Roller Derby legends visit Gainesville to teach moves

Hillary Buscovick, a 31-year-old professional roller derby skater, works with Lizz Zieschang, 28, to demonstrate blocking techniques at a workshop for local skaters at the Alachua County Fairgrounds on Saturday. “I want every skater and athlete to be the best they can be,” Buscovick said. Buscovick, who goes by Scald Eagle when playing, has played competitively since 2011 and currently plays for the Denver Roller Derby Mile High Club team. 

About 40 people put on their helmets, strapped on their knee pads and laced up their skates Saturday.

They dashed, clashed and smashed into each other as their heroes taught them.

International roller derby legends Hillary “Scald Eagle” Buscovick and Samara “Lady Trample” Pepperell held a training workshop for roller derby players and enthusiasts.

The Gainesville Roller Rebels hosted the workshop for about 40 skaters and 20 spectators from across the state at the Alachua County Fairgrounds, said Chelsea Tobias, the 30-year-old Gainesville Roller Rebels president.

The workshop cost about $400 to host, Tobias said. Skaters had to register for $35 and spectators had to pay $5. The event sold out in about 45 minutes.

Tobias, or “Queen Slayer” when she plays for the team, said she organized the event to bring world-class players to share their skills with the community.

“I was really excited to have our derby heroes here,” she said. “It was really cool to see them in person.”

Buscovick, 31, and Pepperell, 27, are on the Denver Roller Derby League, which is ranked fourth in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, Buscovick said. Pepperell recently transferred from the Victorian Roller Derby League in Australia, which is ranked first in the association.

Gainesville was the third of nine stops on the duo’s Florida tour to teach fundamentals and share their personal experiences and signature moves, Pepperell said. The next workshop will be held in DeLand, Florida.

“One of the things that happens when you’ve been playing for as long as we have at the level we have, is we get the opportunities to come and share our experiences and knowledge with the community, which is a huge privilege,” Pepperell said.

Rachele “Harley Quinn” Huelsman, a 39-year-old player on Miami’s Vice City Roller team, traveled more than 300 miles to attend the three-hour session.

“Scald Eagle is legendary so, of course, if you get an opportunity to train with an athlete that amazing, you take it,” she said.

Vinessa “Poise N’Control” Farlow, the captain of Ocala Cannibals Roller Derby, didn’t register in time to skate, but still came out to spectate and learn.

Farlow, 38, said she’s has been playing roller derby for about 12 years and loves it because she found a community that gave her everything she was looking for.

“You’re going to sweat, you’re going to cry, you’re going to vomit, you’re going to piss yourself and it’s going to be great because you’re going to get encouraged the whole way,” Farlow said.

Contact Karina Elwood at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @karina_elwood.