Rally race to roller skates
AT THE Morning Bulletin, photographer Allan Reinikka has the nickname of "Rally Car", due to his passion for driving his race vehicle at speed down forestry tracks around the state.
Tonight, however, the bold Reinikka has a change of wheel size and of name, as he steps out as a referee at Rockhampton's first live roller derby bout, a venture that makes rallying seem rather relaxing.
Reinikka, sorry Weird Al sk8abitch, dons the roller skates for the unenviable task of ensuring two groups of women, with the sole aim of smashing anybody who is not a part of their team, abide by the rules of the sport.
Tonight Weird Al steps on to the unforgiving surface of the YWCA to exert his considerable authority as a jammer referee as the battle rages, hopefully, around him.
Those who have seen television and film clips of roller derby might be a little surprised to find out the bout will be conducted to a set of rules and Weird Al will enforce these rules each time a jam is in progress.
"There are two jammer referees and we follow them (team jammers) around," he said.
While participants get the chance to change players and get a breather, there is no such luxury for the referees, who must skate with the group throughout.
The rules Weird Al will enforce are to ensure a jam is carried out correctly.
"They can't use elbows, fists or heads and they can't push," he said. "Legal blocking is done from the knee to the shoulder, but not in the back.
"We will be going flat out with the play.
"A jam lasts for a maximum of two minutes, with a 30-second break."
While Weird Al is an experienced skater, many of the women will be going out for their first bout.
"This will be a bit of a learning curve for all of us," Weird Al said.
Those attending the showdown tonight between The Black Eyed Betties and the Bare Knuckle Knock Outs will note six referees. Apart from the two jammer refs, there are also three pack and one head referee.
While six match officials might sound excessive, there will be a total of 10 ferocious women circling the track at speed - two pivots, six blockers and two jammers - sporting names like KK RuffnStuff, Madame Beserk and Eve of Xtinction in the Bare Knuckle Knock Outs and Ja Sin_ta Gr8r, Shredda and Lee Sassinator in the Black Eyed Betties and that suggests the officials could have their work cut out.
Weird Al said tonight's show should last about two hours and spectators will be treated to thrills and spills.
"There will be bitches with stitches," he predicted.
Bare Knuckle Knock Outs Theme Bikers/ Greasers
Rink Bitz (captain), KK RuffnStuff, Nae Palm, Candy Contusion, Squeek Harlequin, Blackout Menace, Madame Beserk, Eve of Xtinction, The Unleasher, Compact Risk, Distraceful.
Black Eyed Betties Theme School Girl
Lil Miss Lucifer (captain), Mandy Moo, Ja Sin_ta Gra8r, Apocalyptic Genocide, Anna Key, Shredda, Duncan Manuts, Slay'er Swift, Bettie Bounce, Downunder Dozer, Lee Sassinator, Warehead Wenborn