Last weekend, I strapped horns to my helmet and chased terrified runners through the streets of New Orleans with a pink, plastic bat. This wasn’t one of my weird derby dreams (like the one where we had a bout at Ikea and then Jenetic Defect decided to skate home on Interstate 10). This really happened, and it’s been happening for a while.
The San Fermin in Nueva Orleans will go into it’s eighth year in 2014 and is a great opportunity for derby leagues across the U.S. (and possibly the world) to promote the sport. If you are unfamiliar with the event, I’ll explain. No animals are harmed. Instead of actual bulls, the run utilizes the lovely ladies of Big Easy Rollergirls and as many other derby girls as they can find. The bulls attach horns to their helmets and chase after runners. No one of gored. Slow runners simply get whacked on the bum with a plastic bat.
This was my first year to participate, even though I’ve been hearing about it for a while. My old teammate, Violet Seizure, lives in Savannah now, but used to live in New Orleans. Before I moved to Houston, we had talked about going together. Despite now living in two different cities, we both made the trek to the Big Easy this year to skate together again.
The Big Easy Rollergirls make the most of their involvement with the Bull Run. The night before the run, they held a brief exhibition scrimmage at the Sugar Mill during packet pick up. One of the players even had the date of the next bout written in glitter paint across the back of her shorts. Players also manned an information/merch table over the weekend.
Of course, it wasn’t just the Big Easy players promoting their team. While visiting some New Orleans hot spots, Houston Roller Derby’s Flyon Maiden sold tickets for our upcoming bout to two tourists who said they’d be in our town this weekend.
During the weekend, I saw and met players from leagues all over Louisiana, Texas, Florida, and Alabama. I spotted a skater for Rose City and heard that Rat City had a few players there, too. Runners came from all over as well. I talked to several out-of-state runners about teams in their areas and encouraged them to check them out.
Events like this give skaters an opportunity to network with other teams and introduce people to your sport and team. Is it RollerCon? No, but it’s random things like this that help us spread the word about something we love. If you don’t have anything SFNO in your area, maybe it’s time to start something.