With skulls on their shirts, paint on their faces and protective gear on their elbows, knees, wrists and heads, the Madams of Mayhem enter the roller derby ready for battle.
Over the course of about an hour, the women will skate around the track with some pushing, blocking and falling as part of the mix. Simply put, the object is for a player called the jammer to lap opposing team members, while other players attempt to prevent them from doing so.
Though the intimidation factor is high, the Madams of Mayhem say they are just ordinary women looking for an outlet.
Formed in 2016 after breaking off from another team, the Madams of Mayhem began with three members and has grown to over 30 while still welcoming more.
The team comprises women from all walks of life: nurses, teachers and welders, who range in age from 18 to 52.
“We have girls that are different,” team captain Amber Dillard said. “Everyone wants to find their wild side, we want them to be able to use roller derby as their outlet.”
Dillard began roller derby nine years ago while going through a divorce and moving around.
“Whenever I joined nine years ago, I had a big change in my life,” Dillard said. “It was an outlet for me, somewhere I could go every day and escape.”
Dillard said the women let their competitive natures come out when they are on the track, but afterward the teams leave it aside, hang out and discuss their bout.
She said the team's bond is stronger than ever and that includes their families.
“We have a great group,” Dillard said. “These girls become family. We help each other a lot. You develop a bond with everyone. The roller derby community is amazing.”
For their first competitive season, the Madams of Mayhem will call the Flores Center on Farm-to-Market Road 14 home. The team plans to donate the proceeds from each of its bouts this season to a local charity.
The team also takes part in local charity events such as donating to the Women’s Center of East Texas in Longview and helping out the Longview Police Department with the Blue Santa program.
On April 7, the team plans to participate in Mudbugs and Music in Longview, an event benefiting The Arc of Gregg County.
Dillard said it has been a dream come true to see the team grow to where it is today, and she hopes the team and sport continue to give women an outlet like she was given.
“Its kind of overwhelming, this has been a dream of mine,” she said. “It warms my heart to know that because we started right at two years ago and we have achieved our goal where we want to be. Just to know people see us and know we are doing something.”