Words and Photos: JBLM Bettie Brigade Halloween Bash

By Kim Thompson on October 13, 2014

Mother Nature was onto something in the South Puget Sound last Saturday.

The day started with boisterous thunder claps and gusty winds, followed by an area tornado warning (yes, really). Said tornado did appear in the form of a water spout off of Anderson Island to stunned locals. The finale? The clouds parted giving way to bright sunshine, glorious blue skies and mild temperatures. OK, it wasn't the finale. The finale came as small earthquake hit eight miles northwest of Olympia close to midnight.

Why the wild weather?

Mother Nature knew that the all-female, nonprofit roller derby team from the local military community, the JBLM Bettie Brigade, was about to converge for a raucous birthday bash and season kick-off party like no other at the Cheers Bar and Grill. "Given" names were tossed out the window in favor of beloved derby names only and the holiday Halloween theme was out in full force.

Of course, just like the unpredictable and wild weather, the Betties had a little wild weather of their own.

The first thunder bolt struck this very party. Through no fault of their own, the original venue for the party, abruptly bumped them from their longtime reservation, mere days prior. Ah, but those resilient Betties don't let THAT stop them. Toxic and Dis-Orient-Her, Bettie event planners, took the party elsewhere without a hitch.

And what a job they did! Creepy crawlers, skeletons, jack-o-lanterns and cobwebs covered the venue delightfully.

And then there was this totally rad, custom-designed celebratory cake, total derby style!

The music was pumping, the karaoke DJ was spinning, the drinks and grub were flowing and the costumes were nothing short of off the hook! Look at these!

Melicious Beast and hubby looking totally rad and hauntingly beautiful.

A modern take on the Big Bad Wolf in the form of Ill Will, Bettie coach!

Of course every big bad wolf needs a lil' red riding hood (in the form of Sgt. Severe).

It's peanut butter jelly time!

Bomb Diggityand hubby are natural-born cereal killers.

Lady Die, Princess of Wails, an unworldly, robotic mechanic!

Some serious derby voodoo doll magic!

As darkness sets in and the wind kicks up, the Betties are just getting started. Excitement for the new season and Bettie love was strong. When they say they are like family and they remain positive and resilient in the face of a challenge, BELIEVE them.

Lady Die, Princess of Wails, was chomping at the bit to join a roller derby team for five years. She found the Betties and has been skating for them since June; in her words, she couldn't have asked for any better. Her young daughter has also caught derby fever and has joined the junior league, the JBLM Bratz family. The love and support is contagious.

"This is the first sport that she's lasted more than a week," smiles Lady Die." It's given her more confidence, helped her build her strength and has been amazing for her."

For the Betties, the experiences seemed to center around "amazing" overall. And while the team faces some unique challenges, the season looks bright.

"Military teams are always a different team each season," explains Bomb Diggity. "There's a lot of people that have to move. This season, not many are moving away and we have some great new girls."

While the Betties totally get the challenges of functioning as a military community team and coping with moves, there's another challenge ahead of them that they meeting full steam ahead. The team's home rink, the Bettie Bunker facility in Lacey, is not going to be around for much longer. The team is going to need to move their practices and home bouts to a new facility. Returning to post isn't an option right now as that skating facility is under renovations.

The team is looking to find a new facility to rent.

Currently though, they are working out of a Tacoma rink; the digs are temporary and they are not ideal.

Yet, JBLM Bettie Brigade president, Annie Mae-Hem, while embracing the challenges, sees the positive side. They all do.

Mae-Hem doesn't mince words.

"It's a season of change. We know the changes of locations aren't easy for our athletes and our fans. The good news, with renting a rink, is that the newbies can have access to skates and our "borrow box"so they can try it out. It can be a big commitment to make equipment changes and purchases. This way, they can try it out and see if they like it first.

We are looking at spaces and options. We aren't married to any ideas."

And with that, Mae-Hem steps up on chair - dressed as actor Tom Cruise's character in the spirited and infamous celebratory underwear dance scene in the movie, Risky Business - and does an energetic toast to the Betties. The spirit in the room is electric.

Mae-Hem raises a toast to the Bettie family!

To really take the spirit further, Ms. Mae-Hem mightily took the mike in song and dance and whipped the Bettie family into an absolute frenzy.

Annie Mae-Hem channeling local music legend, Sir Mix-A-Lot, flawlessly. And instead of the donning the Risky Business tightie whities, Mae-Hem has Bettie-inspired skivvies. Perfection.

Here is one more photo to round out the night.

If you are interested in more about the Betties or lending a hand with a new space, visit and contact them at their site, bettiebrigade.com or visit them on their Facebook page.