Little-known Lawrence fact: The Bottleneck, 737 N.H., was once the site of a roller skating rink.
That explains the hardwood floor and the somewhat atypical shape of the club. It also adds some synchronicity to Saturday's Kansas City Roller Warriors fundraiser party.
"I put on my skates and practice in there a lot," says Anne Mergenmeier (aka Annie Maul), a Pipeline Productions/Bottleneck employee who also is a member of the Roller Warriors.
Together with fellow Lawrence skaters Julie Ibach (Oucho Marx) and Jamie Olmstead (A Mighty Wind), the three helped organize the benefit to expand awareness of the female roller derby league, which is entering its second season.
"We wanted to do a fundraiser in Lawrence to let everyone here know who we are and what we are about," Ibach says. "Also, that we do have some Lawrence girls in the league and that it's worth the drive to K.C. to see a bout."
In preparation for the team's April 29 home opener - 8 p.m. at the Winnwood Skate Center, 4426 Winn Road, in Kansas City, Mo. - the fundraiser will feature a night of music and victuals. Warrensburg, Mo., band Super Black Market will headline, joined by Lawrence's The Holy Roses and DJ Cruz on the bill.
Patrons won't be able to skate against the Warriors, but they can challenge them at arm wrestling.
"The real attraction is that we're gonna have 30 roller girls there in skates, arm wrestling and selling baked goods and being crazy," Mergenmeier says.
The money raised will be used to cover this season's production costs and future travel plans when a Warriors all-star team heads south to challenge the Texas Rollergirls in June.
When fans flock to next weekend's opener - dubbed "Brawlroom Blitz" - they will notice how much the league has grown in a year. Now composed of 45 practicing players, the original two teams have been divided into four: Dreadnought Dorothys, Black-Eye Susans, Knockouts and Victory Vixens.
For the last game, the Warriors plan on inviting one of the newly formed squads from St. Louis, Mo., or Lincoln, Neb., to do battle on K.C. turf.
"I love it because it's given me a lot more self-confidence," says Mergenmeier, a member of the Victory Vixens. "I get to be around a group of women who are incredibly strong and inspiring. And we get to knock each other down."