Meet the Plap City Rollers!

*NOTE: This is part 1 of a 2 part feature on the Plap City Rollers. Another article/interview will be posted very soon so make sure you come back to check it out!

Please join me in welcoming the Plap City Rollers of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba to Canada’s derby network! Founded by Tina Jansen, aka “Girlmeat”, the Plap City Rollers are currently hard at hard at work building the foundation of their league and training new, dedicated skaters who are itching to get on the track for their first big bout. Plap City has also been pulling out all the stops to raise awareness for the sport and their league around the community. They started the year off with a large social on April 21st at the Cat & Fiddle Nite Club. On May 5th, International Roller Derby Day, the girls skated outdoors around the bike and walking paths near Crescent Drive and held a very successful fundraising barbecue.  And most recently, on August 11th they had a table set up at the 10th Annual Portage Potato Fest where they also put on a public demo for spectators. The Plap City Rollers will next be out at the Fame Nightclub in Winnipeg on Saturday, September 8th.

Locals watch as the Plap City Rollers put on a derby demo during the 2012 Portage Potato Festival. Photo by Jenny Sandney.

The good news is all of their hard work is certainly paying off! Through their community efforts the league has built a strong core of 21 skaters and 3 referees with no end in sight to their growth as a sports organization. “So far things have been going great,” said Tina Jansen, aka Girlmeat, founder and coach of the Plap City Rollers. “Everyone we have talked to is so excited for us to be bringing this amazing sport to Portage. Portage la Prairie is a very sport driven city and to have a new sport is thrilling for the whole community. Especially the fact that it is a female driven sport since the women in this city don’t have a lot of physical outlets other than joining fitness classes and such. So the women of Portage have been just as excited as all the men!” To the delight of Jansen and the rest of her teammates, local newspapers and radio stations have also been inflicted with derby fever. “We have been in the paper numerous times and have built a strong relationship with the radio stations. One reporter from CFRY continuously checks up on us and what we are doing to help get our events out there. We wouldn’t be anywhere without the local support of paper and radio stations as well as the local businesses that have donated gifts for our auctions and such. We have even gotten one of the reporters from the paper to join the league now!”

Beautiful but deadly. Tina Jansen, Jenny Sandney, Lisa Marie Tessier, and Sherry Ward.

Like with any other new league trying to find their footing, the Plap City Rollers have naturally faced their fair share obstacles. While at first it was the cost of gear and league finances, Plap City has begun to overcome those difficulties and is now primarily concerned with making sure all of their skaters are properly trained. Luckily they’re not alone in their endeavors! Both the Winnipeg Roller Derby League and the Wheat City Roller Derby League (Brandon, MB) have been out to Portage la Prairie a number of times to lend them a hand. “We have had members from Winnipeg and Brandon come lead practice for us to show us new drills and different input. Some of us [also] went and scrimmaged with Winnipeg. Both leagues are incredible and have been so open and welcoming and helpful! We wouldn’t be where we are skill wise without them,” said Jansen. The league is also currently looking for a practice/game space for the winter season. Up until this point they have been operating out of the Centennial Arena but with skating and hockey starting back up this fall they will need a new place. Despite needing to move for the time being, Plap City is incredibly thankful for the support they have received from the Centennial Arena over the last several months. “They have been so kind and welcoming in getting us going with incredible rates and a helping hand for us. We are forever grateful for all of their help and kindness!”

Running drills at the Centennial Arena.

So what’s next for the Plap City Rollers? With several girls ready to benchmark and the rest not too far behind, Plap City is hoping they can organize their first scrimmage in the coming months to show the city of Portage la Prairie exactly what roller derby is all about. “Derby can be hard to explain so it’s better for them to just see us in action!”

To learn more about the Plap City Rollers check out their official website HERE and their Facebook page HERE. Also, keep an eye out over the next couple of days for a short companion piece to this article which will focus on Tina Jansen and more backstory on this exciting new league!

Check out the Derby Little Secrets gallery for more professional, high-quality skater photos.

Make sure to check out the full public roller derby demo gallery from the 2012 Potato Fest as well.