Roller derby team skates through St. Charles Parish on 2,800-mile trek

A roller derby team from Colorado skated through Louisiana this month as part of their 2,800 mile coast-to-coast, cross-country cause.

The Ark Valley High Rollers are raising money and awareness to fight domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse in conjunction with the Joyful Heart Foundation and the NO MORE campaign.

Starting in Cocoa Beach, Fla. on March 5, the roller skaters began travelling approximately 40 miles a day pushing their on-road belongings in baby strollers.  The group plans to roll westward across eight states in 78 days to reach their destination of Santa Monica, Calif.

And they’re getting a lot of support along the way Teams in the states that are part of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association have rallied to help their sisters in skates. After skating for nearly two weeks and 800 miles, the High Rollers made it  to Louisiana and were hosted by select members of  three of the New Orleans Roller Derby teams, The Cajun Rollergirls, Big Easy Rollergirls and a men’s team, The New Orleans Brass.

The New Orleans Roller Derby ladies laced up their own skates and joined their Colorado counterparts for 50 miles starting in the French Quarter and traveling all the way to Raceland.

Teresa O’Neil, a Cajun Rollergirl known by her derby name “Star-Ree Eyed Surprize,”   said she gained a new outlook on life, herself and even a new discipline to her sport after spending the day with these cross-country foot wheelers.

“Just doing that tiny little bit of such a larger effort by these women I never knew it could affect me like it did,” O’Neil said, getting a little choked up as she spoke. “It was very emotional and motivational watching these skaters from Colorado achieving their goal with such extreme determined focus; it was truly something to see.”

Rolling into St. Charles Parish they had a bit of a mishap in the form of a broken truck plate, the piece of metal that actually holds the wheel to the sole of the boot.

But with a little help from the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office in the form of a ride to the True Value hardware store, and the invaluable  “on the fly help” of Mr. Lynn,  the ladies were back on the road in no time.

When they got as far as Des Allemands, lunch was already waiting for them at Judd’s daiquiri shop.

“They were waiting for us when we arrived with pizza and lots of cold drinks,” O’Neil said.

O’Neil said she thought about the fact that these women had already come practically a thousand miles before they even started this days trek. So when she got tired- she didn’t dare complain.

“I realized if I could do this, I could do anything,” she said. “It’s actually encouraged me to change some things in my life. I’m not going to complain as much, and if I do I’m going to think of them and their sacrifice.”

“I’m going to do more levee skates and jump up from 15 mile work outs to 30 mile work outs.”

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