The first whistle will blow today for the 2013 Honky Tonk Stomp, a Tennessee State Roller Derby Tournament at the Appalachian Fairgrounds.
The tournament will bring in about 10 roller derby teams, including Johnson City’s Little City Roller Girls and other teams from across the state to compete against each other for two days.
Jen Larsen, also known as The Jenerator and president of LCRG, said the team is looking forward to hosting the seventh-annual State Championship, titled the Honky Tonk Stomp.
“We couldn’t be more excited,” Larsen said. “The other major cities have hosted before and we have been patiently waiting our turn as the new kids on the block. Little City has been around for five years, so we have been just waiting our turn and we are really excited. It’s a huge deal for us to have everybody from across the state coming here.”
The LCRG have participated for four years in the state tournament, and Larsen said the LCRG have been preparing 2013 event details for about a year.
“We’ve been working a good year on this,” Larsen said. “The past few months we’ve just been working really hard to get everything set up. We have doubleheaders all the time but this is nine bouts in two days. It’s a big deal.”
The Little City Roller Girls have also been preparing to secure the state tournament trophy this year, Larsen said.
“We are all playing three games in one day,” Larsen said. “Everyone’s been training really hard, staying healthy and hydrating this week. We really want to show new fans what a great sport this is and why it’s the fasted growing women’s sport in the world right now.”
Teams from Memphis, Chattanooga and Knoxville will battle against the LCRG today, which includes a total of six bouts from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. for the official Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Tournament.
After the tournament, the public will have a chance to meet all the teams at the hotel after party at Rainbow Asian Cuisine near the official 2013 Honky Tonk Stomp hotel — Best Western on North Roan Street.
On Sunday, three non-sanctioned bouts will take place, with the first bout at 10 a.m. featuring the Little City Junior Roller Girls.
Food vendors, a face-painting booth and other derby-related vendors will be on site at the fairgrounds during the tournament.
Larsen said she hopes new LCRG fans surface from hosting the state tournament.
“We think we have done a great job organizing it and we take a lot of pride in being good hosts,” Larsen said. “We have our regular fans, but we’re really hoping to get new fans.”
Everyone who decides to watch a bout this weekend for the first time, Larsen said, is likely to get hooked.
“They are going to see a really competitive, rules-oriented game that’s not the fishnets and glitter from the ’70s roller derby,” Larsen said. “We have four teams that want first place and they want it badly. In this game, you have to play smart and it’s a very physical game.”
At the door, a weekend pass costs $20 and individual day passes are $12. Groups of 10 or more may also be eligible to receive a discount.
For more information, visit littlecityrollergirls.com.