Think Outside the Rink
Unconventional fundraiser on wheels scores in Springfield, Mo.
When you think of shelter or rescue fundraisers, events like galas, community dog walks, and grooming events probably come to mind—but roller derby?
The idea emerged from a conversation between two skaters—Katie Ames and Madison Black—in the Springfield Queen City Roller Derby, a Missouri-based league with about 40 members. Ames is the manager of Castaway Animal Rescue Effort’s (CARE) Ozark adoption center.
"Each of our [roller derby] bouts, we pick a local charity, and we have raffles, we do some sort of thing for them," Ames says. "We had a bout coming up in March, and [Madison] said, 'I really wish we could do it for CARE.' She kind of had the idea, and we talked about it, and I said, 'Well, we’ve gotta make this happen.'"
Ames discussed the idea with her supervisor at CARE and Susan Venker, the shelter’s public relations coordinator, pitching it as a creative event that would benefit both organizations—garnering exposure for the league, and both funds and adoptions for CARE.
The suggestion by Ames caught Venker a little off guard. "My first reaction was a little hesitant, because I was like, 'I’ve never even heard of doing something like this before, so what if it doesn’t go well?'"
But she recognized the hearts of gold behind the wheels of steel. "I’d never really seen roller derby before, but those girls are tough, and they have no problem shoving each other around in the rink. But they also have a really big soft spot for animals, so they wanted to do the fundraiser for us," Venker says.