April 2012 Roller Derby Spotlight - Blue Thunder!

By Danielle Fairbanks | March 28, 2012, 2:51 p.m. (ET)
Heather Larson aka Blue ThunderHeather Larson aka Blue Thunder has been a member of Forx Roller Derby League (Grand Forks, ND) since May of 2010. She is on the Board of Directors and is in charge or marketing. When she started derby she thought it would be a good way to stay in shape for hockey season.  Soon, Blue discovered derby grabbed her and didn't let go! She is one skater that can get knocked again and again and keep getting up and recapturing the lead in a jam without any thought of pain; she is built for being a jammer.  She has lost her contacts and continued skating and taking lead jammer only for her league to discover after two years of skating that she couldn't even see well enough to leave the locker room without her contacts. Blue Thunder has run a marathon the morning of a bout and then came and gave her all at the game that night. Heather, who works a full time and part time job, has also helped expand her league by bringing in other skaters and volunteers.  

Hometown:  Grand Forks, ND

Occupation & current employer:  J.R. Simplot, human resources management for room and board; Domino’s, pizza chef for beer.

Career goals:  To remain gainfully employed until I’m able to retire.

Current league:  Forx Roller Derby     Team:  Sugar Beaters

Derby name & number:  Blue Thunder #9

Years involved in derby: 2

Coaches name: Eric Pearson (Chewy), Tracey Janisch (Megaphone)

Favorite derby position (blocker, pivot, jammer): Jammer

When did you begin skating: I skated at the local roller rink in junior high.  At least that’s what I told my parents I was doing.

Fondest memory of skating: Probably after the first jam of my first bout.  I sat down and thought, “I can do this.”  I’m sure I was grinning ear to ear.  I went on to unofficially take MVP of the night.

Future goals you hope to obtain as a skater: Next season, I plan to transition from full-time jamming to blocking.  I love the endurance, speed and agility that jamming requires; however, my body does not so much love the falls and hits I take jamming.  I am 40 and want to remain intact so that I can contribute to roller derby and still enjoy running and hockey.

Awards, honors and statistics received in roller sports: Forx Roller Derby League’s Derby Doll of the Year.

Other sports you currently participate in: competitively, 5k, 10k and half-marathon running and ice hockey; badly, racquetball

Who is your favorite sports figure:  Football:  Chris Carter; Hockey:  my son Dallas.  He was a goalie all the way through high school and into beer league.  It was so much fun to watch him and his teammates grow up and be part of such a special group of kids and parents.

Blue ThunderWho is the person you most admire/greatest influence in your life and why:  My dad.  I know that I can turn to him with anything.  He might not always like my choices, but he’s always been supportive of me as a person.  He not only talks the talk, but walks the walk and would give the shirt off his back if you needed it.  He’s always extending a hand, ear, whatever you need, and never expects anything in return.  He would do anything in the world for his family and we all know we are unconditionally loved.

List your hobbies: Outdoor summer activities:  running, four-wheeling, boating, hiking, camping; and watching sports and concerts. I spend a majority of my vacations either at a sporting event of some type or a concert.

What music do you listen to during training or competition? I have an eclectic mix on my IPod.  Shuffled, it might be Disturbed, Johnny Cash, U2, Slipknot and Drowning Pool.  In that order.

What makes you a unique and special person: Oh, I’m unique alright.  And I think my teachers told my parents I was special more than once.  I find myself saying, “boy, do I have a story for you,” quite often.  

Favorite food before a competition:  Subway roasted chicken.

Favorite movie:  Wedding Singer

Favorite place to shop:  Super Target

Most prized possession:  Randy is a stuffed bear I got for my 15th birthday.  He has gone everywhere with me and has had to be Fedexed a time or two after being left behind in a hotel (and yes, Fedexed, the least amount of time spent apart, the better). 

If you could pick one word to describe you, what would it be: vivacious

Anything else you would like us to know about you:  Every individual on the team deserves this award.  Everyone works so hard both upfront and public and behind the scenes.  From the ladies who initially lit the fire under our skates to our freshest meat, we all contribute to the good of our league and I am proud to say that I am part of this awesome group!