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Inside the thrilling world of roller derby with all-star skater Gigi!

10 Jun, 2016 | Savings Stories

Throughout the month of June, we’re featuring Qapital customers using health and fitness Rules to help them save. This week, we’re featuring derby girl Gigi Owen from Tucson, AZ. She tells us how she got into this offbeat, fast paced, highly athletic, and strategic game!

Tucson Roller Derby - Pixie Axe
Gigi ‘Pixie Axe’ Owen, center. Photo: Derby With Recess

Gigi Owen’s toughness runs deep in both her professional life and hobbies. By day, she’s working on her PhD in Geography, specializing in how climate change will affect people’s access to food, water, and energy in Tucson. She spends her evenings and weekends playing bass in a metal band called Scar Eater and skates with the nickname “Pixie Axe” in the Tucson Roller Derby league for the Copper Queens.

I started roller derby almost 9 years ago now,” she says. She first tried out for the team in 2007 and has been playing ever since!

This ain’t your mama’s roller derby

Tucson Roller Derby is part of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), an international organization of roller derby teams that organizes and ranks squads all around the world. It’s a contact sport featuring (almost exclusively) all-female amateur teams.

“I am the captain of our league’s all-star travel team, The SaddleTramps,” says Gigi. “We compete at national/international competitions against other teams that are part of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association.”

Out of 369 member leagues in WFTDA, The SaddleTramps are ranked #50 and are hoping to compete in the playoffs this coming August.

A typical roller derby match has two 30 minute periods, that are broken up into jams. Each jam can go for up to two minutes. To stay in shape for their matches, Gigi says she keeps a pretty tight workout schedule.

Pixie Axe - Tucson Roller Derby
Gigi ‘Pixie Axe’ Owen, center. Photo: Jennifer Ramos

“We train on-skates about 3-4 times a week. We have different footwork and agility drills, endurance drills, and strategy drills,” she says. “We also have a weekly scrimmage every Sunday mornings. In addition to that, we encourage skaters to do off-skates cross-training, like running, biking, weight-lifting, etc.”

Gigi says she also walks most places in her day-to-day life instead of driving, which contributes to her overall fitness. She uses the Qapital’s “Steps Rule” with Apple Health to save toward her Goals and recently saved for a new bass guitar.

“Every time I hit 5000 steps I save $5 towards the bass,” she says. “I chose that one because I don’t have to do anything significantly different from my daily routine to save money.”

This derby girl says that although she works out a lot more, “Currently I don’t have those activities tied to my Qapital goals. Perhaps I should!”

Perhaps what makes roller derby so thrilling is the community of it and the powerful way it transforms players’ lives.

“I’ve seen so many women come to derby and see a positive change elsewhere in their lives,” says Gigi. “It gives people the confidence to take actions that they might not have otherwise – changes in relationships, jobs, living situations, standing up for themselves. Our organization is all very DIY, so we learn several other skills besides skating.”

For more information about local roller derby teams and matches in your area, check out the WFTDA website. Learn more about how you can use Apple Health Rules to help you save money in Qapital with this blog post

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