HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The contact sport of Roller Derby has been absent from the Pine Belt for quite some time but now it’s making a comeback through a group of very diverse ladies.
Merrell Hourguettes, also known as Florence Night-in-Hell, says she's been doing roller derby for over a year and it's become her way to relax.
"A lot of women work out," says Hourguettes. "A lot of women may run to kind of release their aggression, but I chose roller derby."
Roller Derby has been around for years and has been gaining popularity over recent years.
Hannah Jones, also known by her teammates as Indi-Hannah Jones, says she’s always had a love for skating but roller derby opened new doors for her.
“One thing I love about roller derby after I saw the movie “Whip it” it was a way for girls to be in a tough sport,” says Jones. “I love physical contact. I love that we get to go out there and do things some guys aren’t brave enough to do.”
The Rebel Army Derby’s or “RAD” for short are the only derby team in the Pine Belt. These ladies say, for them, derby isn’t just about hitting people on skates but it’s also an escape from their everyday lives.
“I’m a nurse by day, I’m a wife, I’m a dog mom, and I have responsibilities as far as family goes and at some point in my life all of that got overwhelming,” says Hourguettes.
Students, business owners, and even a Real Estate broker are just a few of the diverse people that make up the team. Roller derby Veteran Heather Holliday, also known by her teammates as Hazmat, as competed all over the world and says she’s seen the sport transform women by building confidence and creating family.
“We’re mothers, we’re business owners, we do all kinds of things for everybody else, but derby is the one thing that we do for ourselves. It’s when you get to be yourself,” says Holliday.
The ladies all say when it comes to Derby, the feeling is indescribable.
"Here I’m Hazmat,: says Holliday. “I can hit people hard. I can skate how I want to skate. I can be me. I don’t have to back down. I don’t have to worry about other’s feelings. They know me.”
For more information about Rebel Army Derby, you can find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RebelArmyDerby/