Showdown in the Sound

26 Feb

~ Wild West Showdown, Feb. 26-28 | Art: Kryzstof Nemeth ~

This weekend, Bremerton becomes the center of the roller derby universe, as 19 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 for three days of knock-down, drag-out roller derby mayhem at the Wild West Showdown, hosted by Kitsap’s own Slaughter County Roller Vixens, Feb. 26-28 @ the Kitsap County Fairgrounds in East Bremerton. We’ve got a dispatch from Northwest Roller Derby Scribe Thurston Gore. . .

“We’re totally excited,” said Slaughter County Roller Vixen Kitten with a Whip, one of the tournament organizers. “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 The tournament will take place at the Kitsap Sun Pavilion, as well as the President’s Hall. A variety of vendors and food will also be available.

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.

And 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):

[ And find more from Northwest derby scribe Thurston Gore on his blog ‘Rock and Roller Derby’ @ ]

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 (DNN; 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, Brick Wallace, Des Demona and Surly Q 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.


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