A few weekend’s back I got to be involved in the Underground Derby League’s Back Alley Sally’s (Olympia, Wash.) debut bout with the Death Rattle Rollers of the Slaughter County Roller Vixens (Bremerton, Wash.). And while it might be Rainy City’s offseason, you wouldn’t have known it from watching the bout, as RCRD had roles in nearly every facet of the evening.

From the NSO side, I did some line-up tracking while Rainy City vet BenjYa Over rocked the scorekeeping. Former Rainy City skater Pandora Bloxxx turned NW ref Shelly Jectu was on hand in the zebra stripes, as were Slow Your Roll and Whistly Crusher, both also Rainy City regulars. On the track itself, Rainy City’s Bella Sol and Whoopass Goldburg suited up for a short DRR roster that also included several Terrormeddixxx skaters, while the ladies in black and gold were lead on the bench by the coaching tandem of RCRD powerhouses Toot A. Lou and Poise N. Bury. And that doesn’t even count the eight or so in the crowd (or my four coworkers!).

So rest assured, even when we kick the term ‘offseason’ around, we’re still out and about in force!

As for the bout itself, the Death Rattle Rollers, well, rolled to a big win against UDL, 195-47, showcasing their own talent along the way despite the exterior additions. And underground, while showing they are still a work in progress, had some positive moments in the bout.

Also, I got to work as a scorekeeper during the Oly Rollers’ Bella Donnas bout on Jan. 16 against the Port Scandalous Derby Dames, the newest league on the Olympia Peninsula from Port Angeles.

And while Oly took a convincing 199-132 home win, Port Scandalous looked much more polished than I expected from a league playing its first bout ever. Granted, they still have a lot to learn, but they were tenacious and never let up. Oly also skated a good game, and showed that some talent could be moving up the ranks this year to help aid the Dropkick Donnas and possibly the Cosa Nostra Donnas, rumored to have lost Heffer 2 Ton and others to retirements this offseason.

Both teams looked solid for their levels of experience. Thanks OlyHillary for the photo! Get more of those photos here!

Rainy City’s newest team, a mix of vets and fresh meat, will be playing Port Scandalous later this season, so it should be a fun one to look out for!

Sunday, the Cosa’s host the visiting Detroit Derby Girls for a 10 a.m. bout. I’ll be all up in that penalty box, so keep it clean ladies!

Slaughter County also has a fun double header lined up with a couple teams north of the border. I’m gonna be super town in this one. I love me some SCRV, but I also love me the Eves of Destruction and Terminal City, who travel to Bremerotn on Feb. 19 against DRR and TMX respectively. So get down to Bremerton ya hoser and show em some love eh?

Thurston

Thurston

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It’s a crazy busy derby world out there. Go get yours.

While I myself won’t be able to attend any of this weekend’s awesomeness, I encourage you to get out and get your derby on at any or all of the following events! They’re Derbytastic!

For a Friday precursor to the rest of the weekend’s action, there’s a couple options.

Rose City Freshie Bout No. 1:

Rose City Rollers teams Guns n’ Rollers and the High Rollers pair up their freshies for a home bout Friday night against the up-and-coming Cherry City Derby Girls (Salem, Ore.).

The newly drafted members of both Rose City squads are sure to pack a wallop, and its a great preview to see what’s on the way for both those squads this season. And Cherry City has my favorite trio of travelling teammates:

(From L to R) Cherry City's Skate Oddity, Squid Vicious and Edie Disorder (with some Crow and another dude I don't know but who I assume is pretty rad given he's also in this picture) are a travelling party wherever you may find them. Totally ganked off Skate's facebook. 😛

So check it out! Tickets are $14 for general admission and $20 for Rockstar seating. There’s only 400 tickets available, so count on em going fast! Doors at 7 p.m., bout at 8. You can find out more about it here.

So if Friday didn’t kick your ass, Saturday is by far the busiest day.

Kitsap Derby Brats’ Skate-A-Thon

It kicks off with a morning Skate-A-Thon by the Kitsap Derby Brats, everyone’s favorite Northwest tiny terrors. They’re raising money to help keep the junior league growing strong, attempting to see how many laps they can cram into an hour from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Sk8Town in Port Orchard. You pledge a flat rate or per lap, ranging from as little as a dime a lap to as much as a million dollars a lap. So get your derby grove on in the morning, help support a good cause and help keep the Brats on the derby glory war path! You can find out more on the Kitsap Derby Brats Facebook page.

It's Skate-A-Thon time in Port Orchard!

Rose City Open Scrimmages

If you feel like getting your skate on yourself on Saturday, a short trip down south to Portland finds the Rose City Rollers Open Scrimmages. Taking place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Oaks Park Hangar, Rose City is hosting the scrimmages as a precursor to Saturday night’s freshmeat bout (more about that in a moment).

There will be a coed portion of the scrimmage as well as regular black and whites, so come prepared! Also, Rose City asks that you please carpool where you can! Admission is $5 and it’s acting as a Training Committee fundraiser for Rose City, so help them get their train on and get back to Nationals!

These are always a blast and well worth the time and money spent! Don’t forget to bring USARS or WFTDA insurance too!

the rink next to the hangar at oaks park!

Rose City Freshie Bout No. 2:

There’s more than one freshie bout in Portland this weekend. Since GNR and the High Rollers are accounted for, you guessed it, this time it’ll be the Breakneck Betties and the Heartless Heathers putting together a squad of new draftees to take on the Southern Oregon Rollergirls (Medford, Ore.). This should be a fun one too, again getting Rose fans exposure to their newest skaters, while giving Southern Oregon (who Rainy City beat last season in my coaching debut) a chance to see where they’re at against some great competition. It should also be a very fun Hangar bout!

But that’s not all! Saturday is a double-header, with the High Rollers battling the Emerald City Rollergirls‘ Andromedolls. That should also be a high-octane battle between the defending champions of both leagues.

Rose City is also planning on unveiling a memorial to Bunny Lepowski, a beloved Rose City and High Roller skater who passed away last season.

Tickets for this one are $16 for general and $22 for Rockstar. The doors are at 5 p.m. with the bouts beginning at 6. More here.

Derby action for your satisfaction!

But the action isn’t just to the south. It’s up north too.

Tilted Thunder Brings Banktrack to the NW

After more than year of hard work fundraising, bouting, building and locating, the Tilted Thunder Rail Birds are finally debuting their new bank track at the Comcast Arena in Everett on Saturday night.

Bank track is back!

With this being their first home bout, and bank track revival’s debut in the Pacific Northwest, it’s gonna be one of the places to be this weekend. It’s Team Red vs. Team Purple in a rematch of a flat track bout the league put on in August.

So check out what more than year of hard work on and off the track has provided! You can find out more here.

But wait…if you so choose, you can go further north still!

SCRV Saints of Slaughter vs. Bellingham Roller Betties’ Blunt Force Trauma

This should be a great bout between two very evenly matched squads, as the Slaughter County Roller Vixens‘ Saints of Slaughter (formerly the SCRV All-Stars), take on the Bellingham Roller Betties’ Blunt Force Trauma at Lynden Skateway (Lynden is a small churchy town just north of the ‘Ham. Seriously. More churches per square mile than anywhere in the U.S.).

It's like this only real.

The action should be incredible. Both squads feature very talented veterans and both teams are hoping to improve this year a la Jet City and make themselves more competitive nationally as well as in the Pacific Northwest.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for young-uns with the doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and action beginning at 6. It’ll be a barn-burner I’m sure.

Two of Rainy City's favorite rivals go toe-to-toe!

Ok…I think that finally wraps up Saturday. But that leaves one more day to get your derby fix…

Dockyard Open Scrimmage Round 2

The Dockyard Derby Dames (Tacoma) will be hosting their second open scrimmages of the season Sunday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Auburn Skate Connection. And what better time to go have some fun with Tacoma’s derby darlings?

After all, they’ll have lots to celebrate, having just been accepted as a full-fledged member of WFTDA! Congrats Dockyard!

These scrimmages are also black and whites, so bring $5, your insurance and a couple tee shirts! It’s free for refs, non-scrimmaging coaches and NSOs too! Plus, the skating is open to men and juniors. Now THAT’S derby equality! Dockyard always puts on a good event, and this should be no different.

In a related unrelated note, they’re also having a poster design contest for bouts for their upcoming season. And if helping out DyDD was not enough, it’ll give ya the chance to win two season passes! So check it out!

OK…I think that about wraps up the crazy derby action this weekend. So get out there and get your skate on!

Later sk8ter,

Thurston Gore (to the max!)

Hi everyone. It’s been a while. Hopefully, it’ll not quite be such a while between blogs in the future. Life happens and such, blah blah blah, but its no excuse. I haven’t done derby the service I was hoping to since March 31, and that’s not OK with me.

But apparently that’s OK with everyone else.

While my last blog was published on March 31, 2010, I have been getting a record number of hits regularly since. It’s crazy. Like Rat-City-Setting-A-New-Attendance-Record-Every-Bout crazy. For example, while I was actively blogging, I once got 579 views in a month. In June 2010, two full months after my last post, the blog was viewed 1,064 times. God damn.

So, just to be clear, that’s not the reason I’ve been wanting to return. I’ve been wanting to get back into the blog because there’s still so much derby to write about. But a few things have become clear to me, as several friends have already heard.

First off, this likely means the end of the  (save for the occasional) 5,000+ word blog. I write. A lot. I’ve never had to not cut a story for an editor, save for a story I wrote into a box already built on the page.

Damn straight I used a double negative. And I'll do it again.

So, expect more blogs that are shorter and more to the point. Like this sentance.

Also, I’m not gonna try to rehash everything since last March. We all know Rocky won. Holy shit. I was there for the regionals version. But point being, yes, there’s tons of awesome stuff that happened (nationals, my coaching debut, my return to skates, Rainy City’s 10-1 year, etc.), but it’s in the past. So let’s move on.

I’m actually much more excited even just writing this than I thought I would be. So that’s good. Cause writing without the passion equals:

blah.

Lastly, I will be super busy as I am coaching, hoping to become certified as an NSO this year, and hope to watch a few more games as a fan too. Ultimately, that means I probably won’t be able to get as detailed as I used to even if I wanted too. But that’s OK. Again, less overkill, more

Texas! Texas! Kill! Kill! Kill!

So, it’s good to be back. Hopefully my next blog will find you without several months in between. And while I know the timing seems good, given that there’s a shitton of derby stuff this weekend, I won’t be doing any of it. But still, expect something sooner than later.

Word yos. Thanks for sticking with the blog. Again, numbers and views and crap were not the reason I ever did it, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t pleasantly surprised at how much people have been checking it out in its dormant era.

But alas, the derby blogging volcano is dormant no more.

Til the next explosion,

xThurstonGorex

*Bonus points if the next thing through your head upon reading the headline was “A state that’s untouchable like Elliott Ness.

DERBY SENSORY OVERLOAD!

At least that’s how I was feeling at the height of activity surrounding February’s Wild West Showdown, the first WFTDA-sanctioned major event of the 2010 roller derby season. The Showdown, hosted by Bremerton, Washington’s Slaughter County Roller Vixens, welcomed 19 WFTDA teams, a host of other skaters and squads for challenge bouts, and became the hub of the derby nation for three days.

The wildest and westest of all showdowns!

And it was fucking awesome.

For the past year-plus-some that I’ve been involved with roller derby, this was the first opportunity I had to see it on such a grand scale. I get to see Philly? Live? Yes please! Oly-WoJ rematch? Thank you! Throw in a metric shit ton of awesomeness from teams around the country, and I was all set! Plus, I got to work in many of the bouts…enough so that I actually only got to see one full bout as a fan. But it was still awesome. Cause derby rules.

Now before I go too far, I’m not really gonna highlight a ton of bouts. DNN is great for that!

My weekend derby saga began great, as I had taken off the Friday of the showdown. I pulled into Bremerton ready to rock and roll! In a last-second add-on, in addition to NSOing, I took over Slaughter County announcing duties for the opening bout, which was sweet. That meant not only did I get to announce at the Showdown, but I was getting to announce the tournament opener between SCRV and Central Coast Roller Derby (Pasa Robles, Calif.)! I’m still honored to have been thought of highly enough to get that slot. Damn…a little derby in a year goes a long way! Got to work with the always awesome Bulldog again, so that was definitely a pleasure.Let me just say he yells at crowds well! lol

Ree ArrangHer throws a shoulder into Hill Fire of CCRD. Thanks Sharkey for the awesome pics!

That bout was a great tournament opener too, highlighting the local SCRV All-Stars against one of the teams I found out the fewest about prior…lol.  SCRV made the most of it too, winning 224-159 in a pretty exciting opener despite the wider scoring margin. I always love getting the chance to announce for Slaughter County and this was no exception!

There's me announcing in the upper left...or trying to! lol Mics came on about half way through the first half... Thanks Sharkey for the awesome pics!

Now here is where my first snafu or sorts came in.

So, when I had last gotten online to check my NSO responsibilities, I noticed I had Friday off (one of the reasons I got to announce Friday and not the other days). Well, sometime between me last checking and arriving in Bremerton, that changed. So while I was supposed to be score keeping the Oly Rollers bout with Rose City’s Wheels of Justice, I was getting wicked drunk and hollering things like, “We want JUUUUUSSSTIIICCCCCEEE!”

Drunky me! Thanks Sharkey for the awesome pics!

Sorry everyone. I will be sure to check for last-minute scheduling changes at all future derby endeavors. Someone on the fly told the crew working that game that I was announcing. So, I got out of it without too much scorn. And I didn’t lie, so double bonus! But I still felt pretty bad about missing it. As much as I love to party with my derby, when I’m working, I take it seriously, so again, soarry aboot that buddies!

That bout, just let me say, was fucking epic. Rose City and Oly kept battling back and forth, with Oly earning a lead but the Wheels battling back, at one point closing the gap entirely to a 141-141 tie. Oly eventually went on to the 157-151 win, but they were sweating in their quads for a little bit over that one. Rose City showed it will be a player on the national scene again this year, a year after a disappointing showing at the regional tournament.

Blood Clottia goes up against B Tease N. Thanks Sharkey for the awesome pics!

As many of you know, Rainy City and Rose City have some history, with skaters like Napalm Beth, Mercyful Kate and Miss Mel Mangles now on the Rose City docket. Throw in former Oly Roller JK Rolling, and you can see another layer of why this one was so intense!And why Rainy City’s <3’s WoJ so much! This is going to be a Western Regional rematch to watch out for kiddos!

Rainy City <3's WoJ THIIIIIIS much! Thanks Joe Rollerfan for the awesome pics!

Aside from the off-track action, it was awesome getting to meet so many people I’d chatted with online, particularly Hannah Grenade and Mia Cupcake, who are two of my favorite twitter friends. Now don;t get me wrong; I could fill a whole blog with the people I met and how cool everyone was, but alas, I have way too many blogs to catch up on to do that. So let me just give a blanket shout-out to everyone I got to meet there: “Hey y’all!”

There's Hannah Grenade now! Thanks Sharkey for the awesome pics!

There were two clear off-the-track winners Friday night. If you were there, there’s no way you could have missed them. On this night, it was Crack Attack and Edie Disorder FTW! They embody drunkypants, and so I hear by declare them the first recipients of the Thurston Gore Drunkypants Award.

I should have gotten you guys a trophy, like this kid has.

You may know them by their sign-toting antics?

Edie holds sign while Crack points. What a team! Thanks Axle Adams for the awesome pics!

Well, those two are two of my favorite derby people for many, many reasons (here I should point out that Crack Attack is the newest derby girl roommate of our ever-evolving Rainy City house), but one of the foremost is their ability to singlehandedly win an afterparty. So you can just imagine them in tandem!

But Friday was but derby foreplay into the rest of the weekend, with Saturday kicking off some major morning-to-night derby action!

On Saturday, I had a pretty full slate, working the Arizona-Sin City, Pikes Peak-Lava City and Sacred City-Duke City games as a scorekeeper. Those were pretty awesome experiences as well, as I’d never seen Arizona or Sacred City and knew skaters on some of the other teams. But mostly, I was just excited for the Pacific NW skating return of DVS Dicer, a former Rainy City skater now jammin’ for Sin City in Las Vegas.

DVS Dicer returns! Thanks Sharkey for the awesome pics!

Lava City has one of my favorite derby partiers as well, who I had the pleasure to meet at D-Day in the Desert last year, Petty Rage. And Duke City is just loaded with fun. So this was going to be a fun “work” day. Again, you can catch the deets at DNN.

Jet vs Duke! Thanks Joe Rollerfan for the awesome pics!

But the top matches Saturday were all a little bit of a let-down from a fan standpoint. Not for lack of action, as all teams skated their butts off on day two. But, there weren’t as many intensely close games as Friday’s main match had provided. Oly stood Philly up seemingly easily, Rose rebounded and stuck it to BAD (who seemed to have a lost a step since last year, although they totes maintain their amazing fashion and afterparty titles!), and Rocky Mountain blew out Bellingham. Still, it was lots of good-times-noodle-salad abound. I had a great time working with some of the different refs and crew, including getting to work each of my bouts along with Texas Hold Me, another of my fave NSOs in attendance.

Philly's Ginger Vitus floors Oly's Heffer 2Tons! Thanks Axle Adams for the awesome pics!

Sunday’s bouts however more than made up for anything that was lacking on Saturday. First, Rat City and Philly bouted, providing one of my favorites from the weekend. Two things. First, Carmen Getsome is a fucking badass. 25 points! In one jam! Against Philly! Late in the second half! To take the lead! And eventually the win! Holy crap! Second, I second the amazing work of HELLARAD in helping confirm that Anya Heels too is fucking badass. Rat City is a powerful team as well and they too, like WoJ, will be a force alongside the Colorado squads to challenge Oly’s western (and national) supremacy.

One of my favorite shots from the weekend of Randy Pan and Rat City. Thanks Joe Rollerfan for the awesome pics!

Then Philly and Rose City bouted, a bout that Rose City took over and won. If you had asked me which of the 19 teams coming to Bremerton would leave without a win, I would never in a million years have guessed Philly. Still, they battled their hearts out and are sure to do some good things this year. It was super awesome getting to chat up Ginger Vitis at the merch table for a little bit afterward too.

Mo Pain was one of several Philly badasses despite the Liberty Belles being blanked on the weekend. Thanks Sharkey for the awesome pics!

Sunday found me up in everyone’s box! Literally! I was penalty box timer for the Pacific-Sin City, Emerald City-Bellingham and Jet City-Pacific bouts. It was actually sweet cause between all those teams, I got to watch or work a crew for everyone but Rocky Mountain 😦 Sorry Rocky! Still, it was good times all around! Pacific was fun for me to see because Rainy City’s Chun Lethal (who formerly lived in our house) and Crack Attack both met a ton of them at Rollercon last year, so it was cool to put faces and names to stories! lol

Pacific jammer Collideascope goes through a Jet City wall with some blocking help. Thanks Joe Rollerfan for the awesome pics!

Pacific jammer Collideascope goes through a Jet City wall with some blocking help. Thanks Joe Rollerfan for the awesome pics!

Couple of quick observations…Rocky Mountain, Rose City and Rat City all looked as good as ever. But it was Oly who, aside from the close bout with Rose City, proved they are still the team to beat in the western region. And while Philly didn’t win, they played the toughest schedule of anyone at the showdown. Mad props to all the other squads coming out too! Especially BAD…they played bad, but they also dress BAD.

Totally not from the Showdown, but it gets my point across.

That day also featured some of the more epic challenge bouts, like the Brawlyanna-led Bremalo Roller Cows. Awesome. Their logo is right up there with the Unicorn Punchers for me in terms of party teams.

The amazing logo of the Bremalo Roller Cows!

But perhaps the craziest part of the challenge bouts were seeing Ida B. Choazz of Spokane’s Lilac City Rollergirls up and skating. She broke her leg something like 5 weeks earlier at our Rainy City Black-and-White scrimmages. Crack Attack summed it up best in a line directed at me: “I don’t wanna hear you bitch about your leg anymore!” She was right. It was tough, but she probably shouldn’t have been out there. Still, gotta love the girls who love the sport that much! Talk about dedication!

The brats were out and about too scrimmaging, and provided one of those “I wish I were a kid again” moments for me when I was walking though the President’s Hall (the location for challenge bouts) and saw not one, not two, not three, but four Kitsap Derby Brats in a row sprint at full speed, take a knee but three feet before the wall, and willingly go barreling into said wall. It ended with the four in a giggly pile. Ah kids. And that’s what these brats do for fun?!?! Again, they will be scary when they come of legal skating age.

A SUPER BIG HUGE THANK YOU TO THE BADASSES OF SCRV!!! You guys put on a kick-ass event with so few skips. The effort and dedication put in was evident from the get-go! You guys did such a great job! Hopefully, we’ll get to see the Showdown back and better than ever next year!

I know I’m forgetting things, but give me a break. It was almost two months ago now. And I partied really hard. So, there it is.

You can actually relive all of the glory of the Showdown on DNN with their archived bouts too! If you like what you see, feel free to donate a few bucks to ’em to keep the derby coming!

Also, big thanks to Masonite Burn, Joe Rollerfan and Axle Adams for letting me use various pics of theirs! We are blessed to have such awesome photographers covering the derby scene here out west, so make sure to check out their picture sets!

Short Track

Speaking of RollerCon, guess who has his ticket?!?! I’m super stoked! I will be there. The party can officially begin this year. As usual, come find me a say hi! Or thrust a shot in my face! I won’t say no!

Quick note…expect a couple blogs in the coming days…first, one will come in from the last Underground bout I was at, as well as a scrimmage between them and Rainy City. Another will come int he form of Rainy City taking down Atomic City a couple weeks back. And yet a third backlogged blog will focus on Rainy City giving the Heartless Heathers of Rose City all they could handle in a scrimmage last Friday. I will do my best to get these all out before April 15, when the Blood & Thunder Camp comes to Bremerton! And I’ll be there for that too. Whew. So expect the rest sooner than later!

Til then kiddies,

Word to your mommas.

Thurston!

It’s Showdown time kiddies!

February 25, 2010

Well, well, well. Look at what we have here.

What at first seemed like a far-distant date on a map yet to conceived by reality is now just a day away.

Of course, I’m fawning over the Wild West Showdown, set to turn more than 19 roller derby teams loose on Bremerton for three days of glorious derby action!

I’m ready. In fact, my bag is packed, my flask is full and I’m ready for one of the biggest rcknrllwknds in history!

Personally, I’m excited for several things. Friday’s main bout, featuring the Oly Rollers vs. Rose City’s Wheels of Justice will be great, especially considering the four former Oly skaters on WoJ’s roster (three were also former Rainy City…what what!).  I’ll be announcing the opening bout at 6 p.m. for host Slaughter County, so say hi if you see me throughout the weekend. I only bite when my mouth is foamy. Also excited to see Philly for the first time. Ah yeah. There’s the return of Dicer, one of our former Rainy City skaters, who has skater her way onto the Sin City travel team. Super stoked to see BAD for the first time. The list can go on and on. Check out my preview here before you hit it up, or find it in the Kitsap Smokestack when you arrive.

In any event, I probably won’t be on here too much throughout the weekend due to party, but I’ll try and post short-but-sweet updates when and where I can. I may be helping DNN out with some recap action too…we’ll see.

So, again, say hi when you see me.  We’ll throw an impromptu party on the spot! Uh! Sha-na-na-na!

It’s finally here people.

rcknrllwknd kiddies,

Thurston Gore

This was a bout more than three years in the making. And by anyone’s account, it certainly lived up to the hype.

With the Rainy City Roller Dolls beginning following a split from the Oly Rollers, it seemed like the two teams would never meet, at least not any time soon, on the flat track. But last weekend, that all changed before a packed sold-out Skateland, and on Valentine’s Day no less.

It's love on the rocks baby!

Part of a double header between Rainy City and Oly’s revamped B-team, the Dropkick Donnas, as well as Salem, Oregon’s Cherry City Derby Girls and Oly’s newest squad, the fresh-meat Bella Donnas, Love on the Rocks proved to be a mixture of learning experience and all-out derby intensity.

I was announcing for the Rainy City portion of this one, along side Oly staple Spydr, while just watching Cherry City’s side. So my details are a little scattered and this one too will not be as stat/score oriented as my note-taking abilities are limited while announcing. That said, the sold out crowd got their money’s worth!

Cherry City vs. Bella Donnas

This one was going to be a tough one to read from the start. I’d seen several of Cherry City’s skaters at bouts last season, and a few as recent as the Crackers bout against the SCRV Death Rattle Rollers last month. But I’d yet to see a full Cherry City team. And being a newer league, it’s always tough to gauge a team until you see them.

On the flip side of that coin, the Bellas may be from a well known league, but this was their first bout, and for many skaters, their first bouts individually as well. So with a lot of unknowns, this was a good opening bout.

Cherry City's Puss n' Boots was ready! Thanks Sharkey for the awesome shots!

From the start, Cherry City went on the offensive, breaking out to a huge lead before the Bellas could even get on the board (seriously…I think this one started something like 29-0 before the Bella Donnas cracked the scoreboard). At one point, that lead early grew to  a 60-6 lead nearing half.

It certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying. You could just see the difference between these two young teams right away. While one was truly new in skaters and team, the other was just a new team (for the most part). You could see that many of Cherry City’s skaters, while on a new team, are skilled skaters.

Demon-she-ahhh tries to split between teammate Bookend Trixie and Cherry City's Moody Tuesday. Thanks Sharkey for the awesome shots!

This one stayed very distant. Long story short, Cherry City walked out with a whopping 208-51 win.

For Cherry City, whom Chun Lethal, Slaughter Kinney and I met for lunch downtown earlier in the day, I was impressed by many as pretty much everyone on the roster had moments to be happy with. My proverbial game ball in this one would have to go to Squid Vicious though. It seemed there was a nary a jam her name wasn’t called out, whether for picking up points as jammer or laying out the Bella jammer as a blocker. Evil Shenanigans, Punn n’ Boots, Summer Bitches, Roll Model, Skate Oddity, Va Voom and Flea Bitten Kitten all had great all-around bouts, while fellow CCDG skaters Peaches n’ Poison, Areola, Ms. Nihilist, Moody Tuesday, GI Jane, Dogbite and Kristaphile also had strong plays. It’s easy to see why Des Demona and Edie Disorder took to coaching for this one. And for the fresher Cherry City skaters, after CCDG opened the lead, it was a nice opportunity to get some more bout time in as everyone got a large chunk of floor time in this one.

Cherry City's Summer Bitches puts her game face on as Bella Donna jammer Hard Times comes by. Thanks Sharkey for the awesome shots!

For the Bella Donnas, it wasn’t a bad first bout, at least not as bad as the score indicated. They have some skill there, and after they can hone those freshies a little more, some of that talent should be able to contribute to Oly right away.

Skaters like Demon-she-ahhh, Di-atomic, Ash n’Burn and Hard Times, among others, all had their moments. Rather than taking this loss to heart, the team should focus on the positives that came from their first bout. They skated against a very good Cherry City team, came out injury free, and hopefully learned a lot in the process. Most importantly, even when they got down by 100, they never quit. They kept fighting and while the results didn’t help them close the gap, there’s a lot to be said for a team that keeps skating hard jam in and jam out while trailing by that much.

But again, kudos to Cherry City. They came in to this bout pumped up and it showed from the opening whistle. They never trailed, never let up. And that includes the afterparty!

Rainy City vs. Dropkick Donnas

This was without question the main event of the eventing however. As touched on earlier, Rainy City split from Oly way back when as the two groups of skaters in those leagues at those times didn’t share the same vision. Well, both those teams are very different now than they were then, in many ways. The roster turnover, at least on the Rainy City end, is at (or at least very near) 100 percent from that original team, and while I can’t say the same for Oly for sure, I’m pretty sure they’ve had their fair share come and go too, as all leagues do.

But what’s interesting is how both leagues have evolved out of their different derby philosophies to create their niches and achieve (varying levels of) success. Obviously, as Oly won last year’s National Championship, whatever they started doing way back when ultimately ended up working for them. Rainy City too had one of its most successful seasons to date, finishing somewhere along the lines of 7-3 last season (counting tournament wins as one win), while knocking off and/or hanging with some of the Pacific Northwest’s best.

So, with anticipation thick and buzzing throughout the sold-out crowd, the action began before the first whistle, with supporters of both teams making their voices heard with their respective chants of “Oly! Oly! Oly!” “Oi! Oi! Oi!” and “Rainy CITY?! What WHAT?!?!” What was even better was when fans starting competition too! Prime example: This one poor Oly fan, the one most often beginning the “Oly, Oly” calls just happened to sit in a spot that found him surrounded on all sides by Rainy City fans and former skaters. So instead of hearing “Oi! Oi! Oi!” back at home, most the time he heard “Rai! Ny! City!” back at him. From an announcing standpoint, the fan rivalry was great and fed into some fun banter for Spydr and I.

spydr and I...can you see how sweaty I am? That's INTENSITY! Thanks Sharkey for the awesome shots!

But without question, no where was the rivalry thicker than on the track.

From the opening moments, this one went blow by blow, jam by jam. Seriously…the teams were within single-digit points of one another throughout the entire first half, up until the last couple jams anyway.

Poise N' Bury lays a shoulder on Intended Anger. Thanks Sharkey for the awesome shots!

Now here’s the part again where I wish I could be more detailed, but as I was announcing, my attention was divided. Therefore, I don’t have a lot for numbers for you. But thanks to twitter (and the tweeting of Mr. Boom) I can update you on how some of those scoring specifics went down. For example, Rainy City went up 29-27 at one point, only to fall behind, before jumping ahead again 39-37, then 65-62. It was that kind of bout.

But the Dropkick Donnas got a huge gust of momentum in the final jams of the half and rode it to a 20-point lead, their biggest of the night at that point. Oly’s Dropkick Donnas went into the half up 86-66.

Toot A. Lou braces for a hit from Punchin' Judy. Thanks Sharkey for the awesome shots!

Now, Rainy City has sort of become known as a second-half team, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little worried at the half. But once again, those Rainy City ladies have a way of battling back, and once again, I was not disappointed in the result. A little ways into the second half, the Dropkicks found themselves up now just 100-98. That’s right…this was still anyone’s bout to win.

That back-and-forth carried on for much of the rest of the second half, with one big jam throttling Rainy City ahead with nine minutes to skate, 170-146. Oly tried to battle back, but Rainy City maintained distance, and as Toot A. Lou put her hands up on her hips (no, she didn’t dip) to call off the jam, the final score stood a resounding 192 for Rainy City, with 164 for the Dropkick Donnas. Rainy City had won.

Toots makes the final call! Thanks Sharkey for the awesome shots!

The crowd was crazy, as a mix of sighs and cheers collided almost as hard as some of the hits.

Personally, I’ve said the following words after three bouts now: I’ve never been more proud of Rainy City. This was a bout no one (outside of the most die-hard of fans and supporters) thought RCRD could win. Compete, sure. But win? Against Oly? Sure, the Dropkicks weren’t the Cosa Nostra Donnas, the team that won nationals. They were just a third of it.

That’s right…not only did Rainy City win, but they did it on a Dropkick roster containing four members of the Cosa’s championship run: Halle Scerry, Intended Anger, Mary Stoppins and Punchin’ Judy. Not to mention that several of the Dropkick skaters (or so I heard) are either already slated for a bump up the food chain, or have the scary-good talent too (Clitty Clitty Bang Bang for one).

Clitty Clitty Bang Bang is going to be a force. Thanks Sharkey for the great shots!

So congrats Rainy City. Once again, you’ve won my derby-lovin’ heart!

Now, as for nods, this was again a total team effort. Rainy City benefited from having Bashley Juggs back on loan from the Dockyard Derby Dames, where she was just drafted to the Hellbound Homewreckers. While she played predominantly the first half, it was a solid reunion. Blockers like Slaughter-Kinney, Crack Attack, Poise N’ Bury, D.O.G.G. e Style, NicFit and Frau Blocker (formerly NayK-47) laid out hits all night. The hybrid blocker-jammers like Lucyville Slug-her, Toots and Killer B did a great job throughout. Jammers like Bella Sol and Death Rose were on fire throughout. Skaters like Souls Fear This Ass-id and Bruiseanne Conher continued to show their marked improvement. Again, total team effort.

If I did have to choose a couple standouts above the rest, Death Rose would certainly be one of them. She was tireless all night and helped rack up some huge jams for Rainy City. Same goes for Toots and Killer B. And Bella Sol chipped in along those lines nicely too.

Deathrose gets low and fast. Thanks Sharkey for the great shots!

But more than individual skaters, it was the team strategies that Rainy City employed that made this victory happen. For example, what was Oly’s No. 1 asset commented on by people watching nationals on DNN? More than likely, it was their collective speed. Well, Rainy City had their number on this night, skatin’ with a fast pack that kept Mary Stoppins from getting a single point on her first jam. They did a great job of communicating and acting on those communiques when it came to speeding the pack up and slowing it down, legally. There were not as many split packs as I feared may happen. They stayed within the required 10 feet, but pulled the pack just enough to speed burst when the jammer approached. It was great.

For a team that lost skaters like Holly Hobbler and Miss Mel Mangles, this bout seemed to many like it’d be just out of reach. But to this team, it was not only within reach, they grasped the hell out of it, a la Homer choking Bart.

This is how hard they cluched victory!

For the Drop Kicks, the aforementioned Cosa swing skaters all had great bouts. Here’s hoping Intended Anger is OK in the long run too, as she at least badly bruised, if not broke, a rib. But Clitty Clitty Bang Bang is going to be the skater to watch on this team. First, she’s very talented and graceful on her skates. But the kicker is she is small as hell! I could probably fit my thumb to my pointer finger around her waist. This is a skater who could almost literally hide behind a street sign at the right angle. You know what that makes her? Hard as hell to hit! She’s going to be a huge asset to Oly. Alea ta Bit Naughty skated well before her ejection from too many trips to the box (one of three Oly ejections along those lines and one expulsion for gross misconduct…on that…sorry…was announcing and did not see what it was for). Rabbit Kix had some huge hits as did Mooner.

So again, WOW! Rainy City, nice job. Cherry City, nice job. And Oly, nice job. All three of these leagues are gonna have some pretty bright spots this season.

And with a bout for the Dropkick Donnas already slated against Rose City’s Axels of Annihilation, makes you wonder just how high Rainy City could shoot next…

Short Track

It was fun getting to announce with spydr. This was my first gig back on the mic since I broke myself in November, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Thanks again for letting me rock the mic right Oly.

As for D.O., it’s been great to have her back these last couple bouts. Unfortunately, we’re losing her though. She’s moving with her family to upstate New York. At least our loss will hopefully be the Ithica League of Women Rollers’ gain. We’ll miss you D.O., Jay and Puppy Style! Good luck!

Thanks again to Sharkey as well for his stellar-as-usual shots from this bout. He’s a super dedicated derby dude, so make sure you pay his site a visit as well and help return the derbyluv!

So, that’s that for now kiddies…I won’t be covering anything next weekend, but you know what happens a week after that? That’s right! The Wild West Showdown! It’s gonna be the throw-down with the most hoedown where you won’t get the shake down but could probably see tumbledown. Bremalo.

The wildest and westest of all showdowns!

Seriously though…it’s gonna be wild! Check out my preview for the Showdown here if you haven’t already, get your tix quick and plan for the PARTY!

Derbyluv,

XthurstonXgoreX

NOTE: So here is my preview on the Wild West Showdown, which ran last week in Thee Kitsap Smokestack. Since it came out, I figured I’d post it here too. Enjoy!

For a weekend in February, Bremerton, Wash., will become the center of the roller derby universe, as more than 20 teams from around the country converge on Kitsap County.

From national powerhouse the Philly Roller Girls, to the 2009 Women’s Flat Track Derby Association National Champion Oly Rollers, derby’s upper echelons will be battling it out in three days of knock-down, drag-out roller derby mayhem at the Wild West Showdown, hosted by Kitsap’s own Slaughter County Roller Vixens.

The wildest and westest of all showdowns!

“We’re totally excited,” Slaughter County’s Kitten with a Whip, one of the tournament organizers, said. “We met with the (Kitsap County) Fairgrounds and they’re excited for it. We’re excited to see some of the teams we never thought we would and to have the opportunity to play some of those teams.”

The tournament, which kicks off Friday, Feb. 26 with Slaughter County’s All-Stars battling Central Coast Roller Derby (Paso Robles, Calif.) and concludes Sunday, Feb. 28 with Everett’s Jet City Bombers taking on Hawaii Pacific Roller Derby (Honolulu), will bring together derby powers from around the country, but primarily teams in WFTDA’s Western Region. The region proved to be the best in the country last year, with the Oly Rollers toppling the legendary Texas Rollergirls’ Texecutioners, while fellow Western Regioners the Denver Roller Dolls and Rocky Mountain Roller Girls placed third and fourth respectively. Rocky Mountain (Denver) will also make the trip, as will fellow Colorado natives the Pikes Peak Derby Dames.

Overall, the tournament features seven of the nation’s top 16-ranked teams.

Also slated to attend the tournament are Pacific Northwest powers Rose City Rollers’ Wheels of Justice (Portland, Ore.) and the Rat City Roller Girls of Seattle. The Bellingham Roller Betties round out Washington’s players, while Oregon’s representatives are strengthen by the Lava City Roller Dolls (Bend, Ore.) and the Emerald City Roller Girls (Eugene, Ore.). Making the trip up from California are San Francisco’s Bay Area Derby Girls and Sacramento’s Sacred City Derby Girls, while the Sin City Rollergirls hail from Las Vegas.

Two more tournament contenders come from a little farther into the desert: Tucson Roller Derby and Arizona Roller Derby (Phoenix). New Mexico’s Duke City Derby also returns to the northwest.

So just how did Bremerton get selected to host the first major WFTDA-sanctioned event of 2010?

“Rat City had kind of mentioned the idea to us,” Kitten said. “And we were the one team that had the venue to support that (kind of tournament).”

The more the team thought about it, hosting the event became a no-brainer.

“We realized, ‘Wow, we’ve got this venue, so why don’t we host it?” she said.

Getting approval from WFTDA to hold sanctioned bouts was a must for Slaughter County.

“We wanted to make it so if they were going to take the time, that they were sanctioned,” Kitten said. “And that we had enough bouts.”

After finalizing the sanctioned bouts with WFTDA, a two-month process thanks to the national tournament coinciding, the focus turned towards the myriad non-WFTDA leagues in the Pacific Northwest. That led to securing the Fairgrounds’ President’s Hall for challenge bouts.

“This way everyone has the opportunity to enjoy this derby weekend,” Kitten said.

Tickets for the tournament are currently available and are sure to go fast as derby girls and fans from around the country are already buzzing about the competition. Tickets are $15 for Friday and $25 each for Saturday and Sunday. Three-day tickets are $55. They can be purchased online in advance through BrownPaperTickets. The tournament will take place at the Kitsap Sun Pavilion, as well as another of the President’s Hall. A variety of vendors and food will also be available. More teams could be added as well, as registration was slated through the end of January.

In addition to the sanctioned tournament, the challenge bouts will simultaneously be taking place, featuring skaters and teams from around the western U.S., as well as themed bouts and co-ed bouts.

As comes with any derby bout, there’s always an afterparty. But unlike normal (read=stellar) afterparties, this tournament has the potential to be among the mothers of all afterparties. Consider this: If an afterparty is as fun as they normally are, and that’s with two to four teams, imagine what happens when more than 20 teams of derby girls descend on Bremerton. In short, it will be out of control and amazingly fun. Slaughter County has already made preparations to ensure such an end.

The three days will split bar duties between the 19th Hole and the Horse and Cow, both in neighboring Silverdale, and at Romeo’s in Bremerton. Check the tournament program for specifics on which bars are hosting the afterparty which nights. But fear not about driving. The league is running shuttles from the hotels, the pavilion, the afterparty locations and back again all weekend long.

“I’m just excited to see that many derby girls under one roof in my own town, “ Kitten said.

Now that you know a little more about the tournament itself, take a minute to get to know some of nation’s elite squads (in no particular order):

Philly Roller Girls


The Philly Roller Girls have long been considered one of the nation’s top five teams, a fact further proven in hosting the national tournament last year. And while they may not have had the showing many thought, falling to 128-121 to Cinderella’s Rocky Mountain, they twice defeated New York’s Gotham Roller Girls, 2008’s national champs, last season. The Liberty Belles and skaters like Robin Drugstores, Gloria Grindem and Teflon Donna will be eager to show that they still deserve to be considered among WFTDA’s elite. On day two, they’ll bout the Oly Rollers in what is arguably the tournament’s top bout. Philly is ranked No. 6 in the country by the Derby News Network and are ranked No. 2 in the East Region by WFTDA.

Oly Rollers

No one gave Olympia’s Oly Rollers much credit as a derby team in 2009, as it paid of big time. The Cosa Nostra Donnas stepped up to every challenge they faced last season, resulting ultimately in hoisting The Hydra, WFTDA’s championship trophy. Loaded with talent and speed, including national speedskaters like Atomatrix, Sassy, Tannibal Lector and Heffer, named MVP of last year’s nationals, Oly proved they have what it takes to challenge the nation’s best, beating Gotham, Texas and Denver en route to the crown. Their opening-round battle with Rose City is sure to be one of the Wild West Showdown’s gems. Oly enters 2010 as DNN’s No. 1 team nationally. WFTDA also has them slated as No. 1 in the West.

Rocky Mountain Rollergirls

Rocky Mountain were one of the national scene’s Cinderella stories a season ago, beginning when former Pike’s Peak trio Deranged, Psycho Babble and Ecko Girl joined the squad prior to the 2009 WFTDA Western Regional tournament, strengthening a team that already included skaters like Whipity Pow and Frida Beater. They ended up thumping Tucson, Rose City and Denver before running into Oly, ultimately preceding a fourth-place finish at nationals. While their first bout will be against Bellingham Saturday, in will be Sunday’s bout with Bay Area that fans will be waiting for. DNN ranks Rocky Mountain No. 5 in the nation, while WFTDA slates them at No. 3 in the West.

Rose City Rollers


Rose City was disappointed in their 2009 finish, falling to seventh place at the Western Regional a year after co-hosting the national tournament with Rat City in Portland. But with a strengthened Wheels of Justice roster including Blood Clottia, Hurricane Skatrina, Napalm Beth, Mercyful Kate, Miss Mel Mangles and a number of equally talented skaters, Rose City will want to use this tournament to prove they belong in the national discussion. In their opener Friday against Oly, they’ll get a rematch of last year’s 157-151 loss to Oly that kick-started the Oly Rollers rise to prominence. But that’s just the first of many challenges, as they have arguably the toughest slate at the Showdown, also battling Bay Area and Philly before the weekend is over. Rose City is ranked No. 8 by DNN entering 2010, while WFTDA puts them in at No. 5 in the West Region.

Slaughter County Roller Vixens


Becoming a WFTDA-sanctioned league a year ago (and debuting against the Oly Rollers), Slaughter County has wasted no time showing they belong, ultimately proven in hosting this year’s Wild West Showdown. And while they’ll have their hands full in opponents Central Coast and Tucson, it’s a great opportunity to show where they are against squads outside the Northwest. And with skaters like On’Da Sligh, Brawlyanna, Rollin’ Dirty, Anna Barbera and more, they have the size and speed to pack a serious punch. And, with home-field advantage, the Kitsap derby faithful should be on hand to catch SCRV in what amounts to two of their biggest bouts to date. WFTDA has Slaughter County ranked 13th in the West Region.

Central Coast Roller Derby


In all honesty, not much by way of their results exists online, so its tough to say exactly what Slaughter County will be up against. But judging by their 2010 schedule (which includes bouts against fellow Showdown participants Sacred City and Emerald City as well as Los Angeles’ Angel City Derby Girls), they’re up for the challenge (they also bouted Bay Area last year).

Rat City Rollergirls


Rat City sprung onto the national scene in 2007 and 2007 by twice finishing second at the national championships. They just missed out on a tourney appearance last year, placing fourth at the Western Regional, beating Bay Area before falling to both Oly and Denver. But veteran forces like Carmen Getsome, Billie Boilermaker, Re-Animate-Her, Anya Heels and a host of other Northwest derby household names are going to among the Showdown’s most battled-tested teams. While they host Tucson on Friday, a Sudnay bout with Philly will be another of the tournament’s most touted bouts. WFTDA ranks Rat City as No. 4 in the West, while DNN has Rat City ranked ninth in the nation.

Tucson Roller Derby


Tucson had perhaps the toughest opening bout of anyone at last year’s regional tournament, taking on Rocky Mountain, seeded prior to its aforementioned additions. But despite losing to both Rocky Mountain and Duke City, Tucson rebounded with a one-sided 185-91 doubling-up of Pikes Peak to finish ninth. They did finish second place at the Western Regionals in 2007 however to earn a berth at nationals. Skaters like Whiskey Mick and Sassy Sue were among the league’s founding members in 2003, joining up with Arizona and the Texas Rollergirls to host the first modern inter-state bout in 2004. Current skaters like Deadlock Doe Holliday and Helen Wheels only enhance their ability to ad to their history. After Rat City on Friday, they’ll battle hosts Slaughter County Saturday. Tucson is ranked No. 9 in the West by WFTDA.

Emerald City Rollergirls


Making the trip up from Eugene, Ore., Emerald City is quite familiar with a number of the teams at the Wild West Showdown. This should only help the Emerald City Skatesaphrenics as they prepare to take on Central Coast and Bellingham at the Showdown. Bellingham topped Emerald City at Knocktoberfest last October (a tournament hosted by the Rainy City Roller Dolls in Centralia) 84-76 in the 30-minute bout, eventually taking third place by beating SCRV’s Death Rattle Rollers. Skaters like Ambrusia and Surly Q, along with Rocka Rolla, Rex Havoc, Pow Wow and more, will be eager to avenge last season’s loss to the Betties.

Arizona Roller Derby


Arizona Roller Derby is another that helped usher in the new wave of the sport, also forming in 2003. And while AZRD had a tough go last season, it was against some top-flight competition, falling to teams like Pikes Peak and Angel City. However, they beat Sin City last season 95-82, so you know skaters like Rayna Rage, Deez Nutz and Gratuitous Violet can hang with the Showdown pack, especially considering their first tourney bout is going to be again Sin City. They’ll battle Lava City on Sunday. Arizona is ranked No. 12 in the West by WFTDA.

Fabulous Sin City Rollergirls


Sin City has had a rough go in WFTDA-sanctioned bouts, having gone on a 10-game skid since 2007 in such battles. But having lost several of those battles narrowly, like against Arizona last year, they’ll be eager to test their mettle with some strong new additions alongside some of their vets. And while their all-star roster isn’t yet announced, you can bet they’ll be motivated, with Arizona their first bout at the Wild West Showdown. Following that, they’ll face Hawaii Pacific on Sunday. WFTDA has Sin City checking in at No. 15 in the West Region rankings.

Duke City Derby


Making the trip up from New Mexico (their skater base is largely from Albuquerque and Santa Fe), Duke City was one of 2008’s top stories, earning a trip to nationals after a huge regional victory over then-reigning national champs Kansas City. Led by Kamikaze Kim, the Munecas Muertas feature a number of talented skaters, including Muffin, Miss E. Vil and Amanda Jammitinya. They’ll battle Jet City in their first bout, which should be interesting, as Duke narrowly lost to a Rose City Axles of Annihilation team that Jet City just topped. They’ll also do battle with Sacred City, with both those bouts slated for Saturday. They finished 2009 ranked 16th after falling to Oly, beating Tucson and eventually falling 105-103 to Bay Area to finish sixth at regionals last year. WFTDA places Duke City at No. 7 in the West.

Jet City Rollergirls


Everett’s Jet City Bombers are another team eager to improve on a strong 2009 finish. Hungry for a regional berth, the Bombers will look to use this tournament as a benchmark on the path to meeting that end. In addition to opening against Duke City, they’ll also battle Hawaii Pacific. Jet City will rely on skaters like Precious N Metal, Connie Torturous, Molly Python and Mona Agony, among others, especially since they’ll be without Re-Animate-Her, who now skates with Rat City. As stated above, they take a big win against Rose City’s AoA as momentum into the coming season.

Bay Area Derby Girls


San Francisco’s B.A.D. Girls were right there with Rat City and Rose City as nationals hopefuls from a year ago, but like their counterparts, fell just short. But also like the others, they had much to be happy with from their regional showing. Bay Area lost a tough fight with Rat City before topping Pikes Peak. They then beat out Duke City for fifth at the tourney and finished 2009 ranked 15th by DNN. Skaters like Taxi Scab, Demanda Riot, Sassy Slayer and Co. are another that hope to get a jump start on 2010 at the Wild West Showdown. After opening against Hawaii Pacific  then Rose on Saturday, then get a battle with Rocky Mountain Sunday that should be another Showdown highlight. BAD is No. 6 in the West according to WFTDA.

Bellingham Roller Betties


The Bellingham Roller Betties may be one of the tournaments more underrated teams. While they may not pack the big national-level wins of some of their WFTDA competitors, the Betties have some serious talent in the form of skaters like Chaos Fury, Walker Texas Mangle’her, Beretta Garbo, Helen Damnation, Tulla Jit and many more. As previously stated, they beat Emerald City last October, and will use that as motivation in facing Rocky Mountain on Saturday, their toughest bout at the Showdown, before rematching Emerald City Sunday.

Hawaii Pacific Roller Derby


The Hawaii Pacific league has been one growing since splitting from the Honolulu Derby Girls in 2008. After growing enough to sport two homes teams and an all-star team, they’re ready to start challenging their mainland derby sisters. They hosted the San Diego Derby Dames (and fell 108-81) last year, proving they can battle with solid teams. They’ll get another chance to prove that at the Showdown, as they battle Bay Area, Jet City and Sin City in three bouts that should give them a good read on where there are beginning 2010.

Lava City Roller Dolls


Skating out of Bend, Ore., Lava City is another that has familiarity with teams like Emerald City and Rose City thanks to their geography. Last year, Lava City’s Cinder Kittens just fell to Slaughter County 59-56 at the Atomic Rollergirls-hosted D-Day in the Desert tourney. Unfortunately, their next bout wasn’t as close, with Atomic getting its first ever win at Lava’s expense (however, it wasn’t all-star teams). That said, they should be another that teams would be wise not to overlook. They also have an uphill battle at the Showdown, facing Pikes Peak Saturday and Arizona on Sunday.

Pikes Peak Derby Dames


Just as Colorado Springs’ Pikes Peak seemed to be gaining momentum nationally, Pikes saw three of their biggest names transfer to Rocky Mountain. But teams at the Showdown can’t overlook Pikes skaters like Kamilla BloodSpilla, Fanny Fister, Hawaiian Punch and Count Smacula. And while a big prospective bout against Rocky Mountain won’t be happening, Pikes will still have its hands full with Lava City Saturday and Sacred City Sunday. WFTDA ranks Pikes Peak No. 10 in the West Region.

Sacred City Derby Girls


Sacramento’s Sacred City Sacrificers may be last here, but they’ll certainly be among the pack. In addition to the Showdown, where they’ll take on Duke City Saturday and Pikes Peak Sunday, they’ll take on teams like Bay Area and Angel City in 2010. Another squad the opposition would be wise not to underestimate, the Sacrificers are a scrappy squad that will fight until the final whistle. WFTDA ranks Sacred City No. 11 in the West.

Happy New Year!

OK, so initially I had intended to get this post out closer to the actual new year, but whatcha gonna do. So instead of clamoring on unnecessarily for a thousand words about resolutions and new beginnings, let’s just get down to it. 2010 baby, year of cuttin’ to the chase.

The year of our lord two thousand and nine will always hold a very special place in my heart. Although in many ways it was a tough year, it also opened my eyes to this wonderful world of derby and all it encompasses. So in honor of finding derby, or rather, derby finding me, here’s my own may-or-may-not-be-relevant-to-anyone-else Top 10 favorite derby moments of 2009.

10) Finding derby/my first bout

Finding roller derby was a very fluky thing for me. I had been working as a sports editor at a couple local papers in Kitsap County, home of the Slaughter County Roller Vixens, but hadn’t yet been introduced to derby until after I left those papers in Oct. ’08 for Olympia. I had heard a little bit about SCRV in passing, but didn’t really know what it was these days (like many, I pictured the one or two clips I’d ever seen throughout my life on the boob tube) and had seen an ad here or there for Rat City in The Stranger.

I might have seen this then and not even realized!

But alas, my true derby intro came after moving to Oly. More specifically, it came moving into my current house in Oly (dubbed the Rainy City house since). I answered a cragslist ad seeking roomies that had mentioned derby. I mentioned the very little I knew about derby and pow! I was now a roommate of two of Rainy City’s top blockers, D.O.G.G. E. Style (or D.O. for short) and Slaughter-Kinney. Like me, current roomie and Rainy City line coach Josh Bomb was also ushered in this way. Since that day (we moved in in December 2009, taking the house over from Rainy City co-founder and Guns N’ Rollers/Wheels of Justice badass Napalm Beth), only Josh Bomb and I remain of those original four, but the Rainy City connection remained strong, with Chun Lethal moving in, soon to be swapped out again as Crack Attack considers making our humble abode hers as well.

The original Chubby Chateau

But I digress. The important thing about that ramble (so much for cutting to the chase…lol), is that without moving in with those awesome people, I’d not be sitting here writing these words today. And while getting to hear about derby made for a nice intro (we moved in during the offseason mind you), there was nothing like my first bout to sell me on it.

That came in January, when the Eves of Destruction and the SCRV All-Stars battled the Oly Rollers. I didn’t know much of what I was watching yet, except that it was badass and that I was officially hooked. And while my first Rainy City bout didn’t come until later, I owe my love and passion for the sport to the team I started with; I ❤ you RCRD!

what what?!?!

9) My first foray into announcing

Since I’ve gotten involved in derby, it’s been a rapid rise. I went from fandom, to shooting some photos, to blogging, to becoming an announcer, to becoming an NSO all in a matter of about 3-4 months of being introduced to the sport. Now I regularly do all of the above, even having worked a WFTDA-sanctioned bout (and soon, tournament).

But all that extra non-journalism-related stuff began simply enough, as the Guns N’ Rollers needed an announcer for a scrimmage they were hosting against Team Washington, a mix of skaters from throughout the state. Through the smoky haze, I became that person. Since, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of great announcers and have also become more involved as an NSO.

It opened the door to this: My debut in stripes. *shudders*

And while announcing may not be my favorite derby-related task next to some of the others (afterparty anyone?), I’m more than willing to take one for the team(s) that need a helping hand. Having a small sportscasting and larger radio background didn’t hurt either.

8) My first derby injury

We all know that injuries, depending of course on their severity, are one of derby’s badges of honor, an accomplishment to be looked back upon with admiration and respect (post-recovery of course). Well, I earned mine too. I won’t rehash all the details of fracturing my fibula, since I did already blog it once, but it happened on skates and while I was doing something. Score one for me! Usually my injuries were all stupid and self-inflicted. At least this one I can say with pride. And pain.

It's like you see right through me!

In any event, my recovery is coming along nicely! I’ve been putting pressure on it (while still booted) for the past two weeks, walking on it without crutches for the last week or so (although not outside as I still have to sleep in my boot. Outside and bathrooms still get crutches, as those are not elements I feel like tracking into bed). My range of motion is slowly but surely getting better and (hopefully) I get the boot off at my next appointment on Feb. 9.

Then the plan is to do my physical therapy, get everything back in tippy-top shape and, in theory, be back on skates in June! We shall see how this plan goes.

7) My first derby roadtrip

It was only too fitting that after seeing the Eves of Destruction, from Victoria, B.C., that my first derby roadtrip with Rainy City was against, who else? The very same Eves of Destruction.

Victoria is a lovely town! Can't wait to get back!

I knew I had to make this one. I had to miss the team’s first road trip of the year, down to Bend, Ore., and heard all the stories and how much fun everyone had. I just couldn’t miss it. Plus, being a huge fan of most everything Canada, and having never been to Victoria while having spent more than my fair share of time in Vancouver, it just made sense.

This was a particularly fun trip, as it began with all of us not even sure who would make it through cutsoms. Alas, we all did, and hilarity, athleticism and plenty of good times, noodle salad, ensued.

Rainy City goes International!

6) Oly Rollers win WFTDA Nationals

So, having lived in Olympia from 1992 to 1997 (that’s fifth grade through half my sophomore year of high school), and having returned to town in Oct. ’08, there’s not a whole lot of sporting news that comes out of our state’s capital. We rely on the Mariners, Seahawks and now, Sounders, to get our mainstream sporting fix just as most of the Pacific Northwest does.

But thanks to the Oly Rollers huge showing at nationals, they brought Olympia its first non-school related major national title.

Atomatrix of the Oly Rollers takes on Psycho Babble, then of Pikes Peak, last season. This is an Axel Adams joint.

Love ’em or hate ’em, there’s no denying that Oly has the skills that kills on the flat track. It’ll be interesting to see both a) How long their WFTDA-sanctioned undefeated streak lasts (the Cosa Nostra Donnas are 12-0 since joining WFTDA), and b) How they respond with the target on their backs.

You can find out on Valentine’s Day though! Come check it out with us as Rainy City will be taking on the Dropkick Donnas (formerly the Primas) in the first meeting between these leagues (Rainy City originally split from Oly). On the flip side, Cherry City is coming up from Salem, Ore., to battle the Bella Donnas, Oly’s newest team.

Come be a lonely Valentine with me! (or change my status...I'm available!)

5) Rainy City narrowly defeats the Terrormedixxx

Rainy City 139, Terrormedixxx 134.

Wow.

I’m still as lost for words on that bout as when I had the extreme pleasure of watching (and announcing) it back in May.

But holy cow, what a bout! This was the first bout I went too that was truly wire-to-wire intensity. From the starting whistle to the final whistle, both these teams wanted to win this bout sooooooo badly that is hurt to watch!

But also, Slaughter County and Rainy City have always gotten along well as leagues. We’ve always skated hard and partied harder together. Any heat-of-the-moment animosity dissolves just as quickly as the ice in the drinks they’ll buy you.

This was one of the best bouts I’ve ever seen. The first best bout I ever saw even. But as you’ll see if you keep reading, this season just got better and better!

4) Derby Daze

It may not be RollerCon, but Rose City’s Derby Daze was the first time I got to spend a weekend literally surrounded by derby.

I stayed with new-found derby friends (thanks again Mercy and Sedge!) in a city I’d only briefly visited prior (Portland). It was a full weekend of events, from scrimmages and bouts to excruciatingly early rules clinics. It was my first time working a sanctioned bout (Rose City’s Wheels of Justice vs. Albuquerque’s Duke City). It was the first time I wore zebra stripes (*shudders again*).

Plus, it's where the Unicorn Punchers totes happened!

Ultimately, it’s one of the big reasons I will continue to stay involved with this sport on a number of levels, and I couldn’t be more grateful to Rose City for the endless derby opportunities they’ve afforded me. Their officials have always welcomed me on their crews with open arms. Their skaters have always been friendly and welcoming, even if I didn’t know the non-Rainy City alum at first. And I’ve gotten to meet other passionate fans out of the deal, like Sharkey, who I otherwise may not have met.

Good things, Portland, good things. And Derby Daze was basically the culmination of all that.

3) DNN boutcasting

I know this isn’t a specific northwest thing, or Rainy City thing, but whatever. If there’s one big trend that helped derby grow with rapidity in 2009, it was the Derby News Network (DNN) and the included partnerships that enabled them to boutcast teams from all over the country, so that derby fans all over the country could watch. I’ve seen Philly twice now. I’ve never been to Philly. Seen Gotham, Texas, KC, Windy; you name it. I was in New York for a few months in 2004…never been to the others. That is the glory that DNN has brought.

Not to mention drinking games!

As long as the donations keep coming or another revenue stream comes in, the boutcasts should only improve, in turn helping further the sport even more on the national level.

Want proof? Well, are you one of the poor, unfortunate souls not able to attend the Wild West Showdown in February in Bremerton? That’s to bad…Philly, Oly, Rat, Rose, Rocky…the list goes on. Oh wait. Now you can watch it, thanks to DNN.

In short, next time you;re watching a bout that really impresses you, consider clicking that little paypal donate button. Heck, I’ve only been able to do a couple bucks here and there. but you know what? That couple bucks adds up when someone does that in Olympia, and Seattle, and Portland, and Denver, and Chicago, and Nashville, etc., etc. And in the end, it will only make the coverage we enjoy better quality and higher frequency.

Just no more lengthy, self-serving diatribes about the merit of Journey though please. K thx bai!

2) D-Day in the Desert

Four teams worth of derby girls? Check.

Huge vacant camping area for all-comers? Check.

All-day tournament derby action? Check.

Dueling kegstands? What what what?!?!

That’s right. D-Day in the Desert had all that and whole lot more, as the Atomic City Roller Girls showed me a derby afterparty, and weekend, I’ll never, ever forget. Except for the parts I never remembered in the first place!

No. Really. Duelling kegstands actually happened.

That weekend continues to be one of the constant reminder of all the glory derby an be. And don’t get me wrong…partying is fun and whatnot, but what really made this special again was that undying sense of camaraderie with no expectations, strings, or caveats. Everyone there just loves derby. What’s that? You love derby too? Sweet! Come join us! This was that ultimate scenario.

I really hope Atomic considers doing this tournament again, because it was an absolute blast! Thanks for hosting one of the best nights of my life Atomic!

Oh yea...there was derby too.

1) Knocktoberfest

Speaking of tournaments Rainy City won (what what!!!), we get to my overall greatest memory of derby related relatedness for 20-aught-9: Knocktoberfest.

In its second year as Rainy City’s signature tournament, Knocktoberfest brought a mix of great teams (Bellingham, DRR and Emerald City), great derby, and another wild afterparty.

First, on the tournament itself. Rainy City advanced to the championship against Bellingham. This had to be the best last jam I’d ever seen. Leading 61-60, Holly Hobbler, in her last Rainy City bout, took the star against Bellingham’s Dixy Dthdlr. Hobbler had to serve a minute in the box with time winding down. Game over right?

Holly Hobbler was one of several making their last Rainy City bout.

Wrong. Rainy City stepped up so huge. I’ve never been a more proud fan than I was at that moment (although the opener two weeks back made a pretty proud Thurston to0). I don’t want to rehash the whole thing here, since I did already blog it once, but man, oh, man, what a wild finish that was.

Which of course led to more partying, as seen here.

As for the party, it was also great, with most everyone from all the teams hanging at the local hotel (which I’m pretty sure we’ll never be invited back to), everyone was a winner. It was just a perfect finish to a perfect tournament, and really, a perfect season as Rainy City had one of its best showings yet. And with several people leaving, like Hobbler, Miss Mel Mangles, Bashley Juggs, Noa and others, it made the whole thing all the more special.

2010 UPDATE: Mangles is still a super badass, as evidenced above. Portrait by Brian J. Bulemore.

So there you have it…that about wraps up my favorite moments of 2009. Except to say that I’m sure there’ll be a slate of good ones coming up in 2010 too! Feel free to chime in on the comments section with your thoughts on these moments, or even what your favorite moments of 2009 were. I’d love to hear ’em!

Short track

On a super awesome note, the Dockyard Derby Dames recently held a benefit bout Sunday for the Lakewood Police Officers Guild in honor of the families of the officers killed a couple short months ago. And, from what I hear on twitter, it was a huge success! Dockyard brought in more than $4,000 for them, with Pierce College generously donating the space and a host of other sponsors and vendors chipping in. Great job Dockyard!

Last but not least, don’t forget to come visit us this weekend and BRING YOUR SKATES! Rainy City is hosting its annual Black and White scrimmage for just $5! Check the flyer for more:

Do it.

Alright kids…laters on.

Thurston

UPDATE: I forgot to mention a few things and a couple more were pointed out to me. You’ll find them below in italics. Thanks yo!

NOTE: Super big thanks to Terminal City photog and outstanding Canadian Nicolas Charest for the awesome bout photos. He knows lighting. He knows depth of field. He knows derby. So get to know him and visit his site on RollerGirl.ca. It’ll be worth your while. Thanks again!!!

I have to tip my hat to the Slaughter County Roller Vixens. Every time we go out there for a bout, the production runs smooth, the action is always intense. It makes it easy to see why they’re hosting such an amazing tournament coming up in February (more on this toward the end).

Saturday, Jan. 16 proved to be no exception, providing an incredible opening night for all teams involved as the Crackers (a Rainy City Roller Dolls party-mix team) battled the vastly improved Death Rattle Rollers, the Terminal City Roller Girls traveled south to battle the Terrormedixxx, and even the brats got involved, with the Kitsap Derby Brats hosting Spokane’s Atomic Pixies.

I was super excited for this bout for several reasons. First, as a fan, the offseason is just too damn long. Shoot, as a fan, ANY offseason is too long! I may be kidding, but there is truth in those derby withdrawls. But yes, before it comes flooding in, I know skaters need the break. But again, the fan in me needs derby…all the time. And this was finally the return of that much needed action!

Plus, there's Coach Crack's amazing get-up. Lifted this one from Scott's facebook page. Thanks dude!

Also, since I didn’t begin getting into derby until last season, this was my first official season opener for any team or league, and, almost perfectly, the one-year anniversary of my first bout. So that’s cool. Throw in the fact that just about all my derby cherries were broken between Rainy City and Slaughter County and it just gets better. Plus, I had never gotten to see junior derby before. And I haven’t even gotten to whiskey yet!

Now’s a good time to say that while I was not working this bout, in the NSO sense of the word, I was workin’ this bout in the drunkypants great-times sense of the word. So my details aren’t as detailed as normal, my voice is much more hoarse and my sense are still overloaded. So take that shot of tequila with a few dozen grains of salt.

CRACKERS vs. DEATH RATTLE ROLLERS

I was already pretty excited about this bout, as mentioned above, and the excitement was well justified right from the beginning. The aptly named Crackers (Crack Attack became Coach Crack for this bout, not skating herself) featured both Crack Attack and line coach Josh Bomb’s coaching debuts, the return of Deathrose and D.O.G.G. E. Style, and featured a host of Rainy City skaters getting their first in-bulk bout experience.

Coming in, I had heard a lot about how much better DRR had been skating since last season, how great some of their practices had gone. Throw in skaters like Skate Oddity, Roll-Model, Edie Disorder and Squid Viscous from the Cherry City Derby Girls (Salem, Ore.), and you’ve got one heck of a scrappy squad.

Deathrose tries to get around Edie Disorder. Thanks Nicolas Charest for the bad ass shots!

This one started all DRR too. DRR was being way more physical, thanks to the efforts of skaters like Slamber, Rude E. Gorland, Miss Direction and more. Bashley Blaze and Speedy Gun Haul-Ass held down the jamming line for the Rollers, as did Scuttlebutt Jibber Jabber. Meanwhile, the Crackers weren’t hitting, weren’t watching the opposing jammer and weren’t being the Rainy City team known for its hard hits and physical style of play.

The result? A hard-earned and well-deserved 34-point lead for the Death Rattle Rollers at the half (these are the details, like halftime score, my drunk pen-forgetting ass should have written down, but didn’t).

As a Rainy City fan first and foremost however, I was pissed. In my green Crackers shirt, I probably looked like I was about to Hulk it a couple times… Instead, I one-crutch hobbled my buzzed-and-fumin’ ass over to the Crackers locker room at the half to deliver a message: HIT SOMEONE!

Now, to be clear, I’m not claiming any part of what happened next. I was merely a pissed off superfan that had to get that off my chest. They did, however, start hitting.

The second half was like night and day for the Crackers. Within the first five or 10 minutes of the half, the lead was already cut down to something lik 88-80 DRR. The Crackers were on a war path and it showed.

Slaughter Kinney goes after Bashley Blaze. Thanks Nicolas Charest for the bad ass shots!

With something like 1:55 left, the Crackers ended up tying up the score at 109-109. DRR wasn’t about to just let them have it either, as both teams picked up the intensity. In fact, it was so freaking tense I don’t even remember who jammed last. All I know is when it was said and done, the Crackers came away with four more points in that final jam, just edging DRR 113-109.

Holy crap.

Another insanely close finish. Now, just to show you how far DRR has come, I saw them skate a few times. They lost to the Trampires 70-32 in a minibout at Dockyard vs. the Northwest in July (Rainy City lost by 4 to the Trampires 145-141 in August). At Knocktoberfest, Rainy City beat DRR a whopping 109-26 en route to the title. So you can really see exactly how far DRR has come in a single offseason. True, Rainy City has lost some skilled skaters too, but DRR looked like a team with a chip on its shoulder in this one (look at that use of cliche action!).

Poise N Bury gets a hand from D.O. into Speedy Gun Haul-Ass. Thanks Nicolas Charest for the bad ass shots!

For the Crackers, it was a good opportunity to get some skaters some bout action. Both Iatarainbo, Mambo Boom, and Violent Baudelaire made their true debuts, while others like Chun Lethal and NayK 47, and Mambo Boom saw some of the most action they have yet. Nic Fit and Bruiseanne Con-Her (formerly Maxxxine McFiercen), both saw, and made good use of, solid track time as well. It was to be the debut of Vi-Kerious and another round of bout experience for Bella Sol, but late injuries kept them from skating (but fear not, neither injury is super serious, so both should be back in action in no time.

Overall, as was expected, the results were mixed. Both The newbies (Iatarainbo, Mambo Boom and Violent Baudelaire) performed very, very well, especially Iatarainbo, who upon gaining more understanding of the rules and game itself, should develop into a top jamming threat for Rainy City. Baudelaire stepped up in the second half, looking more comfortable especially in the physical side of the game. That was also true of Lethal, Nay K and Boom, who were much more aggressive in the second half (particularly Lethal, who floored the jammer with a nice one in the second half). Speaking of Lethal, it was also her brother’s debut, ref Pat A. Hoedown. He also did a great job in his debut, showing he’s not afraid to step right in with some solid crews and make an impact (he’ll be primarily reffing out of Lilac City). Nice job Hoedown!

Pat A. Howdown reffing on the right of the pack. Stole this from Voilent's facebook page, so I don't know who shot it. Thanks though!

As for the usual suspects, it was the usual results. Slaughter Kinney was one of the top blockers yet again, and it was great to see D.O. lined back up with her for a couple jams. D.O., lost for the bulk of last season to the 9-month injury, didn’t take more than  jam or two to get back into a groove. And while Toot A. Lou and Lucyville Slugger did a nice job jamming, it was Deathrose holding down the jammer line all night. In her first bout back since moving to California and back, Deathrose continued to build on her early successes last year.

Lucyville blinded by the light. Thanks Nicolas Charest for the bad ass shots!

And while we’ve identified the top blocker and jammer on the night for the Crackers, it might have been Poise N. Bury who had the top all-around game. She has continued to evolve her game on the track and her knowledge of what needs to be done in particular situations. At the same time, she’s cut down her trips to the box. And on Saturday, it all added up nicely.

Poise N the box! With Jack Officer. Thanks Nicolas Charest for the bad ass shots!

Ultimately, I was most pleased about two things from this bout from a Rainy City bend: 1) The Crackers’ undying desire to fight back; and 2) the overall play of the newer/less-experienced skaters combined with the continued maturation and improvement of the team’s vets. It’s gonna be a fun season for Rainy City fans.

TERMINAL CITY vs. TERRORMEDIXXX

Another bout I was really looking forward to, having seen both skate very, very well last year. Of course, Rainy City beat TMX in one of the last season’s most epic bouts, while I was fortunate enough to catch Terminal for the first time against the Oly Rollers’ Prima Donnas.

So this was sure to be another nail-biter.

Ree Arrangher gets a push from the pack. Thanks Nicolas Charest for the bad ass shots!

By this time, I was pretty drunkypants and celebrating with Rainy City, so my details on how this bout unfolded are hazy throughout. But in the end, it was another extremely tight contest, with Terminal City getting the drop on TMX by another narrow margin – 116-113. Total team efforts by both squads kept this one back and forth from the getgo.

For TMX, everyone who hit the floor played very, very well. On’Da Sligh was jamming up a storm again, as was co-captain Ree Arrangher. Brawlyanna was joined in the huge hits department by Rollin Dirty, Anna Barbera, BrandiFurious and others.

Sligh almost outskated her shadow even. Thanks Nicolas Charest for the bad ass shots!

But the TMXer whose name I kept hearing throughout the bout by the announcers, and deservedly so, was Leanderthal. She had a great all-around game for TMX in this one.

As for the Terminal City All-Stars, 8Mean Wheeler was her stellar self, as was Shift Kicker and Luludemon. I was also very impressed by Barra Couga, RollerGirl and Trixi Trippin Chix. They too played a great team game and matched up well with TMX across the board.

8Mean Wheeler just avoids the pile-up. Thanks Nicolas Charest for the bad ass shots!

One thing I will say is that I thought (and again, I was drunky) that both teams scored points at the end in the last jam. Anyone with a clearer recollection care to chime in? Either way, it doesn’t change the fact that two awesome teams met and battled epically.

Just as in the last week’s Underground opener, both of these bouts could be played again tomorrow and could have come out with a Kitsap sweep. That’s just how good all these skaters are.

So, sorry again for the lack of detail in this one. Don’t blame me. Blame Jim Beam for being delicious.

You did this to me Jim.

I don’t often get to drink, kick back and enjoy bouts very often anymore (usually I’m NSOing, announcing or diligently working the camera and notepad), so this was a PERFECT way to kick off my 2010 derby season, considering I won’t get too many more opportunities to do so later.

KITSAP DERBY BRATS vs. ATOMIC PIXIES

I was more tuned in for this one, as I was scorekeeping the junior derby action that took place at the true halftime of this event between the Kitsap Derby Brats and the Atomic Pixies (of Spokane). Affiliated with the Lilac City Rollergirls, they even have a junior all-star team beginning! It’s great to see the sport growing so rapidly amongst the younger ranks!

The Brat Pack. Thanks Nicolas Charest for the bad ass shots!

This was the first time I’ve gotten to see an actual junior derby bout and holy cow, these girls are gonna kick some serious ass come legal age time! When they can skate on the regular teams, it’s gonna revolutionize the sport similarly to how speedskating and hockey skating have. It’s gonna be a whole new ballgame.

But for now, they’re still too young. But that doesn’t make them any less skilled or feisty than their full-grown counterparts.

I don’t remember the final score (LOL) but I know early on, the Brats were thumping the Pixies pretty good thanks to the efforts of skaters like Mutch Mayhem and Champ Pain.  The Pixies battled back behind Karakin Skulls, Ivanna Czokabich and, on loan from the Seattle Derby Brats, Alexacutor and Lilly Lighting, making it close in the second half (they played two 15-minute halves), but Kitsap still held out for the win.

Seattle's Alexacutor, skating with Atomic, gets by Champ Pain. Thanks Nicolas Charest for the bad ass shots!

My two that really stood out though? For one, Whamsday Adams. I knew she’d be good (her mom is DRR coach Jenocidal) and I’d seen her skate a little, score presenting some Rainy City bouts even. But wow, she’s got the complete package. She can hit hard, she’s vocal, she’s smart and she reacts very quickly. Very dangerous combo.

Whamsday is as good as this shot makers her look. Thanks Nicolas Charest for the bad ass shots!

The other, Vanna Fright, the Tiniest Jammer. She couldn’t be more than 12 years old or so going up against some much, much larger teenagers and she never shied away. She was easily the smallest frame on the floor (like, watch-out-or-you’ll-step-on-her small), but skated with more heart than I’ve seen some in some adult skaters. It’s that kind of determination at such a young age that’s going to change EVERYTHING about the sport in years to come. I can’t wait to see the day!

Vanna Fright, the Tiniest Jammer. Thanks Nicolas Charest for the bad ass shots!

Great job to all the junior skaters though. I may have called out a few I remember busting big plays or such, but they all have skill. Derby is in a good place with the up-and-comers up and coming.

Short Track

Wow. What more to say after that? Well, a few things actually.

First off (and I meant to post this in last week’s blog), please join me in wishing Elwood Bruise well, as he should be arriving in Tulsa, Oklahoma today to begin his reign as head coach of the WFTDA-sanctioned Green Country Roller Girls. Elwood, who’s blog All Bout Derby you may have heard of :), has been instrumental in my succeeding with this blog as well, and from the very beginning. I simply sent him a message one day, asking questions about derby and covering derby, taking stats, all that kind of stuff. From the opening reply, he’s been nothing but helpful, making himself available to me as a derby resource round the clock. I was lucky enough to meet up with them all the Seattle Thunderbirds game almost two weeks ago (my first pro hockey game despite being a hockey fan since 2000), later partying at Skate Pauli Girl and Cop A. Phil’s T-Town pad til about 4 in the morning or so. Truly how any send off should end!

Elwood’s impact on the NW Derby scene is far and wide, and from day one, I’ve never pretended to reach as many people as he did or have the kind of impact he has, and will continue to have, on the sport. And that’s for one simple reason above all others. You don’t replace an Elwood Bruise.

So please, join me once again in saluting this great champion for the sport and wishing him the best of luck in his new digs. You’re gonna do badass coach Bruise!

OK…this weekend, Elwood’s home league, the Dockyard Derby Dames of Tacoma will be hosting a bout to benefit the Lakewood Police Independent Guild and honor the memories of the force’s fallen officers to tragedy all too recently.

Derby for a cause in Tacoma Sunday.

It’s $10 as a suggest donation at the Pierce College Health Ed Center. If you can make it, do it! It’s great derby for a great cause! I believe they’re doing this one intraleague, but you never now who’s libel to show up.

Also on the horizon at the end of this month is the Rainy City Black and White Scrimmages! These are always a blast and tons of girls and guys (that’s right…it’s co-ed) show up from the PacNW to take place. This year should be just a good.

Do it.

So ya. Come to that.

But there’s one date you have to circle and circle now, as tickets I’m sure are going fast. For the first time, Rainy City is battling the Oly Rollers, as RCRD gets ready for the Dropkick Donnas (formerly the Prima Donnas) on Valentine’s Day. Awwwwwwww.

Breaking hearts and body parts.

Don’t be fooled though. These girls may look sweet and precious, but they’d kick your ass. And my ass just for saying it. Seriously though, this bout is going to be extremely fun, if not for the Oly-Rainy City battle, then also for the fact that Oly’s newest team, the Bella Donnas (freshmeat and newer skaters) will be going up against Edie Disorder, Skate Oddity and the rest of the Cherry City Derby Girls. Good times! And besides. We all know you have nothing better to do on Valentine’s Day.

Then there’s also this little tournament coming up, the Wild West Showdown. I’ll link it, but I’m gonna tease you with that for now.

So word up kids…derby is back in session!

Thurston

After beginning late last derby season, Underground Derby League (out of Olympia, Wash.) finally got to celebrate a season-opener.

The league, a split from the Oly Rollers late last season, also consists of former Ft. Lewis Bettie Brigade skaters. Along with a host of fresh faces, they set out to prove one thing: They’re ready now.

Underground has already built four league teams: The Oly Outlaws, the South Bay Bombers, the Diva Derby Dolls and the Rolling Regulators. And while talent ranges from exceptionally good to still pretty fresh on each team, an all-star team out of this league could hang with just about anyone.

But that’s what this season opener was all about; letting everyone know just where they are, and just where they want to go.

The league hosted its opener on Sunday, Jan. 10 at Skateland in Oly, doing a mini-tournament format among its four teams to see which can call itself the best early.

Now, I had heard from some people that saw their bout late last season that many of the skaters were still very green – like, shouldn’t-be-bouting-yet-cause-of-injury-concern green. So I went in with tempered expectations. And I left very pleasantly surprised. Everyone who was skating was at least minimally bout ready, but the vast majority are ready and ready now.

The opening bout saw the Outlaws battle the Bombers. Things began innocently enough, with Bomber jammer Lil Tonka getting a 3-0 edge. But then the hits started flying. Outlaw Tiffinator laid out Bomber jammer Naughty Mommy en route to a 4-3 split for the Outlaws (making it 6-4 Bombers overall). The Bombers would hold that lead for a long time, but not easily.

The jams stayed close, with a lot of scores ranging from 3-0 and 4-0 either way to 8-7 and 9-7 either way. Ultimately, the Bombers built up a 66-60 lead late into the bout thanks to two from Naughty Mommy, despite starting the jam in the box, to three points for Outlaw Anaconda.

But then things got interesting.

With time winding down, the Outlaws knew they had to make a move, so the blockers got feisty. Tamazon and Rapunzel laid huge hits on Bomber jammer Brennocalypse Now, opening the door for Outlaw jammer Miss Match to take of for 16 points, giving the Outlaws their first lead at 76-69.

But then, with Krazie jamming for the Bombers alongside her Outlaw counterpart Anaconda, the Bombers regained control. Bomber Dirty Disgrace was one of several holding Anaconda at bay, eventually frustrating her enough to force a penalty, sending Anaconda to the box. Then, Krazie handed the jammer cap off to Lil Tonka, and between them, went on a 20-0 run to regain the lead 89-76.

With one more shot, and Anaconda starting in the box for the Outlaws, Stealth Blond Bomber avoided Outlaw blockers long enough for a grand slam. By the time Anaconda returned to the track, it was simply too late. The Bombers held onto the win 98-83.

That brought up the other half of the first round (and my only real gripes of the night). This one set the Divas up against the Regulators.

Very first jam. Bad Medicine toeing the jammer line for the Divas against KlonDyke of the Regulators. Good opening defense by the Regulators’ blockers leads to a 13-0 Regulator lead after one. KlonDyke is sent to the box near the end of the jam.

Second jam. This time Diva jammer Scandela busts out 10 uncontested points before KlonDyke returns from the box, unable to tack any points on herself. So, it should be Regulators 13, Divas 10.

So then tell me why the scoreboard read 23-2? Then 25-2. Then 26-2, all in favor of the Divas? I know there’s not some greater pro-Diva conspiracy at hand. Truth be told, almost all, if not all of the NSOs were working their first bouts. So it’s likely just a simple error on their part, but one that would greatly impact the outcome of this bout.

Despite the disparity in points (which I’m guessing the Regulators didn’t notice based on the lack of argument around it), the Regulators battled back, with RR’s Foxy Blocker picking up 12 points to Diva Lil Miss Stuffit’s 3. That made it 29-14 and kept the Regulators within striking distance.

The bout pretty much went back and forth at that point, with the Diva’s holding on to that lead. Then, in the 10th jam, after Foxy helped the Regulators within 7 at 40-33, she stayed in to jam again, this time against Scandela. Foxy made the most of it, flooring Scandela herself en route to a 8-4 advantage. With three more from Gloria Sass in the next jam, the Regulators found themselves tied up at 44-44 with the Divas.

The Regulators went back to Foxy Blocker at teh jam line next, who found herself skating against Bad Medicine. This time is was Medicine’s turn to step up for the Divas, logging four points to Foxy’s one, putting the Divas back up 48-45. Scandela and Lil Miss Stuffit each added points, making it 59-49 Divas heading into the final jam. Foxy Blocker remained busy, capping the night for the Regulators with four straight turns as jammer (although she was sent to the box for one jam, resulting in her jamming in the subsequent jam.

This was the jam everyone was waiting for. Lined up against Diva Jacky Oh Nasty, Foxy was again physical right off the starting line, earning her a head start of sorts and lead jammer status. And while she racked up 16 points, Jacky got through for seven. That’s right kids…the Divas held on 66-65.

Now that score is actually very indicative of the talent levels on these teams, as no one team of the four stood out greatly against the others. However, with that 13 points they should have had (that it appeared the Divas got credit for), it could have been something more like 78-53 Regulators.

Again, it was the first time for these NSOs and some of the ref crew as well (aided by Rainy City Roller Doll Killer B and Slaughter County Roller Vixen Brawlyanna in their reffing debuts), and everyone makes mistakes. But had I been on a team from Idaho or Oregon or something, come all the way out to play and then lost by a point after that, I’d be pretty upset. Another reason this bout is a great opener for everyone, not just skaters. And for teh most part, that was really the only major scoring gaffe on the night.

So, that set up a final bout between the Divas and the Bombers, both teams itching to take the lead position for the league as the season begins. But both teams controlled their nerves well, playing smart and defensive strategies that kept this bout much more low-scoring than its two predecessors.

Illustrating this was the scoreboard itself. After Scandela logged a fast four for the Divas, she called it off quick, making it 4-0 Divas. Scores then went like this: 8-8, 11-8 Divas, 15-14 Divas, 18-15 Bombers, 19-18 Divas, 22-22, 27-22 Divas (that one was thanks to a big grand slam by Bad Medicine), then 29-27 Bombers (this one thanks to Naughty Mommy, who overcame starting in the box to put up a 7-0 differential). Krazie then logged another 5 for the Bombers, calling it off after a quick grand slam of her own, to make it 34-27. That score held, thanks to great defensive blocking on both sides, for the final two jams.

So after it was all said and done, it was the South Bay Bombers getting a leg up on their interleague competition and early bragging rights in the league’s first full season.

Each team had lots of reasons to be happy however. The skill levels for each team are very comprable. Should this tourney happen again tomorrow, you could have entirely different scores and results. This should also make their travel team, the Death Dealers, one to watch for come travel season.

There were many skaters that left me impressed.

For the Oly Outlaws, Anaconda, Miss Match, Rapunzel and Tiffinator come to mine specifically. With a good core mix of blockers and jammers, they’ll only mesh more ont he track as teh season moves forward.

For the South Bay Bombers, Lil Tonka and Krazie really made an impression on me as jammers, Tonka especially. And with help from teammates like Chronic MasterSkater, Dirty DisGrace, Stealth Blond Bomber and Malice in Wonderland, it’s no wonder they came out on top in a close tournament.

The Diva Derby Dolls will only benefit from the continued improvement of already strong skaters like Bad Medicine, Jacky Oh Nasty, JP Snatches, Scandela and SheBites.

The same can be said for the Rolling Regulators, with Foxy Blocker, Gloria Sass, Junie B. Jonesin, KlonDyke and more.

But again, the greatest overall impression I left with Sunday night was the overall talent level of the league as a whole, not just individual skaters. It should be a lot of fun to watch this league as it grows.

Short Track

One note after watching the tournament I’d like to say to the refs (well, let’s be honest, to one ref specifically; I didn’t get the name). If you are a jam ref, WATCH YOU F**KING JAMMER!?!?!?! At times I felt like I was taking crazy pills as I watched this ref watch the pack, then the NSOs, then something shiny, but RARELY HIS JAMMER! That should be your No. 1 priority as a jam ref, and I know that at least four MAJOR cutting penalties were missed because he didn’t see them. How do I know he didn’t see them? Because I did, and when they weren’t called, I’d look at him and he’d be looking somewhere else completely. As a rules geek and derby fan, this is SOOOOOO frustrating to watch and it certainly impacts the outcome of the bouts. So, to any and all refs out there (who by and large and nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for), please watch your jammer when jam reffing. Pretty pretty please!

OK.

With that out of the way, you should come to Bremerton this weekend as Rainy City debuts a party team under skater-turned-coach-for-a-bout Crack Attack: The Crackers! It should be an epically fun time as Rainy City will have several skaters in their first bouts, or in other cases, seeing the most significant action they have on the track yet. They’ll be bouting Slaughter County’s Death Rattle Rollers, always a fun team to skate against, as the undercard to the night’s main event: The Terrormedixxx versus the Terminal City Rollergirls of Vancouver, B.C.

Crackers yo!

Two of my favorite non-Rainy City teams going toe to toe? Gah! Who to root for? It’s gonna be epic fun. And as if that wasn’t enough action, the Kitsap Derby Brats will be putting on a halftime exhibition (and I’ll be scorekeeping that one…woot!). But yes, it’s this Saturday at the Kitsap Fairgrounds Pavilion. You can get more info about it here.

If you’re gonna be down in Portland, make sure you check out the Rose City Rollers season debut too, and send my undying derby love to Miss Mel Mangles and the Guns N’ Rollers, who are prepping for a year of derby domination!