After finishing 2014 with the most-successful season in its five-year existence, the primary travel squad of the St. Chux Derby Chix launches a new campaign this weekend with a road trip to a highly competitive invitational in Arizona.
The St. Charles-based “Pack In Black” plays this Saturday and Sunday at the inaugural “How the West Was Won” event in Chandler, AZ.
St. Chux, currently ranked #38 internationally by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), battles three squads in sanctioned games: #34 Arizona, #50 Brewcity and #58 Calgary.
The stakes are high for a team that notched numerous benchmarks last year. SCDC appeared at its first-ever WFTDA playoff last August, finishing third in the Division 2 playoff round held in Duluth, MN en route to an 11-2 overall record.
Transitioning from the bronze medal achieved last season to this weekend’s 1,450-mile journey to the metallically-nicknamed “Copper State,” St. Chux begins the new docket classified as Division 1, earmarked for the forty highest-ranked WFTDA leagues internationally.
“2014 was a really great season for us and we are so excited to see what 2015 holds,” said Pack In Black captain Pixie Dust-Ruction. “This will be our first season ranked as a Division 1 team and our goal is to make it to WFTDA Division 1 playoffs this year. We have set up a very competitive season and we hope to continue our year over year trend of climbing our way up the WFTDA rankings.”
Numerous veterans that were are part of last season’s playoff mix are taking the Arizona trip. Jammers G.I. Jamie, Flash, Vixen TaGetcha and Jedi Knight-N-Gale all saw personal career bests in scoring last year. Sleazy E, a late-season transfer from St. Louis-based Arch Rival, adds an additional layer of scoring depth.
Sturdy, steady veteran blockers are also penciled in for this weekend’s trek. Alongside the aforementioned Dust-Ruction, SCDC’s walls will be assembled by Whip L’Ash, Tara Eyes, Slaughter Haus, Lisa Frank-N-Stein, Jane Error and Zombie Firebomb.
The 2014 St. Chux charter for “How the West Was Won” also includes Nikki Trixx, Big Red, Peg E. Sass, Zo D. Ax, Blue Collar Brawler and Joanie Rollmoan.
“Everyone has been working really hard, both on and off the track,” assessed Dust-Ruction. ”We have had some turnover since last season and have had to do a little bit of rebuilding, but we have so many players who are so hungry to play. I have been so impressed with really everyone and how hard we have all been working to prepare for this season.”
Saturday’s schedule begins with an 8 AM (MST) game against Calgary and concludes with a 3:45 PM meeting with Milwaukee’s Brewcity. A highly anticipated showdown with host Arizona is slated Sunday at 2:45 PM.
It’s a pretty ambitious schedule for St. Chux this weekend with separate games against three leagues that also possess upward trajectories and post-season aspirations. Dust-Ruction knew full well that SCDC had to aggressively pursue the inaugural event out West if the squad wanted to maintain its footing within WFTDA Division 1.
“We were a little apprehensive about an invitational being our first competitive outing of the season, but we are super excited to be a part of ’How the West Was Won,’” said the captain. “We are really hoping that this will set a positive tone for the rest of our season.”
An inside look at SCDC’s opponents this weekend reveals leagues that also look to continue rankings growth after surging seasons in 2014.
ARIZONA ROLLER DERBY – One of the success stories last year in the WFTDA was the rapid rise of the Tent City Terrors. A team that was out of the post-season mix altogether in 2013, Arizona reloaded on talent to begin 2014, surged 33 positions up the rankings ladder in the span of four months and made its first appearance in the WFTDA Division 1 Tournament. Seeded tenth heading into the Evansville, IN playoff round last September, AZRD finished fifth with a three-point win over Nashville and concluded the year 11-1 in sanctioned play.
One of its victories last season was a 216-200 nail biter over St. Chux at Midwest Brewhaha last May.
“When we last met Arizona, it was a very close competition, but we are hoping the tables will be turned this time,” said SCDC’s Dust-Ruction “We are really excited to play Arizona again. They are a very classy team.”
With its current rank of #34, Arizona competes in its first set of games this calendar year. Paced by jammer Atomatrix, who helped Team USA to gold at the 2014 Women’s World Cup, the squad boasts a plethora of skaters that were imperative in last year’s climb, including veterans Luz Chaos, Loco Lena, Ginger Reeking Havoc, The Little Grave Toaster, Amunisha, Blok N DekHer, Cannible Corpse and Pushy Tushy.
As the highest-ranked of the four leagues this weekend, the hostesses will be targeted. Home cooking does give AZRD a considerable edge compared to those that have to fly in. That being said, talent and overall team strength is at the forefront and that will be their narrative this weekend. Much like last year’s storybook season, the Tent City Terrors want to open eyes with a fast launch. A three-game sweep this weekend will get the campaign off to a positive start.
BREWCITY BRUISERS – A familiar name to Missourian derby leagues, Milwaukee’s Best, currently ranked #50 internationally, takes to the flat-track for the first time in 2015 this weekend. Last season, Brewcity placed seventh in the WFTDA Division 2 playoff round in Duluth and finished 14-7 overall.
That’s 21 games last year! One thing could be said about the keggers. They certainly “bellied up to the bar” with a full schedule. Although the complete 2015 docket isn’t solidified yet, they’ve got the trio of games this weekend and a minimum pair plotted for both Spring Roll in May and its self-hosted Midwest Brewhaha in June. An assumed full barrel is again on the horizon.
And that suits this scrappy squad just fine. One thing that is unpredictable about Brewcity is its jammer rotation for a particular game, given the charter’s depth at that position. Nimble veterans Skittle, Scooter and Zo-Tay are equally supplemented by hard-chargers Frank Hurt’r, Stormin’ DaCastle and Sharkira. Which jammers make the trek out West is a coin flip.
One thing, however, is a Brewcity constant. The Bruisers love to hit….hard. The blocking schema, paced by BCB captain T-Lo, Stryker, Frau Kapow, The Other White Meat, Carabunga, Freight Train, Puss N’ Boots and a host of others with post-season experience, will lay down the foundation.
In Saturday’s afternoon meeting with St. Chux, Brewcity looks to avenge a 204-162 setback suffered last June.
“The bout against Brewcity had its close moments, but in the second half we were able to pull ahead and take the win,” said SCDC’s Dust-Ruction of last year’s tussle. “We are hoping to keep a more comfortable lead against Brewcity this time.”
Brewcity seems to excel in a multi-game weekend environment. This should be no different. A 2-1 finish is quite possible and would provide those who watch the WFTDA rankings closely a good “beer buzz.”
CALGARY ROLLER DERBY ASSOCIATION – The CRDA All-Stars became a fully sanctioned WFTDA team last season and certainly impressed in its maiden upper-tier launch. A perfect 8-0 mark in sanctioned play that included seven triple-digit victories, five of which had winning differentials of plus-200 points.
The 2014 campaign resulted in a quick sprint up the governing body’s ladder. Currently ranked #60 internationally, the Albertans already have a non-sanctioned tune-up in hand this year, a 462-15 February triumph over unaffiliated Thunder Bay.
Numerous starters return to the CRDA line-up this season, including jammer Kris Myass, who played for Team Canada at the 2014 Women’s World Cup, as well as Andi Linquent, Easy Break Oven, Lucy Flawless, Chrissy Cruizzer, Kiki Tiki Bang Bang, Mulan Bruise and Sin-e-star.
The Saturday morning tangle with St. Chux will be the inaugural meeting between the two leagues.
“Whenever we play a team that is new to us, we just remember that all we can do is play our game and try not to worry about the score,” said SCDC’s Dust-Ruction.
As they enter the invitational with the lowest rank, Calgary has the most to potentially gain this weekend. Even if handed defeat, close differentials against its higher-ranked competitors should provide the Canadians enough traction to gain the momentum needed to earn its inaugural trip to the WFTDA playoffs later this year.
Then again, Calgary doesn’t want to think about a loss. Undefeated since August 2013, they want to keep the winning streak intact.
“How the West Was Won” also features games with squads from the Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA) and the Junior Roller Derby Association (JRDA).
For more information on the St. Chux Derby Chix, go to stchuxderbychix.com.
“HOW THE WEST WAS WON” WOMEN’S SCHEDULE
(All times Mountain Standard Time)
SATURDAY, MARCH 7
8 AM – St. Chux vs. Calgary
10:45 AM – Arizona vs. Brewcity
3:45 PM – St. Chux vs. Brewcity
6:30 PM – Arizona vs. Calgary
SUNDAY, MARCH 8
10:45 AM – Brewcity vs. Calgary
2:45 PM – St. Chux vs. Arizona
(There is no live stream available for this event.)