Queen City Roller Girls started in 2006 when two best friends were inspired by the A&E series “Rollergirls.” This reality show chronicled the TXRD Lonestar Rollergirls’ alter egos, friendships, triumphs, struggles and of course the riveting bouts. Sissy Fit and Flotorious built the group from the ground up by recruiting like-minded skaters and volunteers by spreading the word online as well as fliers at places like coffee shops and colleges.
Rainbow Rink in North Tonawanda was receptive to their efforts, allowing them to recruit at open skate and eventually hold private practices. Since the beginning, the mission of Queen City Roller Girls was to make a group where women can live out that alter ego, continue playing sports into adulthood (or discover the joys of training and competition for the first time) as well as make lasting friendships and improve the surrounding community.
By January, 2007 the thirty skaters involved had been split into three teams; the Devil Dollies, Nickel City Knockouts and the Suicidal Saucies. Many of those first draftees are still involved today! February 10, 2007 was our first bout: an expo called Slugs n’ Kisses. “SnK” sold over 400 tickets and we were elated! To get started, we relied on support from fundraisers like “Rock ‘n’ Roller Derby” at Mohawk Place and the 80’s prom “Debutante Brawl” as well as support from FWS, Al Cohen’s Rye Bread and Vertasource. Early on, camaraderie was as important as athleticism. If you had dedication and a pair of skates, we would train you.
Year three we added a fourth team, the Alley Kats. Even at that early point we were consistently drawing sell-out crowds of over 1,000 fans. Our success has resulted from the efforts of our all-volunteer organization as well as the love of our fans. Our all star squad then called “Team QCRG” played “travel teams” from notable cities such as Montreal, Hamilton and D.C. We have been covered by almost every major local news source and even had a cover story in Buffalo Spree.
Team QCRG has grown and become the Lake Effect Furies. In 2010 QCRG applied for apprentice status with the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) and after a year we were granted full membership. The Lake Effect Furies then began competing for ranking within WFTDA’s eastern region. The Furies played such high ranking teams as the Portland Authorities (Maine), Steel Hurtin’ (Pittsburgh, PA), New Skids on the Block (Montreal) among others. The Furies kept on rolling in 2012 playing 15 games on the road and coming out ranked 13th in the WFTDA eastern region.
In September, 2012, QCRG had the honor of hosting WFTDA’s North Central regional tournament in Niagara Falls, NY. Ten teams from across the north central region, officials and fans gathered for three days of intense roller derby. QCRG stepped up and showed the derby world what a gem WNY is and why QCRG is an amazing group of people.
On the local front, helping our community has always been part of our mission. We volunteer time regularly with such organizations as Habitat for Humanity, Brush Up Buffalo, Children’s Hospital, Ride for Roswell, Buffalo Re-Use/Re-Tree and many more. In addition to contributing our time, we give a portion of all ticket sales to a designated charity. We’ve handed “big checks” to many organizations such as the Girls Sports Foundation, Crisis Services and the Food Bank of WNY.
QCRG has grown to over 120 members including competitive skaters, officials and volunteers. It isn’t as easy to become a bouting skater as it used to be, but aspiring rollergirls are joining all the time.
The Dollies, Kats, Knockouts and Saucies are ready to battle it out for the Queen City Cup and the Lake Effect Furies are aiming for a spot in next year’s WFTDA tournament.