Dam City to Slay on April Fools Day, Roller Derby Returns to West Kootenay Turf
The Castlegar Dam City Rollers are ready to slay the competition at their 13th anniversary game Saturday, April 1st when they take on the Penticton Pistoleras.
April Fools’ Slay is no joke; it’s a much-anticipated all-ages, family-friendly roller derby smash-up rolling into Selkirk College Gymnasium at full throttle.
“Fans can expect an exciting and action-packed exhibition of our players, abilities, athletic prowess and skill,” says Nikki Merritt, aka Peacemaker.
“There will be hard hits, fast-paced skating, and clever offense/defense. It will be a thrilling event that involves lots of tense moments and excitement that will be sure to make anyone a fan of the sport.”
The game will be broadcasted on local TV via Shaw and streamed live on Shaw Spotlight. But spectators can look forward to more than just the match; for example, event DJ Jalopy Parade is hosting a dance-off for the half-time show.
Folks can also enter a 50/50 draw and a raffle for a custom Dam City Rollers mini fridge, The Biggest Little Fruit Stand will be on the grill, and the beer garden, sponsored by Tailout Brewing, promises to keep patrons refreshed.
The event will also offer a shuttle, ensuring everyone gets home safely.
Doors open at 4:30 p.m. with the first whistle at 5 p.m.
Tickets are only available at the door with the cost of entry a cash donation or non-perishable food item to the Community Harvest Food Bank.
“Kicking back to the community to thank them for all the love and support they’ve given us over the last decade-plus means the world,” says Merritt.
“The work of hosting a game involves more than just the individuals who play it. Thankfully, we have a community of volunteers and other organizations and businesses that benefit from having more sporting events in our rural area. It will be an exciting and action-packed exhibition of our players abilities and a chance to reconnect with our local fans.”
The Dam City Rollers started as a house team 13 years ago under the former West Kootenay Roller Derby League, but have since adapted to become a regional travel team.
This will be their first home game since the pandemic cancelled their 10th anniversary bout, scheduled for March 14th, 2020. Since then, the team has been working hard to build up and contribute to the sport, playing across BC and Alberta.
This past season, the Dams attended two competitive tournaments, Calgary’s Flat Track Fever in May and Daze of Derby in Chilliwack in November.
“We also played the team we will be hosting, the Penticton Pistoleras, on their home turf last spring,” adds Merritt.
“When we’re not travelling, we’re practicing twice a week as well as fundraising and volunteering for activities like Adopt-A-Road Castlegar. We run our Fresh Meat program every fall and are always looking for new recruits to include as players, referees, or volunteers.”
Merritt’s personal derby journey started in 2012. After playing for two years on three different West Kootenay teams — the former Valley Vendettas, the defunct Kootenay Kannibelles, and the Dam City Rollers — she went on a seven-year hiatus while raising her children. In 2021, she returned as a fresh skater and this year became the assistant captain.
“To me, playing roller derby isn't just about the sport, although it’s both challenging and extremely rewarding. The main reason I came back was to be a part of a team that is accepting and supportive of who I am as a player, challenging me to do my best and work hard, while also being there for me as an individual,” she says.
“The Dams are like a family, and they show up in my life as more than just my teammates; they’ve also become some of my dearest friends. The people involved in this sport are the ones who make all the hard work worth the effort.”
To find out more about the Dam City Rollers, check them out on Facebook.