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Primed For Competition, Arch Rival & GateKeepers Host “Sibling Rivalry” This Weekend

by Brian Ledford

A highly-anticipated, multi-day roller derby donnybrook takes place locally this weekend and the St. Louis representatives in both the women’s and men’s divisions are primed to open eyes with ensuing results.

The 2023 edition of “Sibling Rivalry” takes place at Midwest Sport Hockey at Queeny Park (570 Weidman Rd., Ballwin, MO) beginning Friday afternoon. The three-day, eight-team invitational is co-hosted by Arch Rival Roller Derby and GateKeepers Roller Derby.

A dozen games overall are on the docket with a split between sanctioned action featuring teams from the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) and the Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA).

On the women’s side, Arch Rival competes alongside Rose City (Portland, Oregon), Montreal (Quebec, Canada) and Crime City (Malmo, Sweden). The quartet will play each other in separate, sixty-minute round-robin contests.

Photo Credit: Art Chastain

“We’re very excited!” said Arch Rival co-captain Vicious van GoGo. “This will be ARCH’s first time since 2017 to co-host with the Gatekeepers and we are really looking forward to a great weekend. The ARCH All-Stars will be playing our first sanctioned game since 2019 and the sanctioned games count towards our (WFTDA) Regional seeding, which we currently sit as #1.”

Meanwhile in men’s play featuring an identical round-robin format, the GateKeepers compete alongside Denver Men’s Roller Derby (Denver, Colorado), Aftershocks Roller Derby (San Diego, California) and Casco Bay (Portland, Maine).

“We’re pretty stoked about this weekend, for sure,” said GateKeepers jammer David Sole. “I think this weekend is pretty important to the MRDA. The teams we’re bringing (in) don’t always have a lot of opportunities to play each other, so it’s going to be an exciting blend of play styles that we don’t get to see all the time. Plus, this event is giving (teams) three out of their requisite five games to be eligible for rankings and a (MRDA) cup appearance.”

Photo Credit: Bob Dunnell

Arguably, the most-intriguing match-up of the weekend – for those that follow the sport internationally – takes place Friday at 7 p.m. as the Arch Rival All-Stars battle the Rose City Wheels of Justice, the current reigning champs of the WFTDA that has hoisted the Hydra Trophy during the last two seasons of international championship play and winners of 16 straight games overall.

Arch Rival’s primary travel squad finished 2022 with an unsanctioned record of 4-1 with the lone setback being against the aforementioned Wheels of Justice in a competitive contest at last November’s ”Hometown Throw-down” held at Rose City’s home track in Portland.

“The games at Hometown Throw-down felt phenomenal to play after years of waiting, a sort of faux Champs for us,” said Vicious van GoGo. “It allowed us to take a look at where we were as a team coming out of the pandemic and look ahead to the work needed to win at the next WFTDA Champs.”

This weekend’s play finds Rose City competing in their opening games of WFTDA-sanctioned season and the ARCH co-captain anticipates a tight affair between the upper-echelons.

“We always anticipate WOJ bringing their best to the track,” van GoGo projected. “We are looking forward to kicking off the weekend with them. If it feels anything like the past times we’ve played, it’ll be a positive, strong, and action-packed game.”

Just about every member of ARCH’s 2023 charter possesses years of primary travel team experience. The 20-person complexion involves jammers Annie Swanson, Jedi Knight-N-Gale, Hart, Pork T’Choup Slamwich and Skeevie Nicks while blocking is propelled by van GoGo alongside Bolt Action, Shear-Ra Powers, Cloak N’ Drag-Her, dadbod, Pegasass, LuxFurious, Splatter, K. Woodward, Eirinn Go Brawl, Cruella Belleville, Sue Bob Fight, WyldeSyde, SheKill O’ Neal and Birdsong.

Meanwhile, both Montreal (2-0) and Crime City (4-0) have been busy earlier this year in sanctioned play and are champing at the bit to display their talents – and play respective spoilers – in their trifecta of games at Sibling Rivalry. Arch Rival plays Montreal Saturday at 4 p.m. and Crime City Sunday at 10 a.m.

“Both Montréal and Crime looked great in their sanctioned play,” van GoGo said. “They bring a style we haven’t played yet, post-pandemic, and they’ll be exciting games, for sure.”

The GateKeepers, the five-time champs of the MRDA, rolled out a perfect 7-0 record in 2022, although none of those contests were MRDA-sanctioned. The team last competed in a multi-day invitational in November at their hosted “International House of Derby” event, where they snared a four-game sweep and collectively outscored their opponents, 1076-269.

“I can’t really overstate how important those games were,” Sole said. “They knocked the rust off us longer-time vets, they really boosted a few of our folks who only got a season or two under their belts before the lock down, and they were the first taste for a few (newer) skaters, which is always super-important. They carved the team that was already there inside the marble all along.”

Alongside Sole, there is plenty of championship experience returning to the fold of the 20-member charter, including co-captains Spin Diesel and Hulk alongside jammers Magnum, Shred Astaire, and Jammy Pacquiao in addition to blockers Monster Jam, Sir Nixalot and Quadratic Evasion.

Loki Doki, who formally skated with Arch Rival Roller Derby but joined the GateKeepers when they returned to active competition in June 2022, will also serve as a primary jammer while blocker Tony Controll rejoins the GateKeepers after a multi-year retirement.

Others on the charter that will see action this weekend include Yoshi Denali, Traumahawk, Lil Nas SlaypeX, Jar Jar BWinks, Blindt, Static Shock, Badger the Witness, Adam Midwest and Cat Daddy.

The men’s weekend guests include a rapidly-rising squad that already has a pair of lopsided, sanctioned victories under their belts this calendar year and a pair of prior MRDA championship tournament entrants that are each experiencing their first set of interleague derby play in almost four years.

Casco Bay finished 2019 – the last year of MRDA interleague play held prior to the pandemic – with a record of 2-1 but failed to qualify for post-season entry. The long wait for a return to action did not affect the number or players or the amount of productivity as the team (2-0) recorded impressive dukes last month over Detroit (353-56)  and Cleveland (334-46).

Meanwhile, both Denver (0-0) and San Diego (0-0) – who each have a pair of MRDA championship appearances in their portfolio – skate in their first MRDA-sanctioned games this weekend since 2019.

With so many unknown variables heading into the weekend, the GateKeepers must approach the visiting trio cautiously.

“Everything has changed, everyone has changed,” assessed Sole of the competition. “We’re certainly not the same team we were on either side of the shutdowns, so I’m not going to lull myself into a false comfort or security assuming they are. In my mind, they’re all killers, and that’s what we’re preparing ourselves for.”

Both St. Louis teams hope that home-track support can propel their respective squads on quads to success this weekend with the primary goal of a potential combined 6-0 finish.

“The cheers and energy from the support of our home crowd definitely gives us a boost,” ARCH’s van GoGo said. “This local season crowd was so much fun and I really hope everyone can come out and see the ARCH All-Stars represent St. Louis! We’d love to see you!”

“Oh, it’s going to be huge,” added the GateKeepers’ Sole. “It always is. Every time I hear our fans cheer at home, it just takes me back to that swell when we won our first gold at home (in 2015), and it pumps me up like nothing else.”

Daily admission for the event at the door is $20 while a weekend pass is $50. Children 12 and under get in free.

Watch live, complimentary coverage of the event via Twitch by clicking on this sentence.


Friday, June 16

3 PM – Montreal v Crime City (WFTDA)
5 PM – San Diego v Casco Bay (MRDA)
7 PM – Rose City v Arch Rival (WFTDA)

Saturday, June 17

10 AM – San Diego v Denver (MRDA)
12 PM – Casco Bay v STL GateKeepers (MRDA)
2 PM – Crime City v Rose City (WFTDA)
4 PM – Montreal v Arch Rival (WFTDA)
6 PM – STL GateKeepers v Denver (MRDA)

Sunday, June 18

10 AM – Arch Rival v Crime City (WFTDA)
12 PM – Casco Bay v Denver (MRDA)
2 PM – Rose City v New Skids (WFTDA)
4 PM – Aftershocks v STL GateKeepers (MRDA)


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By trade, he is a six-time, regional Emmy Award-winning news videographer/editor for KTVI/KPLR-TV. By hobby, he is a writer for Arch City Media, dating back to February 2014. Emphasis is on featuring and promoting local women's sports, but will cover anything that is not reported by traditional media outlets. Also a contributor to local concert reviews.

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