After a successful inaugural event twelve months ago, the St. Chux Derby Chix are set to host the second installment of “Skate to Thrill,” a two-day, ten team invitational this weekend at Matteson Square Gardens in St. Peters (3051 Industrial Park Place West.)
Launching Saturday morning at 8 AM, all 15 games scheduled are sanctioned by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) and the ensuing results apply to each respective league’s calculated rankings.
This weekend’s event has plenty of local flavor as both SCDC’s Pack In Black, currently ranked #36 internationally, and St. Louis-based Arch Rival, currently ranked #23, are featured in numerous games.
“Skate to Thrill” is the brainchild of former SCDC skater and current ARRG All-Star Ninja Sass ‘Em after her former squad was denied entry to nearby tournaments and invitationals.
“Ninja found a work around by creating her own tournament,” said event co-head referee Spin Diesel. “With the endorsement and sponsorship of her then home league, (SCDC) began planning what would become a highly competitive invitational roller derby event. At the onset of planning, we knew we wanted to set expectations high.”
Both Sass ‘Em and Diesel utilized their respective tenures as active traveling skating officials and players to lay the foundation for the event’s inaugural launch.
“We had attended many similarly-styled events and we used those experiences to help drive our goals towards creating a product that was highly competitive which would attract both skilled teams and officials,” Diesel said.
Placement in the April 2014 debut proved to be lucrative for all the teams due to the close proximately of the competing leagues’ rankings. The ten squads competing at the time were gunning for traction within WFTDA’s Division 2, then classified for teams ranked over fortieth internationally.
At the inaugural event, St. Chux collected a three-game sweep, including an upset over higher-ranked Fort Myers that helped its cause in obtaining a first-time WFTDA post-season trip later that summer.
“Last year was a lot of fun and a great success all around,” recalls St. Chux captain Pixie Dust-Ruction. “I think my favorite bout that weekend was our bout against Fort Myers. They were a lot of fun, it was really close pretty much the whole time, and it was the final game of the tournament.”
For its sophomore campaign, “Skate to Thrill” has a more rankings diverse line-up. Half of the teams are classified by the WFTDA as Division 1, earmarked for the Top 40 ranked leagues internationally. That being said, the match-ups designed for this weekend still took into consideration each league’s current WFTDA rank and comparable leagues were scheduled against each other.
#36 St. Chux (1-3) has four games on the weekend docket with Saturday showdowns against #27 Naptown and #60 Tiger Bay followed by Sunday tilts against #38 No Coast and #43 Demolition City. The Pack In Black are fully aware of the grueling schedule and are ready to accept the challenge.
“There is always pressure to succeed even with just one bout,” said Dust-Ruction. “We have the advantage of being in our regular bout venue, which is helpful. We want to succeed this weekend, but we also want to have fun and enjoy playing against some really awesome teams.”
St. Chux is paced offensively by jammers Jedi Knight-N-Gale, G.I. Jamie and Sleazy E while blocking is provided by the aforementioned Dust-Ruction, Whip L’Ash, Tara Eyes, Slaughter Haus, Lisa Frank-N-Stein, Big Red, Jane Error, Zo D. Ax, Blue Collar Brawler, Nikki Trixx, Zombie FireBomb, Bobbi SlamHer and Peg E. Sass.
Also potentially in the St. Chux roster for the weekend includes Vixen Ta Getcha, Joanie Rollmoan and Sha’ Killa, who saw action for SCDC’s Helles Belles B-team in March.
Meanwhile, #23 Arch Rival (1-0) looks to keep its momentum rolling after last month’s 345-36 shellacking of #31 Nashville that kicked off their interleague campaign. The St. Louisans’ effort was highlighted by a stubborn defense that only allowed three points scored in the last fifteen minutes, including zero in the final ten.
“Our performance was confirmation that we are a talented team with a very deep bench,” said ARRG All-Stars co-captain Bricktator of the 309-point win. “During the game, we stayed strong mentally and physically from the first whistle until the last. It was rewarding to see our preseason efforts pay off. We have set a high bar for ourselves heading into this weekend’s invitational.“
St. Louis tangles with #35 Arizona on Saturday and battles #27 Naptown and #38 No Coast Sunday.
“A three-game sweep this weekend would continue to boost our confidence as well as our ranking, but we know it will not come easy,” said Arch Rival’s co-captain.
Alongside Bricktator, jamming is paced by Brickyard, Mighty Mighty Boston and Annie Swanson while walls are shaped by blockers Party Foul, Chewblocka, Emily Rinehart, Mayor Francis Slayer, Shimmy Hoffa, Kayla Seiber, Cloak N’ DragHer, Grave Danger, Jamheiser Bush, Shear-Ra Powers and the aforementioned Sass ‘Em.
Also on the Arch Rival A-team charter this season are Vanessa Tutka, Science Friction, Party Rockher, The Ginger Assassin and Aceta Menacin.
Both Missourian leagues are primed for a full slate at Matteson Square Garden and look for success with solid efforts.
“We have been working hard and we are ready,” said St. Chux’s Dust-Ruction. “It’s going to be a really fun weekend and we are looking forward to having four more games under our belts for the year.”
“Three games in two days is a lot to endure but it is also a great opportunity to challenge ourselves,” added Arch Rival’s Bricktator. “I am very excited for ARRG to rise to the occasion.”
According to Spin Diesel, this weekend’s event should be beneficial to all ten leagues, both competitively and fiscally.
“We believe that the timing and design of this event helps teams reach their season-end goals,” he said. “Travel funds are always short and being able to play three competitive games in a single visit is always beneficial.“
And if a future boost in the WFTDA rankings also occurs as a result, consider it the proverbial cherry on top.
“With rankings cutoffs for playoffs being less than three months away, we know that teams are going to bring their best to this multi-game weekend,” he said.
A look at the other eight teams competing at “Skate to Thrill” (in alphabetical order):
ARIZONA ROLLER DERBY (Phoenix, AZ) WFTDA #35: The Tent City Terrors have already raced out to a 3-0 record this season following a sweep at its hosted “How the West Was Won” invitational in March. Jammer Luz Chaos leads the charge of a squad that contains numerous cogs in a well-oiled machine. Arizona has a tough schedule at the event, meeting higher-ranked Arch Rival and Naptown plus pesky Demolition City. A 2-1 finish this weekend is not out of the realm, but a sweep would be a real eye-opener.
BURNING RIVER ROLLER DERBY (Cleveland, OH) WFTDA #101: The best word to describe the Clevelanders would be “opportunists.” When a team originally scheduled for this event had to cancel, the Ohioans gamely stepped up to the plate and said, “We’ll take that spot!” Burning River’s current 3-0 record is the result of its sweep at the “Siege of NYC” invitational in late-March. As the lowest-ranked team competing this weekend, they face Tiger Bay, Twin City and Junction City. However, they may surprise with a 2-1 finish, given the close proximity of the latter two leagues they face. Without a doubt, the nine-hour trip to St. Peters is well worth it.
DEMOLITION CITY ROLLER DERBY (Evansville, IN) WFTDA #43: One of the pair of Hoosier State squads competing this weekend, the Dynamite Dolls have made a steady climb up the WFTDA rankings the last two years and already sport a 2-0 record in 2015. A 245-97 win over #59 Omaha on February 28 was followed by an 11-point duke over #38 No Coast the next day. They aim to go 2-0 this season over No Coast this Saturday while Arizona and St. Chux looms Sunday. A very solid squad that craves a 2-1 finish in order to keep its goal of a first-ever WFTDA Division 1 playoff trip intact.
JUNCTION CITY ROLLER DOLLS (Ogden, UT) WFTDA #94: Although they sport a 1-4 record heading into this weekend, all their losses have been against higher-ranked Western opponents. A 166-47 win over #115 Duke City at March’s Dust Devil invitational has been a bright spot for the Trainwrecks. Games against higher-ranked Tiger Bay and comparable Twin City and Burning River could be relatively tight. A 2-1 finish or close differentials will result in a rankings climb.
NAPTOWN ROLLER GIRLS (Indianapolis, IN) WFTDA #27: The team with the second-highest ranking this weekend enters 2-1 and, quite honestly, difficult to project. Sanctioned wins over #31 Nashville and #72 Fort Wayne were fairly close and they were heavily outmatched by #14 Charm City, 350-113, two weeks ago. Tornado Sirens vets Maiden America and Majestic highlight the jam cap. The docket against Arizona, Arch Rival and St. Chux is extremely tough and potential outcomes are tough to predict, given the closeness of the oppositions’ rank. That being said, this weekend is a push in the right direction for the Indy-based team, regardless of finish.
NO COAST ROLLER DERBY (Lincoln, NE) WFTDA #38: The Mad Maxines, 0-2 and currently on the bubble of WFTDA Division 1, have a full plate this weekend. Saturday’s rematch with Demolition City, who topped the Nebraskans by 11 points last month, leads the ledger followed by a pair of Sunday bouts against Missourians Arch Rival and St. Chux. Jammer Christy Johnston paces the offense. Every game, and their ensuing results, is imperative if they want to stay in the Top 40.
TIGER BAY BRAWLERS (Cardiff, Wales, UK) WFTDA #60: The team that makes the furthest journey this weekend (a 13+ hour plane ride) makes the most of its opportunity. By competing in four WFTDA-sanctioned games at MSG, the Brawlers will achieve the minimum amount of sanctioned games needed to be eligible for post-season play if they retain position in the Top 60 at the end of June. Whoever smartly lobbied for the trip to the States gets a gold star from the onset. Competing in their first rotation of sanctioned bouts this weekend, Tiger Bay has an exhausting schedule on Saturday with battles against Burning River, St.Chux and Junction City. Sunday has them against lowered-ranked Twin City. A 3-1 weekend is probable. A sweep would make Tom Jones hit a high note.
TWIN CITY DERBY (Champaign/Urbana, IL) WFTDA #88: The Prairie State rollers make a return to Skate to Thrill, where last year they blossomed with solid results. Although they sport a 1-3 record, the 2015 season has been competitive. Losses to #55 Killamazoo, #65 Gold Coast (FL) and #89 Ft. Myers earlier in the season was followed by 189-169 triumph over unranked Dupage County late in March. They face #101 Burning River, #60 Tiger Bay and #94 Junction City this weekend. This was a league that pleasantly surprised many at the inaugural event last April. They have the opportunity to do it again if they finish 2-1.
Single day passes are $10 at the door. However, a special Groupon rate of $9 for the entire weekend (two days, 15 games) is currently available AT THIS LINK.
SKATE TO THRILL 2015 SCHEDULE
SATURDAY, APRIL 11
8 AM – Burning River vs. Tiger Bay
9:30 AM – No Coast vs. Demolition City
11 AM – Naptown vs. Arizona
12:30 PM – ST. CHUX vs. Tiger Bay
2:30 PM – Twin City vs. Burning River
4 PM – Junction City vs. Tiger Bay
5:30 PM – Arizona vs. ARCH RIVAL
7 PM – Naptown vs. ST. CHUX
8:30 PM – Twin City vs. Junction City
SUNDAY, APRIL 12
8 AM – No Coast vs. ARCH RIVAL
9:30 AM – Demolition City vs. Arizona
11 AM – Tiger Bay vs. Twin City
12:30 PM – No Coast vs. ST. CHUX
2:30 PM – Burning River vs. Junction City
4 PM – Naptown vs. ARCH RIVAL
5:30 PM – Demolition City vs. ST. CHUX
For more information on the St. Chux Derby Chix, go to stchuxderbychix.com.
For more information on the Arch Rival Roller Girls, go to archrivalrollergirls.com.