Bringing Roller Skates Into The 21st Century.
If you find yourself driving down Burton Avenue in Barrie you might notice a very special local business. Inside you’ll find a selection of roller skates, protective equipment, and accessories. These aren’t your mom’s roller skates from the days of neon short shorts and roller disco, though. Most of these skates and equipment are designed with one activity in mind: Roller Derby.
The Evolution of Roller Derby
When most people imagine Roller Derby, their first thought may be the bowl-shaped tracks featured in movies like Whip-It. These are called “banked tracks” and while it’s where roller derby got its start, banked tracks are very rare to find now and the sport has evolved quite a bit from these beginnings. These days the most popular version of the sport is called flat-track roller derby.
As the name would suggest, flat-track roller derby is played on a flat surface. This makes it easier for teams to find practice and game space. An unused hockey rink or basketball court can easily and quickly be transformed into a roller derby arena with a little but of time and gaffer tape (the tape used to lay out the track on the floor). We even have a league right here in Simcoe County (The South Simcoe Rebel Rollers). So all you need to worry about before you hit the track is finding your gear. That’s where Tara comes in.
Expert Advice and Recommendations
Tara Conboy is the owner and sole operator (unless you count her 4 legged friends) of Rumbling Rage Roller Skates and Equipment. Not only is it the premiere roller derby shop in Barrie, it’s one of only a handful of such shops in all of Canada. Skaters come from all over the province to see Tara at Rumbling Rage where they can try on skates, helmets, protective gear, and get expert advice and recommendations. Not only is Tara an expert on all things Roller Derby, she’s also an active player in multiple leagues including Barrie’s South Simcoe Rebel Rollers.
She’s worked hard to make Rumbling Rage your one stop shop for everything you need to roll. Not only will you find an awesome selection of roller derby skates and equipment, you’ll also find accessories, apparel, leg wear, junior skates and more. There’s even a selection of recreational skates – fashionable, more traditional looking roller skates that aren’t for playing roller derby. For beginner skaters though, one of her most popular items is called a “Fresh Meat Package”.
Fresh Meat Gear
Just like ice hockey or football, roller derby is a sport that can be dangerous if you aren’t wearing the right protective gear and a lot of that gear is specific to the sport. Just like you wouldn’t want to go out on a hockey rink with a pair of shin guards meant for soccer, you wouldn’t want to start roller derby with the wrong kind of knee pads (trust me, I tried). Falls are inevitable and you don’t want to be caught unprepared.
Nearly all new skaters (referred to as “Fresh Meat” or simply “Freshies”) start out with what’s called a “Fresh Meat Package”. For a single, flat, price, they can get all the required gear from helmet to skates in one kit. Rumbling Rage sells a selection of these packages, each with a different set of skates to suit the users different needs and preferences. For instance, if you have wider feet, you may prefer the Bont Prostar package – a brand known for having wider boots.
The Travel Shop
You can shop at Rumbling Rage at 274 Burton Avenue but if you can’t make it into the store, you can also shop online. If you go to watch some roller derby around southern Ontario, you have a good chance of finding Tara there with her Rumbling Rage travelling shop. Make sure to follow Rumbling Rage on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to keep up-to-date on where they might be.
If you’re interested in getting involved with roller derby you can get more information about the South Simcoe Rebel Roller’s fresh meat boot camp right here.
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