Jun 25, 2017 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterCherry Bombs roller derby team battles 16 others in state
Erin Ivie wasn't sure what she would do with herself once her kids moved out of the house.
The widowed mother of two - a recent high school graduate and an upcoming high school sophomore - isn't quite yet 40. She doesn't like going to the bar, she doesn't quilt or knit, and she doesn't have a big group of friends from church.
"I kept thinking, 'What do I do?'" Ivie recalled. "How do I go out and meet other women?"
She was scrolling through YouTube videos one day when she came across the answer.
It was the perfect solution, offering a combination of camaraderie, exercise and a little bit of tough love.
"I don't have to be so nice, and I get to beat somebody up in a healthy way," Ivie said with a laugh.
So, she sent a message out to the Fremont County community via her Facebook page - was anybody interested in roller derby?
"The response was so overwhelming that within about two weeks we had our first practice," Ivie said.
The Fremont County Cherry Bombs have been together since last summer. The team currently consists of 18 women from all over Fremont County, ranging in age from 18 to 50.
Ivie also recruited a coach and an assistant coach, and she acquired team insurance through the Women's Flat Track Derby Association, the group that provides the rules for roller derby competitions, known as bouts within the sport.
In order to be insured through WFTDA, Ivie said members have to pass a "rigorous" skills test. That's what the Cherry Bombs have been working on for the past year.
They usually practice 7-9 p.m. every Thursday in the Fremont Center at the Fremont County Fairgrounds in Riverton, though Ivie said when that space isn't available they sometimes gather at the Hudson skate park.
Eventually, the nonprofit group would like to raise enough money to build a facility just for the skaters, but for now the Cherry Bombs are working on securing any location in Riverton, potentially at City Park, where they can host bouts, as the Fremont Center isn't quite big enough.
"We've talked with (Riverton officials) and have asked for permission to use the old skate park, which is just a flat concrete slab," Ivie said. "That would be really awesome. ... It'd be fabulous for us because it'd be more in the public view and maybe get some more girls interested."
She has been trying to recruit "fresh meat" to roller derby, hosting an event earlier this spring to draw interest in the activity.
"We absolutely want more people," Ivie said, explaining that a minimum of 14 members is required to make up a team.
"Come skate with us. ... Even if you don't want to compete it's a great way once a week to get your heart rate pumping (and) beat up some other people."
The Cherry Bombs is an all-women team, but Ivie said there is potential for a co-ed group in the future.
The organization also needs referees and other officials, and financial donations are always welcome.
Ivie already acquired a grant from the Recreation Board in Riverton to purchase safety equipment last year, so she is able to offer extra pads to newcomers, who must bring their own quad skates to participate.
Skaters also must be sober, Ivie noted.
The Cherry Bombs' latest bout of the 2017 season, which lasts from March through the first part of October, was Saturday in Rawlins.
Last year, Ivie said, they went to competitions all over the state, from Cody to Gillette.
"There are 16 other teams in (Wyoming) we compete against," she said. "(Come) meet new women, get in shape, and promote healthy activities."
Anyone interested in getting involved can call Ivie at 840-0152.
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