With a shelf full of skates and boxes of parts, Chris Burkard’s garage looks more like a repair shop at Skate West than a place to park cars.
“I’ve been in-line skating for years,” says Burkard. “But I picked up quad-skating just in the past 10 years.”
The transition to quad skates led Burkard to become a Skate West regular on Wednesday evenings, where he developed friendships with several skaters as well as the Muse family, who own the rink. Brothers Dante, Tony and Mark Muse all own a share of world championship titles in speed skating and still carry a bit of speed.
Between the friends, talk began about forming a men’s Roller Derby team, which all came together three years ago.
“We spent the first year fighting to get into the Men’s Roller Derby Association so we could go to the National Championships,” says Burkard. “We finally did, and in the second year went in ranked seventh.”
Coached by Mark Muse, in their third year, 2012, the team “Your Mom” saw plenty of success and entered the October MRDA National tournament ranked No. 1.
“That definitely helped,” says Burkard. “Our seeding was better; it just put us in a better position going into the tournament. Having the speed of the Muse brothers (Dante and Tony) helps, too.”
In the end, they found themselves up against No. 2 ranked St. Louis in the championship game.
“It was an instant classic,” says Burkard. “We won the Championship by one point in the very last bout with the last jam.”
While men’s roller derby has not enjoyed the popularity seen in women’s roller derby, it is gaining momentum.
“It’s a growing sport,” says Burkard. “We’ve got about 20 guys on the team. That fluctuates over the season, but overall, I’d say we’re growing.”
As mentioned on the sports associations website, www.derbynewsnetwork.com, “The young sport of modern roller derby is still very much a work in progress.”
With the success of Your Mom, and the power of the Muse family behind it, Burkard expects to see the sport of men’s roller derby grow in Des Moines, and with it the boxes of skates and parts in his Waukee garage.Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or firstname.lastname@example.org to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”