Sunday, February 14, 2010

Heartbreaker's Ball: NHRD brings the ruckus

It was no surprise that New Hampshire Roller Derby’s (NHRD) Second Annual Heartbreaker’s Ball was going to be an epic party. Held at the Yard in Manchester, the dance party was a throwback to a 1950s sock hop.  The first Heartbreaker’s Ball was well attended, but it did not prepare me for the sheer number of people that had packed into the hall to dance to Rockabilly, Soul, and modern dance music. When Dread and I had to wade through a sea of unfamiliar faces to get to a table of familiar ones, I was impressed, but unsurprised.

New Hampshire Roller Derby has a reputation for their events.  In its infancy, the ladies were able to throw parties and fundraising events that were filled with Animal House-style antics, beer, and a loyal group of friends who were happy to fill the small dive bars of Nashua, New Hampshire. It was in those early days where the enthusiasm for starting the league was so high that one would be surprised to come up to visit them and not find them celebrating their hard work while dancing on a bar or raffling off dates with Tank’d Girl. Before their fun-loving attitude could be perceived as a negative, the ladies organized and produced the first Roller Consolation in 2008. Roller Consolation was NHRD’s cost-effective alternative to the annual RollerCon event in Las Vegas.  The ladies of New Hampshire invited skaters from all over New England to register and play in several challenge bouts (Dragons vs. Unicorns being my favorite). These one-off teams allowed fans and skaters in the region to see that as hard as NHRD partied, they skated even harder.  On the track, the people of NHRD throw themselves into their bouts and, win-or-lose, provide the audience with feats of stellar jamming and solid hitting that make them the apprentice league to watch this year. They attacked their event in the same manner.

Members of other leagues came up to take part. Talking with skaters and widowers from Central Mass and Boston, we agreed that the event was phenomenal. Trying to pin down why wasn’t hard. NHRD doesn’t just make merry with each other, but with everyone else that comes out to support them. It’s my belief that this is the greatest part of NHRD: they bring the ruckus on and off the track for the benefit of anyone who comes up to see them. They are the consummate hosts.

(professional photos courtesy of  Rock Lopez, visit his site at

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