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El Paso Roller Derby’s fierce sport brings a community together

Joel Molina
The El Paso Roller Derby comes together to pose for a photo.

Though stress from a sport outweighs the enjoyment, players of the El Paso Roller Derby Team (EPRD) let the good times roll. Although the sport is fierce, players have found a family within the team. One of the redeeming qualities of the EPRD family is its welcoming inclusivity.   

A sport that concurrently has men, women and nonbinary people is sometimes not easily found. Here to challenge the standards, the roller derby team has been active since 2010, initially starting as an all-women team. EPRD expanded the range of players in 2023, to include those who wanted to be a part of the skating family.  

No matter if people have been skating for decades, or just recently picked up a pair of skates, the EPRD allows people of any skill level to participate. Through a 12-week training program, coaches train players for extreme physical conditions as well as teach the rules of competitive roller derby.  

Priscilla Najera, known as ‘Pepper Spra Yo Face’ is assistant coach to the Pistol WhipHers as well as a part of the advanced team, Tex Pistols. Balancing both her real estate business and being a part of EPRD since 2010, Najera mentions how the team encourages growth.   

“Training is really how hard you yourself want to take it,” Najera said. “How much you want to grow yourself, not only for your team but for yourself. Every year somebody does something amazing that you are like ‘I want to try that now.’”  

Through the team’s ability to encourage each other, it has allowed many of the players to grow confident in themselves. The philosophy of the EPRD is to “enhance personal self-growth and a positive self-image” which proves to be the attitude for many players.   

Yasmin Pinon, known as “Yassmean” on the field, says she was timid before joining the EPRD. Since joining in 2019, she states being a part of the EPRD allowed her to advocate more for herself and for the LGBTQIA+ community.  

“I am very shy, (EPRD) helped me get out of that shyness,” Pinon said. “It helped me get out of my little shell.”  

“El Paso and our culture are very ‘hush hush’ about queerness. Here, everyone is welcome, and it’s embraced. I had an issue two years ago where a coworker was saying stuff about gays, and I had to stand up because they don’t know better,” Pinon said. “It hurt me because my awareness grew from being here. On my own, I would have not been as open-minded, so it hurt because everyone here is valid.”  

The team members say bonds between the players are cultivated quickly. Rosalinda Horstman, known as ‘Tay Tay the Terrible’ on the field, joined EPRD last year. While she has been a recent addition to the team, she has already created a strong bond with them.  

“Last year in July, I picked up my roller skates after 18 years of not wearing them,” Horstman said. “Handling an intensive job as a facilities director at a local hospital, Horstman talks about how her life revolved around her job at one point, which was draining her.”

“My derby is my way of relieving some stress,” Horstman said. “(I would be) at work until 9 at night when I really don’t have to be.”  

Horstman is one of the older players in the EPRD and before joining, she had a fear of growing old without accomplishing her goals due to age.  

“I’m more scared now to not do the things that I want to do,” Horstman said. “In the end I’m 46 years old, and I could say, ‘Hey I did that.’” 

Many players join the EPRD as a stress reliever but gain much more out of it. To some, the ‘derby community’ is one of acceptance and growth. Members who are a part of ERPD say they are more than a team; they are a family. 

The team anticipates their next roller derby game Sept. 23 and proves good things come to those who skate. 

Sofia Sierra is a contributor and may be reached at [email protected] 

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About the Contributors
Sofia Sierra
Sofia Sierra, Web/Copy Editor
Sofia is a junior studying multimedia journalism with a minor in creative writing. She is the web and copy editor at The Prospector. After graduation, she hopes to work outside of El Paso to continue to grow as a writer.
Joel Molina
Joel Molina, Photo Editor
Joel is a graduate creative writing student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is the photo editor who began his career at The Prospector in 2022. He hopes to continue providing the world and its people with different forms of storytelling that will hopefully make their day to day lives better.
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