As an affiliate of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, the Randall County Roller Dames challenge a lineup of regional rivals to fast-paced bouts of derby, eliciting cheers from an adoring flock of fans. The athletes sport helmets, skates, and tough nicknames based on obscure Cockney rhyming slang as they race around a circuit, elbowing and knocking away enemy skaters in a dizzying display of skill and teamwork. The Roller Dames exhibit a lasting loyalty to their home turf, not only through a series of six exhilarating home bouts, but also through yearly charity benefits for nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity and Make-A-Wish Foundation.
YMCA of Amarillo has opened its doors to peoples of all faiths, races, income levels, and abilities since 1937. Today staffers continue to uphold the YMCA’s core values of honesty, acceptance, and fairness as they ensure each location is a safe place for members to play, exercise, and strengthen family bonds weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly. Adults can take aquatic, boot-camp, and Zumba classes or workout within fitness centers filled with cardio and strength-training equipment. Kids, meanwhile, can join in on youth basketball and soccer matches or stimulate their imagination, mental development, and growth in afterschool programs, homework-assistance sessions, and art classes. To help guests of all ages get in touch with their creative sides, local artists host writing groups, dance courses, and photography classes.
YMCA of Amarillo emphasizes the importance of cultural enrichment in their community as well—they partner with such community-based organizations as Boy Scouts of America, Lone Star Ballet, and Amarillo Opera. They also further strengthen the community by offering much-needed funding to children and families who cannot afford the full cost of any of these progressive programs.
A lone announcer stands in the center of the ring, preparing to call the night’s first challenger from the alliance’s roster of wrestlers. As his voice booms, the house lights drop. Pulsating intro music builds until it ricochets off the rafters and through the crowd. After the wrestlers wade past fans, they clamber into the ring, rile up the masses, stare each other down, and accuse one another of looking like an australopithecus. Then the match begins, and body slams, piledrivers, and high-flying leg drops descend onto the mat in a program that includes several matches and a main event.