Circle City Roller Derby's inclusion leads to rare 5-league unity

Posted at 3:07 PM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 09:43:02-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Come August, five different roller derby leagues will be practicing in the same space on the east side of Indianapolis.

"It's rare. I know that in some of the other leagues, maybe two teams have joined together...But other than that, I don't think there (have) been multiple leagues (in one space)," Polly Wallace (AKA Pure Polly), a skater on the Circle City Roller Derby league, said.

Race City Rebels, part of the Men's Roller Derby Association and the Indianapolis Junior Roller Derby (IJRD), are using CCRD's practice facility. A new USA Roller Sports (USARS) team will be rolling into the space in August. CCRD is also letting Naptown Roller Derby, one of their competitors in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, use its practice space.

WRTV recently spoke with Naptown about their efforts to rebuild over the last two years of the pandemic, which included a renewed search for a practice and home bout venue.

One of Naptown's captains said it's challenging to find a place willing to host a roller derby team.

"It's just about trying to find that right space because you have to fit the track, you have to fit 10 feet out for the refs, you have to go around and in the middle of everything," Amber Wilson, a co-captain at Naptown, said.

MORE: Naptown Roller Derby is getting the skates rolling again after 2-year pause

A mural on the back wall of the Circle City Roller Derby's practice space displays its name on top of a colorful background.

Kim Prifogle (AKA Lady Miss Bier) is pleased to fit as many leagues as possible into the CCRD facility.

"We're happy that there's another league in the city for women," Prifogle told WRTV.

Prifogle is one of the founders of CCRD, and her goal since its origination in 2008 has always been to have more spaces for roller derby.

Before starting the league, Prifogle says there was only one women's roller derby team in Indianapolis. It made joining more of a challenge.

Prifogle said she and a few others who are no longer with the league just wanted a chance to skate, so they founded CCRD. In the beginning, it was more of a club.

"When we started the league, it was really about being able to include if you just want to come and skate, then that's all you need to do," Prifogle said. "If you want to be competitive, then we'll have a place for you here as well. We've actually been able to carry that through."

The league grew to include skaters from across central Indiana.

By 2012, CCRD joined WFTDA, an international roller derby association with over 400 member leagues. It officially became Indy's second WFTDA league, effectively becoming Naptown's competition.

"It's not really like we're in hard competition with them," Prifogle said. "It's a great opportunity that people have this to be able to skate as adults because it's so much fun. Like, you skate around and you hit people and you laugh," she continued, laughing herself.

Skaters on the Circle City Roller Derby League perform drills during practice on Tuesday, May 31, 2022.

Jennifer Rowe (AKA Rowe M. Over) is a mother, teacher, and long-time roller derby skater.

For Rowe, the sport is about the community that comes with it.

During the pandemic closures and heightened uncertainty, Rowe says CCRD remained bonded.

"We all got on the Zoom and a lot of us watched 'Whip It' together," Rowe gave as an example.

"I appreciated that I had that community of people, even though we weren't able to play the game anymore," Rowe continued. "That's why it is so much more to me than just a sport. I absolutely love playing the game. I love challenging my body. But even during the global pandemic, I still felt like I had my community."

Rowe says everyone at CCRD took on the last 2 years as they have the previous 10 years: As an all-hands-on-deck situation.

"We all were really investing in the future and the hope that we'll be able to (play) again," Rowe said.

Even though the pandemic restrictions meant CCRD couldn't skate with their fellow teammates for over 2 years, much less compete, the league was able to maintain its practice and bout spaces.

Wallace says it's because the league collectively knew what it would take to make sure it came out of COVID-19 still rolling.

"We all were dedicated and decided to pay our full dues," Wallace said. "For the whole 2 years of the pandemic, we weren't skating, but we were still paying our dues to make sure that we could still have this place to come back to. And a lot of other leagues didn't have that opportunity. And they lost practice places, places to play at, other things like that."

The decorated wall at the entrance of the Circle City Roller Derby practice space has flags, framed jerseys, promotions, and more.
Some of the skaters in the Circle City Roller Derby start practice.

Now that it's a truly packed house over at CCRD, just about every day a team is slotted to be in the warehouse. Sometimes they overlap.

"Sometimes we'll start off-skates or on skates, on the side, and there'll be a team on the track, and then 30 minutes in, we'll switch. And then maybe we'll finish over here and then tear down. And that'll be the end. And then they'll stay and continue," Wallace said.

Prifogle says CCRD was founded on the premise of giving people more space to enjoy skating, so they are happy to do it now. Even if it's another league, or technically a competitor.

The founder says it's also about being able to help empower people.

"You can bring somebody in that doesn't feel confident in what they're doing and like, really help them," Prifogle said. "Seeing people have those small successes is almost more than me having my own successes. I feel like it's pretty exciting."

It's also about providing leagues with a sense of stability — something that isn't always the case in roller derby.

"We've had the space for nine years. It's just amazing to me. Before that, of course, same as in other leagues, you rented rinks whenever they were available. You practiced in the spaces where you held your bouts, those are hourly rates, which were kind of outrageous. And you might not always have consistent times. Or you have skaters driving to one part of town on a Tuesday, a completely different part of town on Thursday. So that's really good to have a space where you know, all your practices are in one spot," Prifogle said.

The last time CCRD was able to compete was in 2019, on Rowe's son's first birthday.

CCRD's Socialites took on the Cornfed Derby Dames in their first official bout back on Saturday, June 4. CCRD won 147-97.

"If you're like me and have kids that you have to run everywhere to all their different events. This is a great time for you to make it all about you and have a nice time," Rowe said. "But of course, if you don't have children, you will still find community here. This place is for everybody."

CCRD hosts new skater workshops, which you can learn more about on its website. There, fans can also purchase tickets to this season's bouts.

WRTV Digital Reporter Shakkira Harris can be reached at You can follow her on Twitter, @shakkirasays.