Renee Mazyck of Sacred City Derby Girls
Mud wrestling. Roller derby girls. Have we got your attention?
On Saturday, October 12, the baddest chicks in the Sacred City Derby Girls league will get down and dirty for their spectators' viewing pleasure—and a little cash. Turns out, it's not cheap to strap on skates and pads and bash into each other around a flat-track rink several months out of the year. “Our team holds many fundraisers throughout the season, as we are a pay-to-play sport,” explained the league's marketing director Renee Mazyck, a.k.a. “Dirty~8~Special.”
“[We] have expenses that, if it weren't for fundraising and sponsors, would come out of our very tiny pockets.” Here's how it works: Local combatants—all from area teams—grapple until one is pinned for three seconds. If it all sounds a little titillating, well, it's supposed to. But don't be fooled—these women are in it to win it. “It has become a pretty competitive event for the participants who are wanting the title and the belt—but there can only be one!” said Mazyck, who agreed to give us the dirt on mud, sexism and gnarly injuries.
As a guy, I should probably already know this, but what’s appealing about women wrestling in mud?
I was kind of hoping you would tell me! All we know is it's a crowd-pleaser to watch women wriggling around in liquidish-type substances. I'd like to think it's the brutal beauty of the mono y mono competition aspect. Alas, I really think it's the thought of someone's boob popping out of their uniform that gets the fans there.
Where did the idea come from?
Well, a bunch of brilliant minds [came] together and tried to think of events where we could draw a large crowd—which may care to partake in a cool, refreshing beverage—and the team could compete in something other than our beloved roller derby. It seemed like a good transition, and we were hoping to get those who attend to come to a bout and watch us play.
Mud seems like a natural enemy to skates, so was anyone skeptical at first?
Mud certainly is a natural enemy of skates. Thankfully, we don't wear skates while in the mud. Our competitors are excited for a chance to drop the skates and get on their knees and put their hands on their teammates. Of course, this is all in good fun, but sometimes sticking a teammate's face in the mud gives you a whole new love for them.
Does the cleanest person win?
The only clean people are in the back of the arena!
Roller derby is about subverting stereotypes by playing up to them in a tongue-in-cheek way, i.e., pinup women in short shorts beating the crap out of each other. How does this mesh with that?
I think it falls right in line with all of it. Unfortunately, women's sports still are not treated with the same respect as men's sports. Until such a time when the sports world can see women's flat-track roller derby as a serious sport, we use what we have to try and draw a crowd. [W]e are a fun-loving bunch of athletes who love what we do so much, we are willing to, as some would say, “degrade” ourselves to get attention.
What do you enjoy most about it?
I've played some type of sport throughout my life, and nothing compares to roller derby. The highly competitive aspect, the full contact, the athleticism and the camaraderie. I live, eat and breathe this sport. My family, friends and co-workers are well-versed because it is part of me.
What’s the gnarliest injury you’ve gotten?
I've had a severely dislocated finger. It was completely sideways. Got some great pictures of it. I've also had to have cortisone injections in both shoulders, and it feels like my hip needs one now. I've also lost numerous toenails—gross, I know! I have a permanent callous on the bottom of my foot, which I have to protect when I get a pedicure 'cause those ladies always want to mess with it! Technically, that's not an injury, but it's what some would consider a downside to derby.
Have you ever wrestled in mud?
My first season with the team I wrestled. It was an awesome experience. My sister, Knee High Ninja, was [in] my corner, and we wore matching face masks and I donned my high-school son's singlet. He wasn't embarrassed at all—not!
What’s the weirdest place you found mud?
I think the weirdest for me was how much can get in your ears. It just kept coming out!
Where did the “Dirty~8~Special” name come from?
I polled my friends to help come up with a name that fit my personality. I wanted something catchy and fun for the announcers to say and for the fans to hear. I wanted a name that had a gun connotation, as I am a huge fan of firearms. One of my best friends came up with Dirty~8~Special after the .38 Special. The “Dirty” part of my name fits me, and not because I don't shower. Imagination, go!