2007, held at the The Plex, 1807 E. California Road. Call 496-9999 or www.FWDERBYGIRLS.com for more information.
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