Published on May 29th, 2013 | by DerbyLife0
Aftermath and Hollyween by Snapping Dragon3
Derby Friendship in the Wild West
Long-Time Best Friends Bring Derby – and its Rowdy Fun – Back to the Wild West
By Hilary Dartt
A pair of best friends with a long history is using roller derby to bring a healthy dose of fast-paced, rowdy fun back to a bona fide Wild West town that, in its heyday, thrived on fast-paced, rowdy fun.
The location: present-day Prescott, Arizona, which sits atop several “Top 10 Places to Retire” lists (a dubious honor, from the derby perspective).
The pair: Adrienne Carey and Gabrielle De Leone, also known as Holly Ween and AfterMath, respectively.
The (hi)story: Holly Ween and AfterMath, co-coaches on Prescott’s Whiskey Row-llers derby team, go way back. About twenty years ago, AfterMath was catcher to Holly Ween’s pitcher on their high school softball team. The secret handshake they used then is now visible on the track as together, they build a team where friendship and athleticism flourish.
“We are like sisters,” Holly Ween said, adding that the two have best friend tattoos, necklaces and trinkets. AfterMath added, “I think to say we are ‘best friends’ is an understatement. I think we were meant to be sisters.”
From being together when Holly Ween got her first ticket (for drag racing her car, the Cold Cut) to playing pitcher and catcher together, and later coaching softball together, the friendship between Holly Ween and AfterMath has included more than its fair share of adventures.
The newest adventure: cultivating a strong derby team and a derby-friendly environment in which to play. When Holly Ween founded Northern Arizona Roller Derby and the Whiskey Row-llers in 2008, she had to convince AfterMath to join the team. She knew just which buttons to push: she asked three times. Since then, they’ve forged a path together to bring derby to their hometown.
Between 1863 and 1867, Prescott was the territorial capital of Arizona, and its Whiskey Row – a street lined with bars and clubs and a secret underground system of tunnels during prohibition – is infamous for its history as the place to have a good time.
Now, though, Prescott is a different place all together – and when the Whiskey Row-llers hit the scent in 2008, the locals weren’t as receptive to the sport as the players would have liked.
“We had to change our image,” AfterMath said during a recent interview. “We used to have that saloon look, with skirts and fishnets.”
As is customary during their conversations, Holly Ween added, “Roller derby shifted with us. It’s more athletic, we have more athletic uniforms. I tell my players, ‘Do not cut your shirts, or I will cut you.'”
Slowly, thanks to numerous community appearances (some which include handing out cupcakes), attendance has started to increase and the community’s perception seems to be changing.
“Especially after they see us play,” AfterMath said. “They always say, ‘That isn’t what I thought it was.'”
The Whiskey Row-llers have come a long way since the team’s inception. Holly Ween and AfterMath credit that not only to a group of great women but also to their friendship.
“Weenie is so passionate about what she does that she can come off as a flaming bitch. She just cares about this so much, there’s no other way to express it,” AfterMath said.
Fortunately, AfterMath is there to reign her in, communicate with the other team members, and play relaxing music (which she said, Holly Ween thinks is nerdy).
Although, the girls said, their similarities have kept them together over time, their differences have created the perfect balance. AfterMath said Holly holds her grudges for her, and is always on the go. AfterMath is more laid back, needs more sleep, and loves 90s hip hop and boy bands.
“The most important thing, though,” AfterMath said, “is that I always know she is in my corner. Good or bad, right or wrong, she’ll be there no matter what. And, I would do the same for her.”
Latest posts by DerbyLife (see all)
- WFTDA Division 2 Playoff, Des Moines: Photo Highlights - August 19, 2013
- You’re Doing Better Than You Know - July 29, 2013
- DerbyLife Survey: Help us out! - June 24, 2013