My Other Life: Rhonda Kibuk, roller derby team member

Rhonda Kibuk, salon owner. In her other life: roller derby team member.

<p>The Metal Hellions</p>

“It’s a good way to get rid of frustration, it’s a great way to keep in shape, and you can totally knock a gal on her behind and it’s allowed,” says Rhonda Kibuk, [back row on left] a nail tech who gets out her aggressions as a member of the roller derby team, The Metal Hellions. Her team is one of four in Pittsburgh’s women’s roller derby league. (The other teams are The Bitch Doctors, The Slumber Party Slashers, and The Wrecking Dolls.)

Kibuk, the owner of The Purple Pinkie in Ford City, Pa., spends four to six hours a week on skates training for her role as “pivot.” The pivot, she explains, is the pace-setter for the pack and the last line of defense. “My job is to speed up the pack to make it harder for the other team’s jammer to get through or slow it down to assist my jammer.”

Her professional name, Fonda Bruises, points to the physical nature of the sport. “It is full contact,” she says. “We are trained in shoulder checking, hip checking, and J hooking (which knocks your opponent off balance). I, personally, like to come in for a shoulder check and then hit them with a hard hip check at the end.”

Despite the roughness, Kibuk’s injuries have been minimal. “The worst injuries I’ve had were a large bruise on my thigh and a pulled hamstring,” she reports. “One of the first things you learn is how to fall safely.”

“Pittsburgh has really embraced us,” says Kibuk. Her salon clients are equally supportive. “They love it! They come to the bouts and make signs and cheer just like the rest of the fans.”  

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