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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Brewcity Bruisers' Becky the Butcher

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Rebecca Berkshire, executive chef of Balzac and Hi Hat, is better known to roller derby fans as Becky the Butcher. The heavily tattooed powerhouse has been skating with the league since day one as a member of the Shevil Knevils, one of four league teams in the Brewcity Bruisers. In addition to regular team duties, she is also captain of the All Stars, a composite team of Bruisers that travels and plays against teams from other cities. The Shevil Knevils are currently gearing up to take on Maiden Milwaukee as part of the Bruisers' championship bout on May 5 at the U.S. Cellular Arena. The All Stars have bouts lined up throughout the summer.

What was the attraction that drew you into derby in the first place?


Someone approached me about it and said, “Hey, you should play derby.” I asked if there was a ball involved. I didn't know what roller derby was—I had barely heard of it. The league didn't even exist at that point. They had the name, but had just started practicing at a roller rink—basically just learning how to skate. I was at a point in my life where I wanted a change, so I went to check it out. Everyone was friendly—it was strange to walk into a place with all of these people and be immediately accepted. I decided to stick it out. I never knew being on a team sport would be something I would be into, but it turns out that it is pretty gnarly.

Why did you choose the name Becky the Butcher?


I had imagined a long time ago that if I was one of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW), my name would be Becky the Butcher, so I thought it was appropriate. Everyone else was trying to think of really clever names—I just went with my pro-wrestling name.

Have you gotten injuries?


I'm one of the lucky ones that haven't really been hurt. There's only been soft-tissue damage. At this point in the season, everyone's knees are turning to jelly. The first couple years we didn't have sports directors, so it was the blind leading the blind, but now we have those people.

With the threat of injury looming over you, what is the rewarding part that keeps you in the league?


Being part of a team is a really important dynamic for me—being a part of a whole makes you realize there is something bigger than yourself. There are a lot of life lessons in team sports that I didn't understand when I was younger. It's really for my soul at this point. I think when I am too old and my knees are too busted to play, I'll probably coach or something like that.