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Audio Assault gaining popularity in roller derby circles

7/11/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

Shown is Casey Kelley, aka Masher Chief, of the Audio Assault.
Photo courtesy of Casey Kelley
TALLMADGE — Now in its sixth season, the NEO Roller Derby consists of two teams — the Rock ‘n’ Roller Girls (the A-team) and the Audio Assault (the B-team). And while the Rock ‘n’ Roller Girls are already fairly well established, the Audio Assault are also starting to come into their own.

Casey Kelley, who is playing in her first season for the Audio Assault under the moniker Masher Chief, said the Audio Assault (3-1) are “having a great season” so far this year.

“We are currently on a three-game winning streak and feeling good about the rest of the season,” she said. “Though we had a hard loss in our first game of the year, it was a great motivation for the rest of our season.”

According to Kelley, the league as a whole is continuing to grow in popularity.

“With our bouts, the attendance has seen new fans to add to our dedicated fans,” she said. “It’s encouraging as a skater to have these fans at our bouts.”

To match the NEO Roller Derby’s new fans, Kelley said, the league has added a number of new players.

“This season, NEO has seen an influx of new skaters. Just about every bout has been the debut bout for a skater or two,” she said. “Audio Assault has grown all season long. We have been working hard on becoming closer, becoming stronger and becoming a team that works well together. It has shown in every bout. There are so many new jammers for Audio Assault. All are doing so well. Through our various bouts, the high scorers have varied. Lita Rabbit (Jenna Dwyer), Riz Vicious (Theresa Novak), Blue Suede No Shoes (Michelle Culp), Amber Zerker (Amber Foth) and myself are all having great seasons as jammers for Audio Assault.”

Kelley said roller derby bouts make for a great night out for the family at a reasonable cost.

“Bouts, like most sports games, are fun to watch,” she said. “I can only relate with my own first experience of attending a bout. At first, there is confusion, with rules and how the sport is played. Roller derby has grown so much since its previous play days. It has grown into its own sport. The rules can be confusing to understand, but listening to the announcers really helps understand the game. A new spectator should take it all in, sit in the suicide seating, or line up on the side of the track for team high-fives.”

There are three home games left in the NEO Roller Derby season.

“Our next bout is July 13 against the Burning River Roller Girls from Cleveland,” Kelley said. “The last two bouts are in August and September.”

Bouts, which are double-headers featuring the Rock ‘n’ Roller Girls in one match and the Audio Assault in another, usually start at 6 p.m. and take place at the Summit County Fairgrounds in Tallmadge. Tickets are $10 presale from a derby girl or online at www.neorollerderby.com, and $12 at the door. Children ages 12 and younger are admitted free of charge.

“We try to be interactive with our audience with contests, give-a-ways and raffles,” Kelley stated.

In addition, she noted, members of the NEO Roller Derby strive to stay active in the community.

“Coming up we have our annual Bust Bout in September. Local artists take busts of NEO skaters or local breast cancer survivors and create art pieces. These pieces are then auctioned at the last bout of the season,” she said. “What makes this big is that all the proceeds from the auction go to Stewart’s Caring Place, which provides services to individuals and families facing cancer.”

For more information about NEO Roller Derby, go to www.neorollerderby.com.

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