In June 2013, Devon and Tanea Murphy, Brandon and Nikki LaShure, and Christina Poland formed the initial board. From there, they took tentative steps in establishing Fayetteville’s first dual roller derby league featuring women and men. Forming a single competitive team in and of itself was a lofty ambition, but their agenda spans years and stretches into the farthest parts of the Fayetteville, NC Community.
“Our players come from the community, so first and foremost we want to give back to our community.” Devon, the coach of DRD and the nucleus of this tight knit group stresses to his players and volunteers the importance of celebrating the community and giving back in appreciation of their support. “We love to skate and have that contact with the fans, but we also want to make sure that we can always give something back – through our charity events for the Fisher House and for the local deaf community.” Establishing DRD as a non-profit organization was an integral part of the team’s plan to work with and for the local community. “Most derby teams would like to be non-profit but not all teams are capable. Securing that state and federal status just allowed us to do so much more for Fayetteville and our charities than most teams can do…it was an easy decision.”
DRD is currently comprised of three teams with plans to add a junior league in the near future. The first team established was The Villains, their male team. Devon is quick to point out it’s still a work in progress. “Roller Derby has been a female dominated sport since 1935 so it’s more difficult to entice men and get them past that stereotype.” They also pull from a predominately military community and lose skaters when they move. The second team established was The Vixens. “Female skaters want to belong to an organization; they want to belong to something meaningful.” Lastly, they have a co-ed team which pulls skaters from the two existing teams.
Roller Derby was initially dominated by theatrical behavior and provocative costumes. As more competitive skaters emerged the landscape changed and the campy nature gave way to serious athletes. DRD has made a concerted effort to avoid the circus-like behavior of most recreational leagues, “We wanted to establish a strong foundation and let the league grow from there.” Devon plans to take the league to the next step this summer by applying for membership with the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA). WFTDA allows the team to compete on a nationally ranked level and sets them apart from the dozens of recreational leagues and stay goal oriented. “DRD operates on a ‘bone deep’ motto. What we do, we do to the core, to the bone.”