BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Queen City Roller Derby has officially been around for a decade.
Saturday's home opener marked a major milestone for derby founder Debra "Sissy Fits" Hughes. "When I started I was crossing my fingers to get maybe 20 girls to form a team or something," Hughes said, "and they just kept rolling in, rolling in every week, and then eventually ... now we have, like, 150 skaters."
That was back in 2006.
She wanted something for her and her two daughters to get involved with. Buffalo didn't have what she was looking for, so she started it herself. Her grassroots effort paid off.
"We've put all of our blood sweat and tears literally into forming this league, and just 10 years now in the making and seeing how far we've come is really amazing," she said.
A decade later, this is the first season Queen City Roller Derby will officially call Riverworks its home.
"This is the first purpose-built roller derby track in the world," said Riverworks developer Doug Swift. "Many of these teams in other cities are playing in older, smaller roller rinks or old strip plazas."
Over a year ago, he learned through a connection at Buffalo Rising that QCRD was looking for a permanent place. The derby would have been at Riverworks last year, but last year's brutal winter delayed construction.
"We were pretty raw. We were behind schedule. Everybody wanted it to be done," Swift recalls. "Now, it's completely done. We've got all of our bars and restaurants in and operational. We've got a huge kitchen. We've got a 60,000-square-foot facility."
So, in addition to everything that Riverworks has to offer, QCRD also has a place to stay and grow.
"We're really proud to call this place our home. It's great," said Hughes.