The Alliant Energy Center's marquee boasts their name. They appear at countless neighborhood festivals and local events. They say that after your first bout, you're hooked. In the past five years, the Mad Rollin' Dolls flat track roller derby league has become a household name in Madison. And it is just this homegrown success that compels the league to give back to its community.
"We've been really lucky to have the support that we do," says Toxic Spice, a member of both the Vaudeville Vixens and Team Unicorn. "And because of that, we're always looking for different places to give back."
The Dolls often donate a portion of ticket sales to charities. Many are local, including the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Porchlight, Inc., the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin and Project Home. The league also holds food, toy and clothing drives for the Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin and the Dane County Humane Society.
In an effort to help at a more personal level, the Mad Rollin' Dolls raise funds for individuals and families. In 2006, the league donated tickets for a raffle to help raise money for the family of Reja Von Klopp, an infant in need of a liver transplant. During the holidays, the league adopted a family through the Salvation Army, and various derby members bought clothes and household items for them. The Dolls have also used their charity work to help one of their own.
"When [one of our dolls] broke her leg, we held a fundraiser during a bout," says Toxic Spice. "A percentage of the ticket sales went toward her medical costs."
Looking at the list of charity work on their Web site, it's clear that the Mad Rollin' Dolls are a non-discriminating group. Not only does the league seek out people or organizations in need, but if a member has a particular charity in mind, she can make a fundraiser request to the charity committee.
In the last month alone, the Dolls have participated in the Juvenile Diabetes Thunder Run, the Warrior Dash in Chicago and the Stars and Stripes bout at the Dane County Fair. This particular bout raised money to make care packages for the troops overseas. Next month, the league will work with the Wisconsin AIDS Ride and the 21st annual Paint-a-thon, a Project Home event to help homeowners prepare their houses for the winter.
Toxic, who is in her third year with the league, believes members join the league for many reasons, but the opportunity to meet and contribute to the Madison community is a benefit.
"I don't know if there's any one thing that drives people to do this, but there is no opportunity like it," Toxic says. "There are so many people I wouldn't have met had I not been involved. I'm really proud of how much we have been able to do for the different groups we work with."
The Mad Rollin' Dolls all-star team, the Dairyland Dolls, face St. Louis' Arch Rivals at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 25 at the Alliant Energy Center, and the Minneapolis Northstar Rollergirls at 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 22 at the Duck Pond.