Interview with the Ohio Roller Girls

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I recently contacted the Ohio Roller Girls to get some dirt on the upcoming 2007 WFTDA Eastern Region Tournament (aka Heartland Havoc) and they were happy to oblige. Alli Catraz, who considers Lead Jammer to be “legitimate media” (!), answered some questions via email. Read on!

LJ How did Ohio get to host the Eastern Division tournament? Tell us
about that process.

OHRG WFTDA put a call out for proposals to host. Even though it was our first season at home, we realized that Columbus was in a unique position in that it’s fairly central to the region, easy to get to, and within 6 hours drive of about 20 leagues, WFTDA or otherwise. We’re nothing if not ambitious, so we put the proposal in, and ended up winning the opportunity to host. Since then, it’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s totally worth it.

LJ Reffing is always a big deal at these tournaments. How will ref
squads be organized? Is there official head ref?

OHRG We are deferring to the experts on this one, and Endless Justin (of Gotham Girls Roller Derby, and formerly Tuscon Roller Derby) is heading up the ref crew. There are four teams of refs, drawn from many different WFTDA leagues, many with experience reffing at Dust Devil and the Philly Extravaganza. Each ref crew is named for one of the four chambers of the human heart.

LJ Tell us about Battelle Hall. Will it support a couple thousand athletes, staff, and freak fans?

OHRG Absolutely. Battelle Hall is where the OHRG skated our first home season, so it’s even seen some derby before. It’s a large convention hall, and the capacity is about 5,000 with the upper balcony open. There will be room for the track, sponsor & merch booths, and all the derby trimmings — like PBR!

LJ What kind of floor will you have?

OHRG Great news on that front — last year the OHRG skated right on the polished concrete in Battelle, which was a pretty great surface, but, due to a great deal with one of our sponsors, SkateCourt, we’ll have a brand new sportcourt to skate the Heartland Havoc on.

LJ How about seating?

OHRG Seating will be bleachers, floor seating, chairs, and balcony.

LJ Will there be food vendors and such on hand? Anything vegetarian?

OHRG There will be food inside Battelle Hall (probably the traditional burgers and nachos fare) plus, we’re trying to get some healthier stuff including smoothies on hand. In addition, there’s a food court downstairs in the convention center with all sorts of food. The convention center is also within walking distance of the Short North, a neighborhood of art galleries and restaurants, and it’s right across the street from the North Market, which has about everything from sushi to vegan sandwiches to Pho & Bubble Tea. We’ll be putting out a guide to Columbus on our Heartland Havoc site within the week.

LJ Which bouts are you looking forward to most?

OHRG Personally, I can’t wait to see how Minnesota fares, because they were the team we played for our first ever interleague bout. And a lot of our players have a special place in their hearts for Gotham and Carolina, specifically Beyonslay and Princess America, after seeing them skate in Philly, so I know we’ll be watching them too. I’m also eager to see how Windy City ends up doing — they’ve come a long way in a short time.

LJ Do you think there will be any suprises like we saw in Tucson?

I’m certain there will be. With this being the first ever Eastern regionals, I can’t see how there wouldn’t be at least 1 or 2 upsets, because no matter what the stats say, these things are really hard to predict.

So there you have it – a little more to look forward to. It should be noted that I passed on a [perhaps slightly inflammatory ;)] question giving a chance for the OHRG to talk some smack about Providence (their first opponent in the tournament), but that one didn’t get a response. Pure class? Surely.

-Gnosis

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