Home Editor's Picks STL GateKeepers Serving Up “International House Of Derby” At Home This Weekend

STL GateKeepers Serving Up “International House Of Derby” At Home This Weekend

Three-Day Invitational At Queeny Park Features Full Menu Of MRDA Action

by Brian Ledford

St. Louis-based GateKeepers Roller Derby (GKRD) has the oven set for some home cookin’ this weekend and aims to finish with full bellies thanks to ensuing victories.

Photo Credit: Bob Dunnell

GKRD presents the second serving of the “International House Of Derby” invitational at Midwest Sport Hockey at Queeny Park (510 Weidman, Ballwin, MO).

The three-day event that begins Friday has the quad-wheelers hosting five leagues that compete alongside them within the Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA).

The GateKeepers’ primary travel team, the five-time MRDA international champs, will take to the sport court for the first time this season in a combo of 60-minute individual games against the San Diego Aftershocks, the Denver Ground Control and Mexico’s Disorder RD.

GKRD is hungry for the return of their flat-track feast that was first griddled two summers ago with great success.

Photo Credit: Bob Dunnell

“We’re excited to host this many teams at IHOD this year,” said GateKeepers’ co-captain Shred Astaire. “There should be some great matchups and many of the top teams in the MRDA will be represented. I (must) give props to all the amazing folks behind the scenes that make it all happen and all the hard work they put in.”

Other teams participating during the banquet include GKRD’s secondary travel team, the B-Keepers, as well as Indianapolis’ Race City Rebels and Portland, Maine’s Casco Bay Not So Jolly Rogers.

The GateKeepers finished 2023 with a record of 5-1 and this year’s chefs contain numerous veterans that were a part of the prior mix as well as new additions.

“We have a lot of returning skaters from last year, but we are always excited to bring up our (prior) B-Keepers and welcome some transfers to St. Louis,” said Astaire. “Our new faces are Diana Slama (Cape Girardeau) and Lethal Objection (Southern Illinois). We also have some familiar folks taking on different roles in the team this year.”

STL GateKeepers 2024 Charter

Alongside Astaire this weekend, jamming will be paced by returnees Loki Doki, Jammy Pacquiao, Static Shock, Cat Daddy and Thighs.

Blockers slotted for IHOD include co-captain Sir Nixalot, Hulk, Spin Diesel, Tony Controll, Sole, Evee, Yoshi Denali, Adam Midwest, Badger the Witness, Beastie, soup beans, Slaythoven, Slama and Objection.

GKRD’s Friday night appetizer, San Diego, already has three prior plates served and pushed their MRDA-sanctioned record to 2-1 following their 312-95 win over Canada’s Chinook City in late-April. Their first two games had differentials of under 45 points.

“The Aftershocks bring a lot of energy,” assessed Astaire. “They’ve had a couple of close games this season and a little change to their overall charter that may give a different look than what we are used to. Anytime a team gets the experience playing another team is a valuable benchmark for their season and the Aftershocks have gotten that play time. It’s surely an advantage for them.”

Saturday afternoon’s entree with Denver is arguably the “must-see” scramble of the weekend. The Ground Control topped St. Louis, 151-130, at last October’s MRDA Western Hemisphere Cup finale that snapped a lengthy GateKeepers’ post-season win-streak.

Photo Credit: Bob Dunnell

Denver will be skating their first respective laps this weekend at Queeny, so honest projection is difficult with their opening order on the menu.

“There have been some shake ups in both line ups since last year and I don’t think that the current iterations of these teams have been represented anywhere before IHOD, so it could be anyone’s game,” said Astaire. “I think our team is motivated by the opportunity to play Denver, but we are really focused on our own game.”

GKRD’s Sunday dessert at high noon has them competing against Mexico’s Disorder RD, who are also skating their first reps this weekend. The hard-charging squad finished 2023 with a 4-1 sanctioned record in the MRDA.

“I’m always excited to see MXRD Disorder,” beamed Astaire. “I think they have great on-track chemistry and gameplay. I haven’t had the opportunity to skate against them personally, but I look forward to it. They’re a rising team in the MRDA and one to watch, for sure.”

The weekend will also see the GKRD B-Keepers back into full play since 2019. Astaire, a former B-Keeper during his early tenure, noted that the MRDA now allows b-teams to officially record sanctioned games, which provides the developmental squad some incentive.

GKRD B-Keepers 2024 Charter

Matchups against the San Diego Tremors B-team Friday and Casco Bay Saturday are on the table. Astaire fully acknowledges that the GKRD’s secondary travel squad is imperative to future league growth.

“The B-Keepers have always been an important piece to the GateKeepers in developing talent, leadership skills, and building the bonds and skills for the teamwork that happens on the track, on the bench, in the locker room, and in everyday life,” said the co-captain. “We had some excitement from the Bs to jump in and get some games in. I love to see people get excited to play and I believe my time (with them) helped me to fall in love with this sport.”

Since the event is an open invitational, there is no overall trophy for a faction to claim this weekend. Yet, IHOD will set the tone for leagues as they look to progress through the ultra-competitive MRDA schedule that culminates at the governing body’s global championships held in Newcastle, United Kingdom in the fall.

Photo Credit: Bob Dunnell

“I’d expect a lot of the same teams to be in the UK come October,” projected Astaire.

Individual day tickets are $15 at the door but one can purchase a weekend pass for $40 on-site. Children 12 and under receive complementary admission.

The GateKeepers would appreciate local support at Queeny Park this weekend. For their faithful derby fanbase that’s been following them since their 2009 start-up, they want folks to “Come Hungry, Leave Happy.”

“I love a loud and rowdy crowd,” hyped Astaire. “The more they get into it, the more energy it brings to the track.”

One can watch online for free this weekend by visiting the league’s official Twitch Feed by clicking on this sentence

For more information on GKRD, go to their official website.

GKRD International House of Derby Schedule

FRIDAY
2 PM: GKRD B-Keepers vs. San Diego Tremors
4 PM: Denver Ground Control vs. Mexico Disorder RD
6 PM: STL GateKeepers vs. San Diego Aftershocks

SATURDAY
10 AM: GKRD B-Keepers vs. Casco Bay
12 PM: Race City Rebels vs. San Diego Aftershocks
2 PM: STL GateKeepers vs. Denver Ground Control
4 PM: San Diego Tremors vs. Casco Bay
6 PM: Race City Rebels vs. Mexico Disorder RD

SUNDAY
10 AM: Casco Bay vs. Race City Rebels
12 PM: STL GateKeepers vs. Mexico Disorder RD
2 PM: Denver Ground Control v San Diego Aftershocks

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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