With a resurgence of interest in roller derby, Carroll Miller Pattie, and Eileen Connor, co-founders of Gulf Coast Rollergirls, are bringing the sport to Orange County.

It is a sport that encourages fitness in women, says Pattie, who lost 128 pounds over the last year, while learning the sport. She said it also provides positive, strong, role models for young women.  

They are looking for women 18 years of age or older to form up to four teams with eight members each. Seventeen-year-olds can play with parental permission by signing a waiver.

It doesn’t matter what skill level you are at. “All you need is the heart and desire,” said Pattie. Beginning skaters are welcome. “I’m a total beginner,” said Pattie. She stated she couldn’t even make it around the rink when she started. “It’s only been the last month or two that I’ve learned to really race at fast speeds… I don’t know how to stop.” She said no one is going to make fun of you for looking stupid. “I am the queen of looking stupid,” she said. “We want for everybody to have fun… It’s really about self esteem, a sisterhood.”

The pair are also keeping cost down compared to other groups. They saw a need, when so many girls wanted to play, but lacked the funds required to buy gear at retail or were turned away for the inability to pay weekly skate fees. In Gulf Coast Rollergirls, there are no skate fees or dues. All you have to buy is your equipment and they are offering it below wholesale through Connor’s skating rink in Vidor, The Skating Palace. “When I first bought my skates, it was about $200 for the skates and $75 for the wheels.” Pattie claims team members will have the opportunity to get their skates for around $65 and wheels for $20, which is a considerable savings.

Their two big rules are “no drama… and no drugs, ever, period, no, never,” said Pattie. They hope to work with local law enforcement, driving home their staunch anti-drug policies to young people.

“We hope to really make a difference, as well as bring some much needed entertainment here to the OC and surrounding smaller cities/counties.”

Within a few months they hope to host an event once a month. Details will be released at a later date.

New recruit nights are held 7-9 p.m., Tuesdays at The Skating Palace, located at 2650 Hwy. 12 in Vidor. You can call the rink and leave a message at 769-0640, or contact Pattie at 553-2209.

They are also putting together sponsorship packages. Local businesses will be offered spots on their Website, myspace page, Facebook and programs, as well as signs hanging at bouts.
 They can be found on myspace at www.myspace.com/gulfcoastrollergirls or on Facebook under Gulf Coast Rollergirls. You can also contact the group through e-mail at GulfCoastRollergirls@yahoo.com

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.