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Merritt McLaughlin

Featured Skater: Rogue Miss-ile

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, wait, it’s a Rogue Miss-ile! Rogue came to Cornfed in January of 2016, and has worked hard to hone in on her skills as a dynamic player. Comfortable with the star, the stripe and the captain’s C, Rogue is an incredible asset to the All-Stars and the Muncie Missfits. “The Missfits’ first bout this season against Derby City is by far my favorite moment, of the season, albeit a long moment. I was Captain which was a great experience. I got to play with a lot of Dames, many who had just started this season, in this first bout. We all did so well and even though we lost, we played a very hard team and didn’t let them run away with it. We held our own, it was like we were saying ‘we are here, we are strong, don’t underestimate us!’”

Underestimating Rogue on the track would be a big mistake, but off the track, Rogue is the one doing the estimating in class as a student in Ball State University’s accounting program. CFDD knows we can count on her. She also works at a doggie daycare, controlling a whole different kind of pack. Rogue stays busy, but she always has time for sports that involve things going around a track. “When I’m not working, studying, or playing derby (which is rare), I’m hanging out with my own dogs, probably drinking a beer and watching NASCAR with my husband.”

Rogue knew she was going to be in derby for the long haul when she finally bought her very first pair of roller skates. “Buying my own skates is probably my favorite memory. It was that moment that I knew I committing to doing derby, skates aren’t cheap! They were mine, and I will never forget how excited I was. A little over year later, after a few upgrades,
I still love my skates.”

Roller derby has been life changing for Rogue and has enabled her to meet her CFDD family. Even though she says it was terrifying at first, Rogue has embraced her strength and developed her skills – and she’s not stopping anytime soon. “I love how challenging derby is, both physically and mentally. We all push ourselves so hard every practice and every bout, and I love how much we support and challenge each other to keep going. It keeps my body and mind strong.”

On bout day, Rogue has the unique experience of playing for both the Missfits and the All-Stars.  She is a beast powering through not one, but two bouts.  She gets through it with determination, and a little help from her teammates. “When I play with The Missfits I love hearing the All-Stars cheering for us, it’s empowering.”

 But what is her favorite part of a bout? “The crowd! It is so fun to get to have fans that care about us.” See Rogue Miss-ile in action on Sunday, April 2nd  at Gibson Skating Arena – 2610 S. Mock Ave. The CFDD All-Stars will take on Gem City Roller Derby (Dayton, OH) and the Muncie Missfits will play A-Town Roller Derby (Anderson, IN). Rogue will be taking on both!

Doors open for the double header at 1 p.m. with a 2 p.m. start time for the All-Stars game, the Missfits will play second at approximately 4 p.m. Tickets at the door are $12 per person (cash or card) or $10 in advance through Brown Paper Tickets or from any Cornfed Derby Dame. College students are just $8 with a valid ID and children ages 10 and under are free with the purchase of an adult ticket (limit two children). Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are available at the concession stand. A portion of all bout proceeds this season will benefit Muncie OUTreach.

Join us for the official after party at Twin Archer Brewpub! You do not want to miss(ile) this!

Featured Coach- Danny Mac

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Photo by: Joe Mac

I first heard of Dan McGowan, aka Danny Mac, at Cornfed’s home bout vs. The Naptown Warning Belles back in July 2016. Danny came to Muncie to announce the bout and I distinctly remember how excited and passionate he sounded when announcing the game. He knew how to describe what was happening on the track in a way that was audience-friendly, and he had a genuine love for the sport in his voice.

Now, seven months later, he is the new head coach of the Cornfed Derby Dames. That same enthusiasm, passion, and love for roller derby has resonated with every Dame and has been instrumental in this new role.

Cornfed is super lucky and thrilled to be getting to know Danny Mac better, and we want you to as well! Read below about Danny’s transition from announcer to coach, his passions, and, of course, his resistance to calling helmet cover “panties.”

Where did you grow up? Cincinnati, Ohio

Who inspires you? My mom and dad, my smokin’ hot wife Lisa, and the CFDD players, coaching staff (shout out to Tommy Gunz, Emily, U.S. Amee and Breckin U Down) and Practice Committee (shout out to Breckin, fOWL Play, Frida Brawlo and J.J. Baberams).

What is your day job? I am the senior writer/reporter for Inside INdiana Business, a multimedia news outlet focusing on statewide business stories.

What drew you to roller derby? The intensity, comradery, and the idea that players pay to play and the organizations are run by dedicated volunteers.

How did you become a member of the derby community? I fell in love at first sight while attending the first Naptown Roller Derby bout in Indianapolis in 2007. My co-worker (Peyton Slamming of NRD fame) and I launched an audio podcast for the team soon after. It morphed into a live audio stream, then a one-camera video stream, and is now a full-blown multi-camera production.

How long have you been announcing? What do you like about it? I’ve been announcing roller derby since 2007, but I’ve announced many other sports at various levels since 2001. The best part is being able to enthusiastically tell the story of the sport to people throughout the world.

Danny, far left, standing with team at the start of Season 7

What has it been like transitioning from primarily announcing to coaching? I have always been in awe of the skills and magic displayed by players, but to take a more active role in how that transpires has ramped up my level of respect. These team members work their rear ends off day-to-day and I am just trying to do my best to stay anywhere near their level. Coaching has been one of the most challenging roles I’ve ever taken in my life, but it’s been terrific because of how much I love this organization. 

What is the most rewarding part of coaching? Getting a first-hand view of passionate, hard-working players as they accomplish things they had no idea they could. My jaw drops on an almost daily basis observing the dedication of Cornfed skaters.

What do you do when you’re not at practice? I work a lot (I actually love my job) and have a great group of family, friends and friendfamily with which to watch crappy movies, play board games (*snorts, pushes up glasses*), and search out great Indiana beers.

What are you passionate about? I am passionate about being passionate. It sucks when people are negative or not that into things, so if I’m involved with an activity of any kind, I invest all that I can into it.

What advice do you have for someone wanting to become a skater, NSO, ref, volunteer, or coach? Show up and do the things that need to be done, but others aren’t doing/won’t do. There’s always a spot for those that work hard and display joy. 

And finally…

Where did your hatred of the word “panties” come from? Hatred is a strong word and, I think, a mischaracterization. I would say “immaturity” or “insecurity” with the word would be more accurate. My default maturity level is that of an 11-year-old, so I actively avoid the word (very commonly used to talk about helmet covers in roller derby) so as to not giggle like a fool. Go ahead… say the word out loud without laughing. I bet you can’t do it!

Come see Danny coach his first bout on February 26, at Gibson’s Skating Arena-2610 S. Mock Ave. The CFDD All-Stars will take on the Derby City Rollergirls All-Stars (Louisville) and the Muncie Missfits will be playing the Derby City Rollergirls’ Bourbon Brawlers.

Doors open for the double header at 1 p.m. with a 2 p.m. start time for the All-Stars game. Tickets at the door are $12 per person (cash or card) or $10 in advance through Brown Paper Tickets or from any Cornfed Derby Dame. College students are just $8 with a valid ID and children ages 10 and under are free with the purchase of an adult ticket (limit two children).

Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are available at the concession stand. A portion of all bout proceeds this season will benefit Muncie OUTreach. Hope to see you there!

Featured Skater: U.S.Amee

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cfdd-26Happy holiday weekend, derbygoers! I’m sure a lot of you will be watching some great fireworks on the fourth, but this week’s featured skater is packing some much more impressive explosions! The passionately patriotic U.S.Amee is captain of Cornfed’s A team and acts as a mentor to many of our skaters. This star spangled skater may look sweet, but her signature move has sent many a skater clear across the arena. As many of us know, sending skaters sprawling from sea to shining sea isn’t a trick that just happens overnight. Amee is a self proclaimed rink rat, and practically grew up at Gibson’s Skating Arena. Being an experienced skater isn’t the only thing that has made Amee thrive. “I have done so many things out of my comfort zone–physically and mentally.” A huge part of her success is that she’s not afraid to jump wheels first out of that comfort zone. “I have always been quiet and shy and at first it was very hard for me to come out of that. I forced myself into taking leadership positions for CFDD to not only help the league, but to help myself grow as an individual.” She practices hard and plans drills that challenge and foster each skater’s individual ability. “Leading practices is so hard for me! The thought of talking in front of so many awesome skaters is so overwhelming! But with the support of each and every one of them, I get through it.” Amee is constantly trying new things, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing and trying again-but she’s always laughing and pushing herself to the limit. 10608764_829036917136267_6450593113574618873_o

With her hard hits, fancy footwork, and booty blocks, it’s easy to see why derby loves Amee. But what does Amee love most about derby? “What I love most about derby is a hard one! So many great things about this sport! From getting in shape, being on my skates (that I like more than shoes), to the fact that this sport accepts any and every one! It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, or how you chose to live your life! There is always a place for everyone! But…ultimately, what I love most about derby is all of the friends I have met along the way that I now consider family! I don’t know what I would do without them!”

 When she’s not speeding around the track, Amee is speeding around after two well known pranksters. “When I’m not on skates, I am a momma of two rotten boys! They are my world! We spend a lot of time at the ball field watching them become awesome athletes!” Between baseball games and her husband’s football games, Amee isn’t unfamiliar with the risk of injury in sports. One of the most frequent questions derby girls get asked by friends and family is usually along the lines of “Aren’t you afraid you’re going to get hurt?” or “Yeah, throw some elbows! Break some teeth!” Obviously the actions in the second question are mostly prevented by rules, but accidents in derby do happen and injuries can be super scary. Roller derby is such a fun, crazy, amazing sport, and Amee isn’t intimidated by the risk. “To feel what I feel on the track, with so many awesome people, absolutely outweighs the thought of getting hurt by a million! I may get into my older years, not being able to walk because of my “roller derby knees” but man, the stories I will be able to tell!!!” Amee

Come be a part of those stories and see Amee make people red, white and bruised on Saturday June 9th as the Cornfed All Stars take on Naptown’s Warning Belles in the last bout of Season 6. Amee has also been a huge part of encouraging and teaching Cornfed’s B team, the Missfits, who will play Naptown’s Third Alarm. “My favorite moments this season have been watching our B team’s first season unfold and watching each of those B.A girls kill it and grow!! Makes my momma heart just melt!!” Get your heart melted too! Come down to Gibson’s and help U.S.Amee Make America Skate Again! Doors open for the double header at 5 p.m. with a 6 p.m. start time for the All-Stars game. Tickets at the door are $10 per person or $8 in advance through Brown Paper Tickets or from any Cornfed Derby Dame. College students are just $5 with an ID and children ages 10 and under are free with the purchase of an adult ticket (limit two children). Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are available at the concession stand. An after party will follow the game at Big Shots Pub, 700 S. Nichols St. A portion of all bout proceeds this season will benefit ForGirls ByGirls.

Featured Skater: Melody Mayhem

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cfdd-20We’ve all felt it: that tingly, butterflies in the stomach, giddy, hair-raising feeling that only comes from your first time watching derby. Deciding whether or not to strap on skates and give the ol’ track a whirl is an exhilarating decision, and sometimes takes way too long to make! This was the case for accomplished jammer, Melody Mayhem. “Fellow teammate Aria Kiddinme convinced me to try it out during a conversation we had at a going away party for a mutual friend. My interest for derby was already there after seeing a bout several years before this conversation, but I never acted on my interest.  By the end of the night Aria convinced me to join and two weeks later I was on skates.”

And we are so glad she did! Melody is a battering-ram of a jammer, super skilled, and a great teacher! In fact, she teaches on and off the track. “I teach elementary music (grades K-5) at Delaware Community Schools. I also can be found knitting or crocheting something.” Don’t let that fool you though, collide with Melody Mayhem, and you might have some stitches of your own!

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(A war cry captured by Matt Ruddick at K-Town Shakedown)

Melody is an all-star jammer and recently jammed not one, not two, but three games in one weekend at the K-town Shakedown Tournament. (Which you can read more about here!) One of her favorite memories in her derby career, she described it simply as: “3 days. 3 bouts. It was challenging, but a fantastic experience.” So how does an active jammer like Melody keep her focus? “At practice I think about what I need to work on to make myself and the team better. On bout day I think calming thoughts and try to focus on the bout to come. How can I get through the opposing team’s defense? How can I be the most effective in my attack?

She certainly does attack, and she is fierce! Buuuuuuuut she’s a softie, too. “I love that derby gives me a competitive outlet in my life. I also love that derby has given me a second family. (*Insert cheesy-heartfelt music and audience “aw” here.)

To see Melody in action, head down to Gibson’s Skating Arena (2610 S Mock Ave, Muncie) on June 12 at 1pm! This is a derby packed double-header Sunday, so get more bang for your buck and see Cornfed take on two awesome teams! The Cornfed all-stars will face the Gem City Rollergirls, and the Cornfed Muncie Missfits will play A-Town Roller Derby.  Tickets at door are only ten bucks, five for college students with an ID!

Featured Skater: Cosmo Pain

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cfdd-54Someone call NASA, because this week’s featured skater is out of this world! Cosmo Pain is a new addition to the Cornfed Derby Dames, but underestimate her and you’ll be sorry. Cosmo is a star jammer for The Missfits, Cornfed’s premier B-team, and has jammed with the A team as well. “It’s a great experience being on the B-Team, especially since the A-Team is so supportive and active in our progress – helping us at practice, scrimmages, and bouts. I get the experience I need on the B-Team to help me improve.” Cosmo joined Cornfed about 6 months ago at one of our new skater clinics. Although we’d like to believe that Cosmo joined due to Cornfed’s obvious allure and magnetism, we actually have a few ladies from Arlen, Texas to thank. “I knew about derby for a few years, but I never thought it was for me until I watched the King of the Hill episode when Peggy and Luanne joined a roller derby league. I used to skate all the time when I was younger (starting at 3 or 4 years old) and I missed it so I decided to attend the new skater clinic. After that I was hooked.”

It’s hard not to be hooked on roller derby. Our sport is so mentally and physically demanding, but that kind of pressure can sometimes bring to the surface skills that people don’t even know they have before derby. For Cosmo, that skill was her crazy, bone-breaking, booty bruising strength. “I remember when a fellow teammate, U.S.Amee, said I was (physically) strong. No one has ever used those words to describe me before derby.” Let’s just say that if you enjoy trying to walk through brick walls, you’ll really like playing against Cosmo.

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(Bona Petite, Janis Droplin and Cosmo Pain after a scrim!)

Cosmo is constantly working hard to improve her skills, not only for herself, but for her team. “Derby has helped give me a reason to work out harder: becoming stronger, gaining endurance, and losing some fat and gaining muscle along the way. It’s a hobby, it’s a lifestyle change, and it’s a community I’m now a part of.”

The derbyverse isn’t the only community Cosmo is a part of. When she’s not pushing through blockers, Cosmo is busy controlling the planets. Well, kind of. “Most of my time is spent being the Assistant Planetarium Director of the Brown Planetarium at Ball State University – the largest planetarium in Indiana – and being the Technology Chair for the Great Lakes Planetarium Association’s Executive Committee.” When she’s not doing that, she spends time with her husband, cats and Netflix.

Cosmo is a dedicated skater, and often comes to practice early to work on her own and focus on what she wants to get out of each practice. “I usually think about what things I want to work on for the day: foot work, communication, breathing…” She is inspired by her team mates and with their encouragement and insight, she continues to get even better every day. “I love the passionate, strong people that make up the entire roller derby community. Their motivation keeps mine strong.”

Cornfed’s motivation this season is higher than ever. On April 3rd, the Cornfed Derby Dame Muncie Missfits take on The Circle City Party Crashers at Gibson Arena. This is part of Cornfed’s second double-header, with the All-stars playing right after against the Chicago Outfit Shade Brigade. Doors open at 3pm and tickets at the door are $10 per person or $8 in advance through Brown Paper Tickets or from any Cornfed Derby Dame. College students are just $5 with an ID and children ages 10 and under are free with the purchase of an adult ticket (limit two children), which is a crazy good deal for two bouts! Don’t space this event, come see Cosmo in action!

 

Featured Skater: Juke Skyblocker

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cfdd-9The Force is strong with this one, folks! When Juke Skyblocker first started skating, the Cornfed Derby Dames didn’t even have a home rink yet. “We were about 20 girls in booty shorts skating laps in a church sanctuary that really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.” She’s not kidding about the booty shorts. There are pictures. Through hard work, determination, and a little help from Ibuprofen, Juke stuck with it and became an all-star skater who is an invaluable asset to her team. Since the church days, Cornfed has propelled our way up through the rankings, and our motivation is still as strong as Day 1. “Six years later we’re a group of hardworking athletes who strategically plan out our seasons and games. We know what we need to do and we work our butts off for it. It’s amazing to see what we’ve achieved and it makes me feel like this tiny team from Muncie could really become something so much more.”

Like so many of us, for Juke, derby is more than just a hobby-it’s a lifestyle. “I love that it has given me somewhere to focus my energy. Before derby I was just a lost college student not sure of who I was or who I wanted to be. Derby has taught me responsibility, dedication, hard work, self-control, and has made me much healthier physically and mentally. I spend so many hours of my life focusing on derby that I’m not really sure who I would be without it in my life.” Juke works tirelessly at practices and is always the first one to remind the team that each belly-wrenching crunch, booty-burning squat and lung squashing suicide just help to make us stronger.

Someone as dedicated to derby as Juke probably never gets nervous for bouts, right? Wrong-o! Even seasoned skaters need to have a normal bout day routine, and try not to get psyched out. “I try to make bout days as much like normal days as possible. If I make a big deal out of it, I’ll freak out and get way too nervous. I eat healthy meals before the game and sometimes go for a short walk to keep my body moving. I like to get myself pumped up on the way to the game with some upbeat music. That’s really it though, I don’t want to even look at the other team or watch their warm up though because I will panic. I just focus on myself, my team, and the plan for the game.”

When she’s not on the track, Juke works at Cornerstone Center for the Arts, a non-profit arts center. “My job as the Education & Marketing Coordinator is to help plan, implement, and market our arts programs as well as our events and fundraisers.” When she’s not there, she is with her fiancée, Meagan, and- I’m not kitten you- their four cats. “We like to work out together, do home improvement projects, and enjoy outdoor activities when the weather is nice.”

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On April 3rd, Juke will be defending the Galactic Republic-er…I mean Cornfed- against Chicago Outfits Shade Brigade at Gibson Arena. Ewok yourself down to the rink at 3pm, start time is at 4. Tickets at the door are $10 per person or $8 in advance through Brown Paper Tickets or from any Cornfed Derby Dame. College students are just $5 with an ID and children ages 10 and under are free with the purchase of an adult ticket (limit two children).

Come out and see the sport that is inspiring so many young women and empowering them to be strong, smart and tough. It has been life changing for Juke. “Socially it’s made me much more comfortable interacting with people I don’t know that well. It has shaped me into a leader and given me a stronger voice of reason that I use in my non-derby life as well. Physically it’s inspired me to lose 50 pounds, exercise daily, and watch what I eat. Becoming healthy has improved my derby abilities so much and has made me finally feel like a real athlete and not just a girl on skates. Being a part of the derby community also has inspired me to live my authentic life. I’m inspired daily by strong women who are smart and lift each other up and can’t imagine who I would be if my 21 year old self never pushed myself to do this.”

Basically, Juke is the droid you’re looking for.

Featured Skater: Breckin U Down #53

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Valentine’s Day may be over, but seasoned skater Breckin U down is still breckin hearts on the track! Breckin is a derby machine-she works, eats, skates, sleeps…and repeat. Of course, she also spends time with her pup, Luna. As one of Cornfed’s original members, Breckin has been there through it all as the team formed, had our first bout in 2011, and now is big and bad enough to have our first ever B team.

Breckin is a chartered skater, but is excited to be working with the B team as well. It’s no secret that derby is just a tiny bit complicated at times, but Breckin is always there with an easy smile and sage advice. “Being on the charter is amazing, but I am honored to get to skate with the B-team too! I love the excitement and fearlessness new skaters have. Celebrating the tiny victories that come along with a newer skater’s first scrimmage, bout, or the first time something clicks is the best thing.”

Like so many of us, Breckin’s passion for roller derby started by attending a bout! She saw the Naptown Roller girls play a few times before a founding member of Cornfed, Bobbi Pin, approached her about starting a league…and the rest is history! Cornfed has come a long, long way since season one, and we’re only getting warmed up. “This season I’m looking forward to seeing how far CFDD can grow through focus and teamwork. The charter will go to their very first tournament and having a new B team is pretty exciting!”

So what’s kept Breckin skating for 6 years? “My teammates and the community you inherit just by sharing the same passion for the sport.” As a Cornfed vet, Breckin has made so many important relationships in the derby world. From visiting skaters to neighboring teams, fresh meat babes, and her seasoned teammates, it’s safe to say Breckin has made an impact on everyone.

Come see her make a different kind of impact in Cornfed’s first bout of the season against the Derby City Roller girls on February 28.th   Doors open at 3 p.m. with a 4 p.m. start time at Gibson Arena, 2610 S. Mock Ave. This shindig will be Cornfed’s first EVER double header versus Derby City’s A & B teams. All this fun is at the low price of $10 per person at the door or $8 in advance through Brown Paper Tickets or from any Cornfed Derby Dame. Chirp chirp? What’s that? It’s only $5 for college students who bring their school ID! Plus, children ages 10 and younger are free with the purchase of an adult ticket.

Featured Skater- Bona Petite #789

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Good things come in small packages, and Bona Petite is no exception to that rule. As a student at Ball State, a member of Pride of Mid-America Marching Band, and a regular show stopper in Rocky Horror Picture Show Bona is a force to be reckoned with- and that’s just off the track. Her name- a reference to her tiny frame and ability to “eat like a garbage disposal”- is no joke. When Bona laces up her skates she’s unpredictable with hits, jukes, and speed, eating up the track- bon appetit! Bona may be a newer skater, but she has passion for her team that started a long time ago. “My mom got me into roller derby back when I was in high school. We used to watch bouts together on weekends and I was always amazed by the sport.I fell in love with this sport in a heartbeat. I continued to watch it as I got older, then finally when I got to college, I had the opportunity to join a team that I had known for years, and I couldn’t be happier.”

Bona has worked hard since she started about 10 months ago, and her skill and determination as a skater has changed and improved since she started. “I have to tell myself that it is ok to fall. Sometimes it can be discouraging to get knocked down, which happens to me more than not, but it just means that you’re trying new things. When I am lacing up my skates, I have to convince myself that when I fall, I just have to get back up and try that jump, that hit, that transition just one more time, and eventually I will get it. Also I have to tell myself that you have to celebrate the little victories when they happen.”

Bona is known on the team not only for her crazy tights (her most famous pair is completely printed with ears of corn) but also for her fierce, sharp and acute hits. We’ve got the bruises to prove it, people. But the violence isn’t what keeps Bona coming back to the track. “The thing I love most about roller derby is the people. The people from our own team, people from other teams, the refs, NSO’s, and all of the fans, everyone who has involved themselves into this sport has made it a culture. When we are on the track, we may just be numbers and colors, but after practices and bouts, we all hang out! In the end, it really doesn’t matter what team you are on, we all care about each other because it is more than just a sport. I have made so many friends through roller derby and it has truly been an incredible experience.” That might sound like rainbows and sunshine kids, but watch out, Bona is like a sour patch rollergirl; first she’s sweet, then she’s sour.

See for yourself on Saturday January 30, when Bona will be lacing up her cupcake-adorned skates with the Dames to take on the Fort Wayne Derby Girls in a scrimmage at the Gibson’s Skating Arena at 10am. This event is free of charge, however there is a $5 suggested donation. Come grab a suicide seat and find out what Bona Petite is made of!