This Oregon All-Star Roller Derby Team starter is no stranger to end-of-year all-star lists. Mel Mangles was a regular on the Northwest Roller Derby All-Star Team before most people had even heard of derby being played on the flat track. My first experience with Mel was when the Rose City Rollers’ travel team Wheels of Justice came down to scrimmage the Emerald City Roller Girls, and I happened to be a penalty-box timer. I couldn’t miss the loud skater, who kept leaving the jammers on the ground.
This season, I had many opportunities to watch Mel skate for the Wheels of Justice. She is a natural director on the track guiding the tight WoJ walls. She is the one knocking the opposing jammers out and bringing’em to the back of the pack. Her awareness is uncanny. One jammer on the Oregon All-Star Roller Derby Team told me candidly, “Mel Mangles is simply terrifying.”
“The best part of 2012 was my preseason,” Mel Mangles said. “The best part of 2012 was going Down Under and training leagues from New Zealand and Australia. My second family in roller derby, the Maui Roller Girls hosted me for a week. I also got to train juniors in Florida! When I got back from two-and-a-half months of traveling, I was more determined than ever not to let all those people, who I just trained, see me suck at roller derby. I wanted to make them proud. I wanted to skate the best., and I did in 2012.”
“In 2013, I am looking forward to skating better than I did in 2012,” Mel told me. “I can’t wait to see some of my friends from Australia come play in the USA. I am also super excited that my first love in derby, the Rainy City Roller Dolls, will be competing in their first season as full WFTDA members!”
Mel added: “I’ve followed the Northwest Roller Derby All-Stars since it was on MySpace.”
“I also want to give a huge shout out to Rocket Mean. The Rose City Rollers, WFTDA, and the Wheels of Justice are forever indebted to Mean for her endless dedication to making the business of roller derby work. Unfortunately, there are no all-star admin rosters. Hint hint.”
What others had to say about Mel Mangles:
“Mangles is such an awesome force on the track, but that is matched by her amazing presence on the bench too. She can do it all while making it look like the easiest thing in the world. That’s the Mangles effect.” – Thurston Gore
“Clearly amazing. On the track, Mel Mangles is a jammer killing machine frontwards or backwards, beating skinny bitches with speed and footwork. Off the track, she’s a supportive and kind leaguemate who encourages newer folks with genuine constructive feedback. I can’t say enough good things about this woman!” – Indigo Hurls
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