By day, Teryn Mendenhall is a dental hygienist and photography student at the University of Utah. By night, she is Skatey Gaga, captain of the Midnight Terror roller-derby team.
Midnight Terror, from Wasatch Roller Derby, is looking to become the first team to advance to the Western Regionals. Skatey Gaga and company will travel to California to take on Silicon Valley and Santa Cruz on Saturday and Sunday. If Midnight Terror comes out on top, it would likely gain a high enough ranking to qualify for regionals.
"Our goal has always been to make it to regionals, but at the beginning of the season, it seemed to be out of our reach," Mendenhall said. "We've risen up against teams that were supposed to beat us and we have a chance."
Qualifying a team for regionals would be a big deal for Wasatch Roller Derby, considering its humble beginnings. The league was founded by Lacie Peterson, aka Honey Delunatic, and Brandi Olsen, aka Medusa Damage, in November 2008.
In its infancy, Wasatch Roller Derby did not have a permanent home. The league practiced at places like Hollywood Connection in West Valley or at the Magna Recreation Center, anywhere that would take the skaters. The teams and players now have the Derby Depot on Salt Lake City's west side to call home.
Peterson and Olsen are now bringing the reality of the league in line with their original vision.
"For adult women, there aren't many options when it comes to playing sports. We wanted to create a place where women could come to compete and make friends," Peterson said. "It also give women an avenue for exercise, and it's all for charity."
The league charges admission for all of its home games. That money then gets donated to various charities throughout the valley. Wasatch Roller Derby has donated to the likes of the March of Dimes, Huntsman Cancer Institute and Primary Children's Hospital.
Nobody involved in the league makes money. The women who play have day jobs and families, and they have to pay for their derby-related expenses. And yet, they have no problem handing over the league's earnings to those who they feel need it.
Seeing their charity as weakness would be a mistake. On the skating rink, these women have a fierce desire to win. If Midnight Terror makes it to regionals, a whole lot more people will know about it.
"Roller derby is extremely challenging," Mendenhall said. "For adult women, nothing matches its competitiveness."
Hard-hitting skating for a good cause
The Midnight Terror roller derby team is looking to become the first team from Wasatch Roller Derby to qualify for the Western Regionals.
The Wasatch Roller Derby league donates its earnings to various charities.
Those interested in sponsoring or joining the league can visit http://www.wasatchrollerderby.com.