Rolling and growing in OC

Surf City-based Orange County Roller Girls league has a new facility in Santa Ana, though the fundraising is still ongoing.

March 21, 2012|By Heather Youmans
  • Orange County Roller Girls league members, from left, Suzy Moharos, Tarina Smith and Timettra Wellington skate in circles during an Orange County Roller Girls skills and endurance exercise.
Orange County Roller Girls league members, from left,… (KEVIN CHANG, HB…)

The resurgence of roller derby occurred nearly eight years ago, but the sport and the Orange County Roller Girls league is still growing.

Since its inception in 2006, the Roller Girls dreamed of finding a track they could call home. Now, the Huntington Beach-based nonprofit's dream has become a reality. The league is leasing a new building in Santa Ana that will house their new banked track.

The Roller Girls recently signed a lease for a building at South Main Street and St. Andrew Place that will accommodate their track, the OC Roller Skates retail store and the league's administrative offices — in essence, a hub for all things Roller Girls.

Organizers say the building will not only facilitate physical growth for the league's programs, but will carry on the mission in serving to empower the lives of women through building self-esteem as a platform for achievement.

"We've been searching for a permanent home for probably three or four years, but this has been hot on our radar for about one year now," said Deborah Labriola-Monterrosa (a.k.a. "Dirty Deborah Harry"), who runs the league's OC Roller Skates retail shop and skates for the Roller Girls' team Blockwork Orange.


"We built the track when we thought we had a home for it, and then that home fell through," she added. "So then last July we really had to push. For us to find our building, think about how hard it is for real estate in Orange County. We've really been negotiating since last July."

The Roller Girls practice in Huntington Beach at The Rinks, formerly called Coast to Coast, where they hold their "flat track bouts," or games, on the second Saturday of each month. Before getting the lease, the organization used a banked track located in a warehouse next door to The Rinks.

"The hockey people at The Rinks in Huntington Beach have been awesome to us," Labriola-Monterrosa said. "But we are still not their No. 1 priority; hockey is their No. 1 priority. So we made it our mission last year to find ourselves a home so we could be the No. 1 priority, so that we could never be left homeless."

Now, with a full 2012 schedule slated — including banked and flat-track games with local and regional competitors coming in to challenge — the Roller Girls can now host their own banked track games in Santa Ana.

"We've done this all on our own," Labriola-Monterrosa said. "There's not necessarily a big sponsor out there right now that says, 'Ladies, I'd love to bankroll a woman's sport.'"

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