An Interview with Elin Ulrich and Matt Cook
There are some things at Carolina Rollergirls that are as constant as the sun; Dorton Arena, Evil Ed, and long time fan and season ticket holders Elin Ulrich and Matt Cook. You’ve seen them, they are by far the most recognizable fans at any CRG game. They are the happy couple with huge smiles who sit by the jammer line with a service dog in training. Recently, we got to sit down Elin and Matt and learn more about them, their history with CRG and of course the dogs and the organization they volunteer for. Read more about the original members of the Red, Black and Bruised Crew.
How long have you been a season ticket holder?
When did CRG start offering season tickets? Yeah, it’s been that long.
How did you find CRG?
Diana Tarlton Ameri (aka Concrete Blondie and Concrete Connie) cuts my hair (go see her at Big Hair in Apex!). During one visit she says “You’ll never guess what I did.” I’d never heard of roller derby, so of course I couldn’t guess she’d joined CRG. Went to our first game at the Skate Ranch in November 2005, watched Roxy Rockett blast around the track, and bought tickets to the next bout that night.
What do you enjoy most about games?
Elin- I enjoy the controlled violence of roller derby. Not much better than watching somebody fly across the track, and getting up to get back in the thick of things. I also love seeing my derby friends at the game too. I do miss some of the early derby traditions like the demo, the penalty wheel, bands at halftime, and the boutfits for the sheer wackiness. Things keep changing, thankfully mostly for the better!
Matt- Typical guy here, I like the girls, the outfits, and the ever popular having a roller girl land in your lap.
You and your husband are easily the most recognizable fans since you usually have a service dog in training with you. How did you get involved in training service animals?
We both love dogs and have a Corgi named Edgar Friendly that is our own. Out at a bar one night, a couple was telling us about their guide dog puppy raising experience, including the facts that the puppies can go pretty much everywhere with you (so they learn how to behave while on the job), and that the Guide Dog Foundation/America’s VetDogs pays for their veterinarian care. We thought it would be an awesome opportunity to get a buddy for Eddie, and at the same time help an awesome organization help others. Hearing and learning about how a service dog can change someone’s life for the better has inspired us to continue. We have raised five dogs so far: Lucky (yellow lab, guide dog), Billy (golden retriever, awesome pet), Preston (yellow lab, retired breeder), Catherine (German Shepherd, training as vet dog), and Asher (black poodle, training as guide dog). They have all accompanied us to roller derby bouts because of the unique training opportunities with different noises, motion, smells, people, clothing, floor and stair surfaces, not to mention the distractions.
What do you do from 9-5 every day?
Elin – I work at the EPA as a research chemist. Two Carolina Rollergirls have worked at EPA over the years (Eris Discordia and Roxxy Slide).
Matt – After being a GM mechanic for a long time, I went back to school. I just finished a bachelor’s degree in Peace, War, and Defense at UNC in December 2012. Currently job hunting.
You’ve seen A LOT of CRG bouts. Which one was your favorite? Why?
We have a lot of programs saved up so far, and can’t narrow it down to a single bout. Our favorite experience was the Eastern Regional Tournament in Columbus, OH in 2007. One moment in particular was a jammerless jam (go look up the old rules on that), and chanting for Ms. Fit to get the jammer panty. It didn’t happen but boy was that fun! CRG came in 3rd place and we got to know the CRG family a lot more sitting through 3 days of amazing roller derby together. We even decided to come home a day later than we’d originally planned so we could see the championship game and hit the after party! Roxy’s wedding was pretty memorable, and so was the intro with Tye Banks. We always enjoy going to away games when we can… it’s fun to support the team and see where and how other teams do derby.
Come out and meet Elin, Matt, their latest canine recruit and learn more about the Triangle Guide Dog Group at the Got To Be NC Roller Derby Expo on May 18th at Dorton Arena.
Contributed by Dot Bomber