There was once a time when smoke breaks and lobbing beer cans were commonplace. Ten years of Roller Derby in Sioux Falls has matured both athletes and fans.

From a sporting aspect, the Sioux Falls Roller Dollz have elbowed nicely into their own place among sports offerings in the city. Julia Wild who has been on track for nine of the ten years is proof of the change.

“Now it’s become such a sport. So much of practice is strategy-based. It’s not just turn left and hit hard. Even our fans have matured. They appreciate the subtleties of the strategy versus girls in fish nets hitting things.”

More than just a sport, Wild says the social aspects helps broaden the vision of the adults who participate and the juniors waiting in the wings.

“As adults we feel like the ‘Island of Misfit Toys. We’re probably not like every other athlete you meet. We attract those kids that get picked on at school.”

Wild knows that she is making an impact far beyond the track. “It’s great to (tell someone) ‘This is a place you belong. You have value. We’re going to work together and do something.’ At practice we get tons of hugs.”

The season opener is at the Sioux Falls Arena Saturday night 7:00 PM against the Sioux City Roller Dames. As a 501c3 non-profit organization, the proceeds from Sioux Falls Roller Dollz bouts raise money for local Sioux Empire charities.