Derby Days are here again. The sixth season of Anchorage roller derby kicks off October 26 with the Monster Mash Up bout at AT&T Sports Pavilion off O’Malley and Old Seward. This is a mixed teams bout featuring skaters from the two Anchorage teams. Currently there are 6 home bouts scheduled between now and May, and Alaska Commons will be there providing coverage of them all.
As part of my own preseason preparation, I spent Thursday night talking to the captains from the two teams, getting some background information on the organization, and familiarizing myself with the teams and personalities.
The Rage City Rollergirl’s have two teams, the All*Stars and the Orange Crush. The All*Stars team is the top tier (or “A”) team, co-captained by veterans JENetically EVIL (#76) and Deuce Gunner (#.50). The team competes nationally in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFDA).
Because the All*Stars compete with teams across the country (and even across the world) there’s a significant amount of travel (and travel funds) that they have to cover each season. To cover these costs, the team uses several fundraising strategies. First, there’s a “pay to play” membership fee for all of the skaters. Second of all they have numerous fundraisers throughout the year, including the SMASH N BASH event that we covered earlier in the summer and the Black Eye and Tie Gala Celebration tonight. Last (but not least) of all there are the bouts themselves. Funds from the bouts go a long way in filling the organizations coffers, especially since they get a lot of “in kind” donations from partner businesses like the Peanut Farm.
The local bouts aren’t just for fundraising though, they’re a good opportunity to practice against teams from outside the league, and they give the Orange Crush “B” team a chance to gain experience. The Orange Crush are co captained by Sarah Impale’Em (#2012) and Ness U. UP (#530).
During Scrimmages and local bouts, the two teams will often trade skaters for a night. By sending veterans to the “B” team and bringing up younger rookies to play with more seasoned skaters, skills and tactics can be easily taught to newer skaters. Anything that makes skaters on the B team better makes for better competition between the two teams, and gives the All*Stars a better recruiting pool.
According to the WFDA website, the All*Stars were ranked 96 overall in June, but JEN EVIL told me that she thought with their recent wins in their Japanese tournament appearance that they were closer to 88. The All*Stars currently compete in Division 2, the more they compete with Division 2 teams, and the more they win and score, the higher their rank in the national standings. As an example, both Anchorage and Fairbanks played the Bellingham Roller Betties last year. Both Alaska teams lost, but Anchorage scored more points and lost by a narrow margin, so they gained points and ranks in the standings. Filling out their competitive bouts each year is a challenge, since it requires being able to bring teams up to Anchorage or being able to take the team down south.
That’s why bouts like the one on October 26 are important; they raise funds and keep both teams in top shape for the heavy competition ahead. So make sure you come out and support these awesome women as they skate, bash, and maneuver around the track on October 26.