The Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho has enough open space to let derby skaters hit each other with full force. But the cost of keeping Duke City Derby at the Star Center required the league to endure a painful financial hip-check.
A lack of ticket sales convinced the league to sever ties with the Star Center and postpone the rest of DCD's season. The league called the arena home for three months.
"We just are not seeing the fan turnout at the Star Center that we needed to see to stay there," says Duke City Derby founder Nan Morningstar. "It's really frustrating because in every other way this has been our most successful season." The league has more players, teams and referees than ever. All-star team Muñecas Muertas have already qualified for the Western Regionals tournament in October. But Morningstar says players can't just concentrate on putting a quality product out on the track; they have bills to pay, too.
“It's really frustrating because in every other way this has been our most successful season.”
Duke City Derby founder Nan Morningstar
"As a derby player, we're also the business owner," Morningstar says. "We have to worry about winning games and getting a championship and, on the other hand, we have to make sound business decisions."
Wounded, but hardly down for the count, the league is scrambling to secure a new venue. Morningstar says she hopes to find a place in Albuquerque. She says Burque fans were reluctant to make the 40-minute drive to the Star Center. "We've spoken to so many longtime fans that said, I want to go, but I just can't make it out there," Morningstar says. "We're excited about the opportunity to finish out the rest of the season back on this side of town."
Morningstar says she's fully confident Duke City can pick its season up where it left off. She's less sure the remaining games will take place on their originally scheduled days. The Muñecas have two more home games that hang in the balance, and a Duke City league champion has yet to be crowned.
If worst comes to worst, Morningstar says, bouts will go down at an Albuquerque park.
Every player the Alibi talked to expressed optimism that a venue would be unearthed and the season would be salvaged. DoomsDames Captain Miss L. Command says the derby will persevere. "It's not the end of Duke City, and it's not the end of this season," she says. "Stay tuned, because we're not going anywhere."