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  • Collegian staff

Skip Class, Skate Fast, Have a Blast

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

Mary Vickery

Contributing Writer

Graphic from Traveling Wheelz


A combination of Brady Bunch meets extreme balance training is hard to come by these days. Fret not, there are solutions. On March 31st and April 1st, Traveling Wheelz Pop-up Skate Rink is holding two open skate events at Salem's own Cherry City Roller Derby (aka “The Madhouse”).

For those looking for some good fun, roll out on March 31st to the 18+ free skate at “The Madhouse” from 9:00 pm-11:00 pm. For those who are either under 18 or have a strong affliction to explicit music, Cherry City Roller Derby is hosting an all-ages free skate on April 1st, from 1:00 pm- 4:00 pm. If attending the all-ages skate, don’t forget to don “backwards day” attire. Traveling Wheelz founder Erin “Killer” Wheeler-McKenzie noted that if anyone needs inspiration, think “Kris Kross.” Admission to each of the events costs $10, with quad and inline skates available to rent for $5. Skates and helmets from home are also welcome.

Rolling with wheels attached to one's feet can be nerve-wracking. Derby skater and Willamette Student Caerwyn Nelson (‘24) says that skaters “shouldn’t be afraid to wear protective gear.” In terms of technique, skaters should “bend your knees and stay low.” Nelson also emphasized the importance of not using the toe brake to stop while skating forward, as this can lead to a broken ankle. Like anything, skating can be tricky at first. “Killer” Wheeler-McKenzie strongly urges people to “Get out there and try!”

If taking part in skating isn’t interesting enough, “The Madhouse” is also home to the Cherry City Roller Derby team (CCRD). Unlike in the 2009 sports dramedy “Whip it,” the CCRD competes in flat (as opposed to banked) track derby. Cherry City players skate on an oval flat track, hitting each other with their bodies to get through the pack of opposing players and score points. Game day atmosphere was described by Caerwyn Nelson as being “loud…with a lot of fun hits.” The next opportunity to go see the team is a three-day tournament beginning on April 14th.

Information about the open skates by Traveling Wheelz can be found at cherrycityrollerderby.com/events.

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