Roller derby poised to take over as Burlington’s official sport

The Green Mountain Derby Dames have certainly made a splash in the Burlington area over the last two years.  They have gone from competing for a minimal crowd in one of the smaller rooms at the Champlain Valley Expo to presenting a double-header bout in the large room.  The Black Ice Brawlers made their debut this past Saturday, skating against the Ithaca BlueStockings. Following this bout, the GMDD’s Grade A Fancy team skated against the Providence Killah Bees. Both teams skated well, but ultimately it was not GMDD’s night.

I highly encourage you to come to the next bout which looks to be a family feud on June 12th.

GMDD does a great job at mixing up the halftime shows by inviting in local teams, acts, or charities to perform or involve the crowd in activities.  We’ve had dodgeball and Zumba, but this week the Urban Dance Complex performed a hip-hip dance.

The Black Ice Brawlers returned from halftime an inspired team.  They stepped up their game skating hard and closing the gap on the scoreboard. Nice work, ladies!

With a quick intermission between bouts, GMDD’s Grade A Fancy came out for their warm-ups. It did not go unnoticed that many of the women skating in the second bout were helping make the first bout happen, and vice-versa. This stretch always impresses me; I have enough trouble doing this with street shoes on, and here’s The Silencer casually doing it with roller-skates on like it’s no big deal.

Race Vermont Half Marathon in Shelburne

This weekend, Vermont threw all sorts of weather at us.  Saturday morning I awoke to drizzle and rain, so I packed up my car with extra rain gear and headed to Shelburne to photograph the Race Vermont Half Marathon for SkiPix.com.  Rayne, the race coordinator, assured all of the volunteers that he had put in for no rain, so we should stay dry.  Well, it didn’t pour all day, but it definitely rained hard at times and I was glad to have a good rain jacket and umbrella.

Runners didn’t seem deterred at the registration table. There was steady traffic both inside when people were picking up their packets, and outside where runners were warming up.

Spirits seemed high during the pre-race pep-talk.  Apparently there were multiple events going on in Shelburne this weekend, including Lacrosse games and school open houses, all within a half mile from the Field House in Shelburne, making for a lot of extra people in the area. As usual, Rayne stressed safety over everything else encouraging runners to run without their iPods because of all the added traffic.  I would get bored, but I can see the reasoning behind the advice.

I set up shop near at Shelburne Farms, near mile marker 9 I think, just as people were exiting the grounds.  It was raining as I set up my camera and other gear, but when the first runners came through it had stopped and it looked like we were in for a few hours without precipitation.

It was interesting that some people were running past in tights, long sleeves, and some wearing gloves/hats/jackets, while others were in the bare minimum, coping with the cold, rainy, Vermont weather quite well.

As usual, there are always a few who are willing to pose creatively for the camera or at least give a friendly smile and a wave.

And then the skies opened up again, drenching runners.  This guy was running with his wife for their anniversary.  I can’t recall how many years, but I think it’s a great way to celebrate!

His wife was lucky; Vermont decided to stop raining by the time she got to me.

There are some stretches where it must be pretty lonely in the rain.

While the runners at least stay warm, if not dry, through the race, the volunteers get pretty chilly when the temperatures drop and the rain kicks up.  Race Vermont has a lot of volunteers at every race I’ve been to; the event couldn’t happen without them.  Many of the runners make a point to thank each and every volunteer they pass, which is a nice touch I think.


Even in the cold, the volunteers are cheering on competitors and generally having a good time.

As the last runners passed me, I packed up my photo gear and headed towards the finish to see if I could catch some expressions as people completed their race and were able to get out of the rain. Some people were happy, some were relieved, and others broke down in tears as they successfully finished their first half marathon.  Congratulations!

As is evident by the photo above, I wasn’t the only photographer at the event, but I bet I took the most photos!  You can see all of the Race Vermont Half Marathon Photos at SkiPix.com.

Green Mountain Derby Dames vs. Maine Calamity Janes

This past Saturday, the Green Mountain Derby Dames, Vermont’s first flat track roller derby team,  took on the Maine Calamity Janes for a spring showdown. It was a hard fought bout but the Dames emerged victorious. Another entertaining and exciting bout!  I’m already looking forward to the May 22nd.

The Dames, ready to take on the Maine Calamity Janes

The Dames, ready to take on the Maine Calamity Janes

Some people use markers, paint, or stickers; in Vermont, our huge fans cross stitch their support!

Some people use markers, paint, or stickers; in Vermont, our huge fans cross stitch their support!

Smoke her, Barbie!

Smoke her, Barbie!

Denied.

Denied.

This turned into a physical bout with a lot of strong hits.

This turned into a physical bout with a lot of hard hits and bodies on the ground.

Run Vermont Unplugged Half Marathon on the Burlington Waterfront

The Race Vermont Unplugged Half Marathon starts in Colchester, VT and mostly follows the Burlington Bike Path south to Oakledge Park.  Ending in the South End, runners are treated with views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks across the lake in New York. This year, 550 runners arrived at the start only to be greeted with flakes of snow in the air.  No problem, though; the event website clearly states that severe weather is defined as “more than 5 inches of snow, lightening…” and the race will go on.

Here are a few selected race photographs. The rest are available on SkiPix.com for purchase!

Runners and hand cyclists take off at the start of the Race Vermont Unplugged Half Marathon in Burlington, Vermont

Runners and hand cyclists take off at the start of the Race Vermont Unplugged Half Marathon in Burlington, Vermont

The first hand cyclist approaches Starr Farm Road long ahead of the other competitors

The first hand cyclist approaches Starr Farm Road long ahead of the other competitors

The first runners show up, some smiling, others focused.

The first runners show up, some smiling, others focused.

Some of the Unplugged runners are pranksters or romantics, hamming it up for the photographers along the way.

Some of the Unplugged runners are pranksters or romantics, hamming it up for the photographers along the way.

The marathon continues south along the Burlington Bike Path. With Lake Champlain to their right, runners approach Oakledge Park for a final loop before heading for the finish line.

The marathon continues south along the Burlington Bike Path. With Lake Champlain to their right, runners approach Oakledge Park for a final loop before heading for the finish line.

Some runners are still in groups, but at this point, most folks are just running their own race and show up solo.

Some runners are still in groups, but at this point, most folks are just running their own race and show up solo.

A runner on the Burlington Bike Path, alongside Lake Champlain, during the Race Vermont Unplugged Half Marathon.

A runner on the Burlington Bike Path, alongside Lake Champlain, during the Race Vermont Unplugged Half Marathon.

Some runners come with their own photographer!

Some runners come with their own photographer!

Miles later, our romantics are still in love.

Miles later, our romantics are still in love.

When the sun comes out, you almost forget that Spring mornings in Vermont can start with snow.

When the sun comes out, you almost forget that Spring mornings in Vermont can start with snow.

The Sweet Remains at Higher Ground

On February 19th, The Sweet Remains hit the big stage at Higher Ground with Naia Kete and Barefoot Truth. The Sweet Remains is a trio, usually, however they’ve played a fair number of shows backed by members of The Grift, making them a 6 piece band. If you don’t have their album, I highly recommend buying Laurel and Sunset from iTunes or from Amazon if you want the physical CD.

For those of you in the Burlington area, I just found out that The Sweet Remains is coming to the FlynnSpace on April 1st. No joke, I hope!