Featuring Ryder Wrong from Saint John Roller Derby
Pam Wheaton aka Ryder Wrong is not only a wonderful Derby player for the Portside pirates but she is also a kickass friend and a super cool entrepreneur in our fair port city.
I first met Pam a few years ago while discussing Rockabilly/ Pin-up couture at an Uptown Saint John Fashion Forward event.
Pam was actually the one who introduced me to this crazy & amazing world of Roller Derby. Before her I had only heard of it from the movie Whip-It starring Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Wiig, Sarah Habel. (If you haven’t seen it you should definitely check it out. Trailer Link). So I was intrigued that there was something like that here in Saint John. After a little coaxing from Pam I did indeed go to my first game, having no idea what to expect (especially when I was told that the photographers usually sit in the suicide seating) after that I was hooked! There are many differences from the type of Derby that our girls play from the type in the movie. The main two differences are; the Fog City Rollers play on a flat track and, while it is a full contact sport, there is nowhere near the level of violence on the track as the movie portrayed.
So I have to send a BIG THANK YOU! out to Ryder Wrong for introducing me to Derby and bringing me into its crazy world. Now without further ado….
Ryder Wrong, Luck # 13 of the Portside Pirates.
Alicia: Tell me a little but about yourself. What do you do with your time off the track?
Ryder: Well, I own my own business, Heartbreak Boutique, so that demands the majority of my time. The rest of my time is pretty much spent with my husband and step son. I do enjoy to travel when I can, and we “take the show on the road” during the summer and set up booths at various events, like derby tournaments, tattoo conventions and music festivals.
Alicia: Before Derby did you have any skating experience?
Ryder: I took figure skating lesson when I was 6 or 7 but that was it, so for all intents and purposes, no 🙂
Alicia: What drew you to roller derby? What is your favorite thing about Derby?
Ryder: Back in the early-mid 2000s there was this reality show called Rollergirls, that’s when I first got it in my head that I wanted to do it, be a derby girl….not that I ever really thought I’d have the opportunity! But then one fateful night I met Bry and Sarah, who were the ones to initially get the derby idea going in Saint John, and that was that!
My favorite thing is when the team comes together for a flawless play. When everyone is completely in tune with one another. It’s so rewarding to see the team work pay off. Derby is not about individual skills, it’s about incorporating everyone’s strengths and to communicate to become a united force. Kind of like transformers!
Alicia: What teams have you played for?
Ryder: I was a Razor Girl from the very beginning, that’s where I grew so much as a skater. I was briefly on the Shipyard Sirens, and now I am on our newly formed Portside Pirates, and I am SO excited about my team!! Good vibes and hard work is what I think of when I think of my team.
Alicia: What is your favorite position play on the track?
Ryder: I’ve played all positions at one point or another, but Pivot is probably my most common role, although this year (spoiler alert!) I am not shying away from the jammer star…at least in practice!
Alicia: How did you pick your derby name?
Ryder: By driving my husband crazy!! I would nudge him in the middle of the night for weeks, months maybe and say “what do you think about *insert random name here*” The name I settled on, Ryder Wrong, is after a Wanda Jackson (who’s the queen of rockabilly if you’re not familiar with the name) song called Right or Wrong.
Alicia: Do you have a favorite team to compete against?
Ryder: After playing derby for nearly 4 years and through the shop I have had a chance to get to know players all over Atlantic Canada, so no matter who we play it’s a treat for me because I get to see and play against people I don’t see often.
Alicia: Is there anything that you would like to say to your fans?
Ryder: Mom, Dad, thanks for coming out to my games, even though it stresses you out!
Alicia: Why should those who have never seen a bout come out to watch the Pirates play?
Ryder: I’ll be the first to admit derby can be a little confusing to a first time spectator, but it’s also very impressive! There is so much agility,stamina,coordination, strength and strategy involved, doesn’t that sound exciting?!
Alicia: You sell Derby gear at your shop; can you tell me a little bit about the different gear the girls use, and the stuff that you sell that is Derby related.
Ryder: Well required gear is: quad roller skates, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, helmet and mouth guard. I think the biggest thing right now is that most of the girls are upgrading to dual certified helmets. Something most of us didn’t know before is that a lot of helmets [don’ t have appropriate] certification which means they won’t actually protect your brain against concussions. Your brain is awful important, so it’s something I highly recommend.
Thank you so much for taking the time for some photos and for us to learn a bit more about Ryder Wrong, Lucky # 13 of the Portside Pirates.
If you have not yet had the chance to drop into Heartbreak Boutique and Skates it really is worth a visit.
They are located at 120 Germain St in Uptown Saint John. Their website is http://www.heartbreakboutique.com/
In addition to derby gear they carry Men and Women’s fashions (with a Rockabilly theme), jewellery and other accessories.