Hometown Bruiser Heads to Roller Derby Championships

by Gus Jarvis
Nov 01, 2012 | 2027 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MILE HIGH CLUB - Krisana "Brix Hithouse" Barrett (center, No. 28) looked on with her fellow Mile High Club teammates at a flat track roller derby competition earlier this year. (Photo courtesy of Joel Giltner)
MILE HIGH CLUB - Krisana "Brix Hithouse" Barrett (center, No. 28) looked on with her fellow Mile High Club teammates at a flat track roller derby competition earlier this year. (Photo courtesy of Joel Giltner)
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BRICK WALL - Krisana "Brix Hithouse" Barrett (second from right), a graduate of Montrose High School, blocked an opposing jammer from breaking through the pack at a roller derby bout earlier this year. (Photo courtesy of the Denver Roller Dolls)
BRICK WALL - Krisana "Brix Hithouse" Barrett (second from right), a graduate of Montrose High School, blocked an opposing jammer from breaking through the pack at a roller derby bout earlier this year. (Photo courtesy of the Denver Roller Dolls)
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Krisana ‘Brix Hithouse’ Barrett, MHS 2003, and the Mile High Club Compete in Atlanta  



MONTROSE – One of Montrose’s own is heading to Atlanta, Ga. this weekend, along with her team, to compete in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Championship Tournament, Nov. 2-4, for a chance to be crowned the nation’s best in this longstanding and ever-popular cult sport.

Krisana “Brix Hithouse” Barrett, a former Montrose resident and a member of the 2003 Montrose High School graduating class, is the manager of a small Denver restaurant by day. By night, she’s a fierce skating member of the Denver Roller Girls Dolls flat track roller derby league.

Within that league, Barrett wears the number 23, as a blocker for the Mile High Club traveling team that will compete in this weekend’s Atlanta championship tournament, starting with a bout against the Baltimore, Md.-based Charm City Roller Girls Friday, at 12 p.m.

“For me, the sport is one of the coolest things I have ever been a part of,” Barrett said, in a telephone interview this week. “The community is really cool, and going to the championship is a really big event. I feel very fortunate that I’ve been introduced to it. I have met so many people I wouldn’t have otherwise met.”

Growing up in Montrose, Barrett grew up participating mainly in individual sports. She competed as a swimmer, and enjoyed such recreational sports as snowboarding, wake boarding, water skiing, rock climbing and participated in the occasional triathlon.

After high school, Barrett considered a degree in art, but soon decided that traveling the globe was more her style. It was while traveling through Europe that she realized what she really loved was food and wine, and the surrounding culture. She went on to become a certified chef and an executive sommelier.

While working in the food and wine business in Denver, Barrett was invited by a friend to attend a roller derby bout. The rest is history, despite her lack of a roller-skating background (she did skate as a child, when Montrose still had a roller-skating rink, but that closed years ago).

“I hadn’t skated since I was 5 or something, but I tried it out to see if I would like it, and after three months of practicing, I tried out for the league back in 2010,” Barrett said. She made the cut.

“It’s so unique,” she said of the sport. “I’ve always fancied myself as an off-the-beaten path kind of girl. For me, roller derby is really competitive, and at the same time really unique, without limits. It’s not like anything I have ever seen but it’s been around for such a long time.”

After making it into the Denver Roller Dolls league, one of the first things Barrett had to do was get herself a proper roller derby name – on a team whose members have names like “Claudia Shankher,” “Juno It’ll Hurt,” “AnaSassin,” or “Ghostskate Killah.” With her passion for wine – and her newfound passion for skating as a so-called blocker on the track – Barrett dubbed herself “Brix Hithouse.” Degrees Brix, measuring the mass ratio of dissolved sugar to water in a liquid, predicts wine-alcohol levels; her number, 28, is another sommelier in-joke, with 28 degrees Brix indicating a wine that will contain up to 16.8 percent alcohol. And “Hithouse?” That’s for you to figure out.

If you haven’t experienced roller derby, here’s a quick synopsis of how the game is played. Two teams take the track, skating in a counter-clockwise direction. Each bout is a set period of time, usually of 30 minutes duration. Each team has one jammer, and a pack of blockers. It is the jammer’s job to skate through (or around) each pack once; every blocker the jammer passes after that counts for points. Once the jammer passes all of the opposite team’s skaters (or a period of two minutes expires), the jam is complete, and another jam is started.

The blockers to use their shoulders, hips and butts to keep the jammers from passing and scoring points, and that’s where this sport can get rough.

“One of my league-mates, she broke her ankle and shattered her tibia in seven spots,” Barrett said. “It can get really rough. We only wear kneepads, elbow pads, wrist guards and helmets.”

Barrett’s father, Tom, said his daughter’s love of roller derby is one of many activities that keep the family of five close

“It’s become a family thing for us,” said Tom Barrett. “Just like any other professional sport we get into – like when we go to a Bronco game, we wear Bronco shirts. When we go to roller derby, we have Denver Roller Dolls apparel.”

For the championship tournament this weekend in Atlanta, Tom Barrett said all but one family member will be in the stands, cheering on “Brix Hithouse” and her team.

Krisana Barrett believes the Mile High Club has a good shot at doing well in the tournament this weekend.

“We have a lot of confidence that we could win it,” Krisana said. “I am really proud of my team. Honestly, getting to this point has really brought our team together. As a team, we are doing some really good things.

“I am proud to represent the Denver Roller Dolls in this sport. It’s very empowering. I genuinely love my league and all the people that support it.”

For a tournament bracket or to keep track of this week’s action from Atlanta, visit wftda.com/.



gjarvis@watchnewspapers.com

Twitter: @gusgusj

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