When the St. Louis-based Arch Rival Roller Girls were founded in 2005, many naysayers, including those within its inner-circle, were uncertain if the women’s flat-track roller derby franchise would exist after a couple of years.
Those critics were inevitably proven wrong as the league not only survived but flourished in the area’s perpetually-changing sports complexion. In the past decade, the locals have pushed itself to international recognition and are currently ranked tenth internationally by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) out of 283 leagues.
With its evolution on the flat-track internally, the league this month decided to take a major step in re-branding itself externally. In recent years, certain WFTDA leagues have eliminated words such as “girls,” “dames,” “dolls” and “foxes” as brand identifiers. As a result, the Show-Me State skaters desired to stay in stride with that trend.
To provide an opportunity for transgender women, cisgender women, intersex women, and gender expansive participants in the St. Louis region to compete in the sport, the league officially changed its name to Arch Rival Roller Derby at its local championships held earlier this month. The reveal coincides with the launch of its primary travel team schedule that occurs later this month.
“We are kicking off our travel season as Arch Rival Roller Derby and we are tickled pink (and black) about it,” said Board of Directors’ member Amanda “CupQuake” Leone, referring to the league’s primary colors. “It’s nothing that hasn’t been done by scores of teams recently, and it’s a subtle change, but an important one for us.”
Alongside the name change for the 10-year-old franchise, its capital-lettered identifier has also been modified from ARRG to ARCH. Currently, the organization has over 50 flat-track athletes that compete at its local events as well as over 30 support personnel.
“Our league encompasses a lot of people of varying genders and identities, and we hope this name change outwardly reflects the safe and welcoming environment that we have here at ARCH,” said Leone. “Our product is the sport of roller derby. To be recognized as athletes rather than as a gender is something roller derby has struggled with historically. With seemingly small steps like this name change, we are helping fight that.”
Arch Rival Roller Derby begins its primary travel team campaign with a trio of games at the Big O Invitational, held in Eugene, Oregon, later this month. Last November, the squad made its inaugural appearance at the WFTDA International Championships.
ARCH begins its three-team local season in November at Midwest Sport Hockey in Ballwin, MO.
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