The 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.”
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.