Eau Claire (WQOW) -- As the Chippewa Valley Roller Derby team prepares for its eighth season, they're rolling out a new name.
No one would consider the team formerly known as 'The Chippewa Valley Roller Girls' damsels in distress. That's why, this year, the group is dropping the 'Girls' from its title.
"This is more than just girls running around the track," team member Rudi "8-Bit" Barth told News 18. "These are athletes, on skates."
"As an older adult woman, I don't really feel like a girl and so to say, 'Oh yeah! Bring the girls there!' and I'm like, "Are we children?" I don't think we're children, I think we're athletes," Patricia "WenchCraft" Cleary said. "And so I think that just changing it over to 'Roller Derby' really promotes the sport, you know, instead of just like, 'Oh, you're going to see women there.' You're going to see women playing some tough derby."
But the name change isn't just for current team members; it's meant to attract all kinds of people to the track.
"Not everybody identifies as a girl on the team," Barth said. "We wanted to bring everyone in and feel like a big community. And the derby community is really a big community; not just here in the Chippewa Valley, but in the whole region."
"If dropping 'girls' makes people more, like 'Oh! I think I can try out now,' then that's what we want to do. We want to make it more inclusive for everybody," Anne "Mae Rollin Gung Ho" Flaskrud told News 18. "It doesn't matter what you were born as, or what you identify. We want to take everybody in. We love the fact that this is a sport where anybody can play."
"If you feel a women's team is the best league for you, then you can join our league," Cleary said. "It's really a place to bring a lot of people who might not think that they fit in to a given community and saying, 'This is your community.' This is for inclusivity and trying to create a safe space for a lot of different kinds of people."
Team members said men and women wouldn't play in any "official" games together. Though they are hosting a mixer tournament, with co-ed teams, in October. They said if enough new people join Chippewa Valley Roller Derby, they'll be able to form two home teams.
"I just want to see the whole league sort of lift up and bring new people in and everybody just kick butt out there," Cleary said.
Follow the link for more information about the Chippewa Valley Roller Derby team.