580 RollerGirls to host last home game of the season

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 10:59 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - You might not know, but the 580 RollerGirls, Lawton’s very first women’s flat track roller derby league, have been around since 2010, and they’re gearing up for their last home game of the season.

The league was championed by three Lawton women who sought to create something new and exciting that could also give back to the community.

One of those women is Christi Chambers, who, at the time, had been traveling back and forth to Oklahoma City to skate. She said she immediately called once she saw flyers floating around Lawton seeking people to help create a derby league here in town.

“There were these two army wives that got together, and they were just like, ‘We should start roller derby,’” said Chambers. “They had never done it before, and so I had reached out to them, it was Emily and Kelly, and was like, ‘Hey, I hear you guys want to try to do Roller Derby in Lawton?’ and they were like, ‘yeah,’ so I said I skate and I would like to be able to skate in my hometown and not have to drive back and forth to Oklahoma City to skate.”

From there, the three women worked to hold their very first audition slot, which saw a good turnout of around twenty women, despite being at a skating rink in a small town east of Duncan.

While the organization’s main goal was to create a local group for the sport, giving back to the Lawton community is something they pride themselves on. Since its inception, the 580 RollerGirls have held a food drive for each game to benefit a local non-profit organization within Lawton, and they continue to do so to this day.

“The Lawton community needs to understand, all of these things we are doing is for, yes, an entertainment factor, but they’re matched up with a non-profit that we’re trying to support,” Chambers said. “So, it’s more than just us out there playing a sport; it’s us out there being altruistic, playing our sport, and supporting our community.”

“It doesn’t just help you; it helps everyone around you,” said Katherine Knighton, a current member of the 580 RollerGirls. “We’ve done everything from food drives - if someone needs help with a car wash, we do that as well. We clean up on the highways, and it’s just great for us and the community to just be able to come together.”

They’re also all about teaching, so if you’ve ever thought about joining the organization but have never skated before, they’ll teach you from the ground up.

“I started from ground zero,” Knighton said. “I was lucky to even stay in one space, and these girls are great at teaching you. They will take the time to even hold your hand if that’s what you need.”

“I will tell you that this team is one that will stick it out through thick and thin,” said Marie Pihulic, Co-Captain of the 580 RollerGirls. “We are a big military town, so obviously there’s a lot of turnovers, and we see that even in our teams, but what’s great is that we also see skaters who came from another derby team, a different installation, who come here, and they instantly have a family.”

If you didn’t get a chance to make it out to the first home game, this will be your last chance before the end of the season.

After Saturday’s game against Alamo City, the 580 RollerGirls will be on the road for the remainder of their schedule.

Tickets can be bought either online on the day of the game or at the door of the Great Plains Coliseum on Saturday, May 27.

The doors open at 5 p.m., and the game begins at 6 p.m. Ticket prices vary from $8 to $15.

For more information, you can visit their website here.