Fresh Meat FAQ

So you want to play roller derby?

We understand — it’s pretty awesome! The first step would be to contact one of our Fresh Meat Mistresses by emailing

What happens at recruitment?

Fresh Meat recruitment starts with a 2-day “skate skills weekend,” followed by 2 weeks of attending scheduled open skates to work on those skills.  At 2 weeks, you will be assessed by our Fresh Meat Mistresses, who will determine whether your skills meet the basic requirements of entering our Fresh Meat Program.

Our Fresh Meat Mistresses are here to make sure you learn all the skating skills you need to master for your basic skills assessment. If you’re just getting back on skates after a long hiatus, or if you’ve never been on skates, feel free to just skate around for a bit to get used to them again.

All skaters are required to wear quad roller skates (we have rentals!  See info below under “Where to Buy Roller Derby Gear”), elbow pads, wrist guards, knee pads, a helmet, and a mouthguard. If you have gear of your own, great! Bring it with you. If you don’t, you’ll need your own gear once you pass your basic skills assessment and start attending regular practices.  Protective gear and skates can be purchased at Oncore Skate and Snow at 123 W. Birch Avenue, or Flagstaff Sports Exchange.  Always feel free to ask another skater for advice!

What else should I bring to my first practice?

1.      Wear comfortable clothes you can work out in

2.      Mouthguard (available at sporting goods stores)

3.      Photo ID

4.      Paperwork (hooray!): you must fill out a skater application, waiver, and emergency contact information BEFORE you put skates on. Our recruitment coordinator will have these materials available.

5.      A positive attitude and willingness to learn

What skills do I need to learn to become a High Altitude Roller Derby girl?

Before you can play derby, you will need to master some basic roller skating skills. We’re not talking about tricks and fancy footwork; we’re talking about the basic skills that will allow you to feel comfortable on your skates, for your safety and the safety of those around you. Once you’ve filled out paperwork and have some skates on, one of our Fresh Meat Mistresses will help you learn proper form and basic skills, including: posture, stride, falls, stops, stepping, one-foot glides, crossovers, 8 on the floor, squats, lateral motion, weaving, hopping, focus, and speed/endurance.

The more comfortable you are on your skates, the better skater you will be, pure and simple.

What if I don’t pass on the first try?

You can do your assessments incrementally. If you fail some skills, keep practicing them. Feel free to ask veteran skaters for help, or to watch you and give feedback. When you can perform the skill, you may ask to be reassessed. This also goes for our advanced assessment.

What if I get hurt?

Roller derby is an aggressive contact sport and injuries are common, from bumps and bruises to torn ligaments and broken bones. HARD does not require you to have health insurance to play, but it is STRONGLY recommended.  All skaters must have supplemental USARS or WFTDA insurance (around $50-60/year) once they begin the Fresh Meat program.  Your Mistresses will fill you in on the details of these insurance requirements.

How much time will HARD take?

Skaters are required to attend 2/3rds of practices and monthly league meetings. Additionally, as a skater-owned and operated league, everyone is expected to make some contribution to the league. You should expect to spend some time each week tending to league business: meetings, promotion, events, planning, etc. We need help from ALL league members to keep things running smoothly!

How much does roller derby cost?

The biggest expense will be your equipment. You’ll need to purchase and replace skates, protective gear, and other incidentals on an ongoing basis. There is gear out there for practically any budget — we usually recommend that Fresh Meat invest in a roller derby “rookie package” offered by a lot of online vendors – it will make sure you’re adequately protected while you’re learning the game without breaking the bank. You can always invest in swankier gear later.

We collect dues to help cover the costs of practice space and running the league. Skater dues are currently $50 per skater per month.

What else do I need to know about joining HARD?

In addition to developing your skating skills, you’ll need to learn the rules of the game. HARD practices by the WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association) standards and you will be tested on WFTDA rules as part of your advanced assessment. They’re about 40 pages long, so it’s never too early to start reading:

Of course, the best (and most fun!) way to learn roller derby is to watch it. A LOT. So, come to our practices and events, either as a spectator, skater or volunteer.  This is a GREAT way to get up-close and personal with the derby life, and get to know how we roll. In addition to HARD’s scrimmages and bouts, there are a number of leagues within a few hours’ drive of Flagstaff that are worth checking out as well.

The Derby News Network video casts many national bouts. If you have good internet streaming capability, it’s worth checking them out as well.

Where to buy Roller Derby Gear:

We have rental skates!  You can rent them from us at the facility during Skate Skills Weekend, open skates, and Fresh Meat practices for $2/day.  You cannot take them outside the facility.

Flagstaff Sports Exchange
19 West Aspen Avenue
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
(928) 213-3404
If you mention you are with H.A.R.D. they may give you a break on pricing for gear.  They sell tons of knee and elbow pads, wrist guards, and helmets and occasionally you may find a skate bag and some quad skates in stock.

Oncore Skate and Snow
123 West Birch Avenue
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
(928) 774-2673
You can find everything you need here: quad skates, protective gear, mouth guards, bearings, wheels, skate tools, etc. We love these guys! Ask for Rich or Dave and let them know that you are with H.A.R.D. They have busted their butts to get merchandise in stock for our league and are the only quad skate dealer in town!

Derby Supply
Co-owner Pitchit Davis has been a major contributor to our League and offers HARD members a 10% discount.  Free shipping!
1791 W. University Drive
Tempe, AZ 85281

Wicked Skatewear

Sin City Skates (San Diego)