An internationally-recognized roller derby invitational takes place in St. Louis County this weekend and the stakes are high for the local women’s and men’s teams that are competing.
At the three-day event, 16 individual games will take place. Half of the games are sanctioned by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) while the other eight are sanctioned by the Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA).
Arch Rival, currently ranked ninth internationally by the WFTDA, has games slotted against #2 Gotham, #7 Denver and #21 Dallas. Meanwhile the GateKeepers, the current two-time defending champions of the MRDA, has contests against #9 Magic City, #14 Denver and #22 Twin Cities.
Both teams aim for three-game sweeps at the conclusion of the weekend.
Arch Rival (1-2) launched its season with a pair of setbacks at the Big O Invitational in early-May. However, they couldn’t shake their manes in frustration at the two losses for St. Louis competed well in contests against WFTDA’s top-ranked Victorian and #4 Angel City. A dominant 223-138 win over #11 Crime City resulted in an overall productive “Big O” weekend.
“We walked away from Big O feeling pretty satisfied with our performance,” reflected ARCH co-captain Bricktator. “All three opponents actively sought us out after the games to tell us that we were incredibly challenging to play. That feedback encourages us to continue to play strong roller derby and ensure we end with scores indicative of our talent.”
Alongside Bricktator, jamming will be paced this weekend by Harmony Killerbruise and Annie Swanson while Bolt Action and Kayla Woodward will complement. The latter duo will also function as blockers alongside starters Cloak N’ Drag-Her, Smarty McFly, Shear-Ra Powers, Salty, Shimmy Hoffa, Jamheiser Bush, Krista Grant, CupQuake and Party Foul.
Blockers Cruella Belle-ville, Fletch-A-Sketch, Nox and Pegasass are also on the ARCH charter this weekend.
Just like “Big O,” ARCH’s three-game docket this weekend will contain a pair of battles against higher-ranked squads and a donnybrook with a hard-charging unit looking for an upward push in the WFTDA calculated rankings.
Friday night’s finale against Dallas will be the first meeting between the pair in two years, the Saturday match-up against Gotham, a four-time WFTDA international champion, is an inaugural clash and Sunday’s showdown against Denver renews a long-time rivalry.
“All three teams that we’ll play at Sibling Rivalry have different lineups than they did last year,” said Bricktator of ARCH’s ensuing match-ups. “It’s exciting to see different blends of skaters but it also makes the game much less predictable.”
ARCH’s ultimate goal this weekend is to finish with results that will keep them within the Top 10 of the WFTDA calculated rankings and give the locals a push heading into a post-season bracket that gets revealed next month.
“In addition to being physically tough, we have to play smart derby,” said Bricktator. “We have been very intentional during training to integrate specific strategies to dictate game play. Now it’s time to execute these strategies.”
Meanwhile, the GateKeepers (4-0) are looking to extend their 25-game winning streak in MRDA-sanctioned action. At the aforementioned “Big O” weekend, St. Louis grabbed a three-game sweep. There was a pair of lopsided wins over #5 Puget Sound (283-104) and unranked Wheels of Mayhem (437-11) but a last-jam, two-point win over #4 Bridgetown Menace (134-132) was the eye-opener that the team quite honestly needed.
“We took so much away from that game to work on back at practices,” said GKRD co-captain Percy Controll. “All of our early season games, really. We have really buckled down to apply everything we have learned to our system to make it better, faster, and stronger, and it’s definitely showing. The fire is definitely lit.”
Alongside Controll, blocking will be paced by Spin Diesel, Bled Zeppelin, Double Excel, The Saint, Monster Jam, Inquadable Hulk, Wrecking Bill, Fruit Wall-Up, The Doc and Sir Nixalot. Jamming will be paced by Magnum P.I.M.P., ScreechAround, Shane Bower, David Metcalfe and Corey Porter. Also on the GKRD A-team charter this weekend are Last Rites, HEYNONGMAN and Thrillhouse.
St. Louis is familiar with all three teams they are competing against. The GateKeepers competed against both Magic City and Denver at the inaugural “Sibling Rivalry” event last year and Twin Cities has been a long-time adversary.
“These teams are all teams that we have great relationships with and we know well, but they have all had a lot of growth since our last meetings,” assessed Controll. “We are excited to see how we stack up with all the work we have been putting in too. I think it’ll be different from anything we have seen before.”
At the 2016 “Rivalry” inaugural event, the St. Louis-based teams finished 6-0 collectively and the squads seek similar results this weekend. This weekend will be the only appearance of the A-teams this year locally.
“As travel team schedules shift towards more tournaments and less individual games, we do not have as many opportunities to showcase our talent in St. Louis,” said ARCH’s Bricktator. “At Sibling Rivalry, St. Louis will have three chances to watch us play against some of the top talent in the world. These types of matchups only happen a few times a year in a few cities around the country. It is not to be missed.”
“Our crowd drives us,” added GKRD’s Controll. Seeing the faces of our fans and loved ones pushes us harder and harder every time. The feeling of pride we get succeeding for our friends, family, fans, and city is unmatched. We hope we can give them the best experience possible.”
Here is a look at the other teams competing this weekend at “Sibling Rivalry”:
#2 – GOTHAM GIRLS ROLLER DERBY (1-0): The four-time WFTDA Hydra Cup champs finished with the silver medal the last two international finales and some critics were thinking that the New Yorkers might take a dip with the 2016 post-tourney transfers of team lynchpins Bonnie Thunders and OMGWTF. However, the Big Apple certainly impressed with their 215-98 shellacking of #7 Denver at its April season opener that quickly silenced naysayers.
That eye-opening victory certainly illustrated the depth that the New Yorkers contain. Jammers Shortstop, Miss Tea Maven and Space Invader aim to score points with a plethora of veteran Hydra Cup-raising blockers – ten that competed at last year’s finale – to lay down the foundation. Veterans Vanessa “V-Diva” Sites, Caf Fiend, Brazilian Nut, Sexy Sladie, Violet Knockout and Roxy Dallas will set up the walls. Gotham’s three-game set this weekend contains a re-match against Denver and hard battles against the locals and Minnesota. In short, Gotham desires a dominant sweep in Ballwin to maintain its current rank.
Opponents: Denver, Arch Rival, Minnesota
#7 – DENVER ROLLER DERBY (1-4) – Don’t let that record fool you. Following the April setback to #2 Gotham, Denver lost to two-time defending WFTDA champs Rose City (222-154), #4 Angel City (190-162) and #5 Texas (195-162) at the “Big O.” Quite honestly, those finals were pretty dang close and the Mile High Club could gain some traction with their play this weekend. With four games on the ledger, they have a Friday re-match against Gotham, a Saturday showdown with comparably-ranked Minnesota, a late-evening tussle with Dallas and a Sunday sizzler with Arch Rival on the schedule.
Jammer Scald Eagle, a 2017 transfer from two-time defending WFTDA champ Rose City, is expected to have plenty of star possessions this weekend. Gypin, Wilhelm, Klein and others will compliment the rotation while veteran blockers S.H. Long, Anghel, Brawn Swanson, Akers, Garton and Barrett lay down the foundation. A 2-1 finish would be ideal this weekend. If they gain revenge against Gotham and secure the sweep, the effects would greatly affect future rankings.
Opponents: Gotham, Minnesota, Dallas, Arch Rival
#8 – MINNESOTA ROLLERGIRLS (2-2) – This weekend marks the Gopher’s State second appearance at “Sibling Rivalry” and positive results are anticipated. At the “Big O” weekend, MNRG had setbacks to #3 Rose City and #5 Texas but trapped a 217-134 win over #15 Rat City. Minnesota also notched a 251-92 home triumph over #24 Philly in April that adds to their current even record.
A familiar face returns to Midwest Sport Hockey as former Arch Rival All-Star Brickyard competes in her second full season with MNRG and will be featured in the jammer rotation. Veterans Jacked Pipes and Hertrude Stein will also add rotations. Key to Minnesota’s success this weekend will be the steady blocking of Second Hand Smoke, Shiver Me Kimbers, Scarmen Hellectra, Rhea Volt, Diamond Rough and others. A win over Dallas is projected and a victory over Gotham might be a tough task, so claiming a triumph over Denver seems to be the imperative if Minnesota wishes to finish the weekend with, at minimum, a 2-1 record.
Opponents: Dallas, Denver, Gotham
#21 – DALLAS DERBY DEVILS (0-1) – As the lowest-ranked team competing this weekend, the “Army of Darkness” have the most to gain and if they keep the differentials close to their higher-ranked opponents across the board, they will certainly get a boost. Hey, if they record a win during the weekend, even better! Their lone contest heading into the event was a 277-66 loss to #5 Texas back in April.
Numerous veterans return to the team that reached the WFTDA Division 1 playoffs last year and finished fifth in their respective playoff. Jammers Anita Riot, Jett and Bazooka Bubble Bum pace the jamming rotation while blockers Bayleigh Wheat, Animal Lee, Blakely, Gillotine Grace, Mona Bruis’r, Nix Victim and Planet of the Skates assist. Overall for Dallas, the missive is to play clean in order to gain victory and if losses occur, at least keep them tight.
Opponents: Minnesota, Arch Rival, Denver
#9 – MAGIC CITY MISFITS (2-1) – The Floridian rollers are getting the most out of their trek this weekend as they will have four games at “Sibling Rivalry.” The team’s 2-1 record was a result of their outcomes at the “March Man-ness” invitational held earlier this year. Victories were claimed over #10 Mass Maelstrom and #11 Philly and a nine-point loss to #8 New York Shock Exchange provided optimism.
With the schedule in front of them, a 3-1 finish is projected this weekend. Opponents: St. Louis, Twin Cities, Sydney, Denver
#14 – DENVER GROUND CONTROL (0-0) – The team was extremely aggressive in its scheduling last season and the sweat equity paid off as Denver finished 2016 with an 8-5 record . This weekend marks the first track play of the squad in 2017 and their three game docket is pretty ambitious with a re-match against the St. Louis and first-time meetings with Magic City and Sydney.
Right now on paper, Denver is on the bubble for a potential MRDA post-season entry. Opponents: Sydney, St. Louis, Magic City
#22 – TWIN CITY TERRORS (2-3) – The Minnesota men’s entry, who competed at their first-ever MRDA championships two seasons ago, have been active and have notched good wins over #38 New Orleans and unranked Wisconsin. The task is tough against the higher-ranked squads so the goal is to stay competative on the scoreboard. Opponents: Magic City, Sydney, St. Louis
UNR – SYDNEY CITY SMASH (1-4) – The squad that is anticipated to get the most derby-lovin’ this weekend are the Aussies that just started recording MRDA-sanctioned games last November. The SMASH Brothers have recorded a sanctioned victory over unranked continent-compatriot Canberra’s Capital Carnage (290-103). They have also had sanctioned games against unranked brothers Brisbane and Victorian as well as the Thunderquads of Argentina.
Sydney’s derby IQ will get a huge boost at this event. Opponents: Denver, Magic City, Twin Cities
Admission for each day of action is $15 but one can purchase a three-day pass for $40 by going to this link. Children 10 and under get in free for the weekend.
SIBLING RIVALRY SCHEDULE
FRIDAY, JUNE 23
12 PM – Minnesota vs. Dallas (WFTDA)
2 PM – Denver vs. Gotham (WFTDA)
4 PM – Sydney vs. Denver (MRDA)
6 PM – Magic City vs. STL Gatekeepers (MRDA)
8 PM – Arch Rival vs. Dallas (WFTDA)
SATURDAY, JUNE 24
10 AM – Magic City vs. Twin Cities (MRDA)
12 PM – Denver vs. Minnesota (WFTDA)
2 PM – Denver vs. STL GateKeepers (MRDA)
4 PM – Arch Rival vs. Gotham (WFTDA)
6 PM – Magic City vs. Sydney (MRDA)
8 PM – Denver vs. Dallas (WFTDA)
SUNDAY, JUNE 25
10 AM – Sydney vs. Twin Cities (MRDA)
12 PM – Gotham vs. Minnesota (WFTDA)
2 PM – Magic City vs. Denver (MRDA)
4 PM – Arch Rival vs. Denver (WFTDA)
6 PM – Twin Cities vs. STL GateKeepers (MRDA)