The 2018 Rink of Fire Preview

Every year, the two best teams in KCRW battle it out for what’s become known as the Warder Cup. That’s the coveted championship trophy named after Coach Ice, the legendary coach of the Kansas City Roller Warriors All-Stars who passed away two years ago this month.

This Saturday night at Memorial Hall in KCK, the fiery Knockouts and the dreaded Dreadnought Dorothys will clash for the trophy, the title, and an entire year’s worth of bragging rights.


By the Numbers

So let’s take a look at how these teams compare.

Both the KOs and the Dorothys boast impressive 5-1 records on the season. The only games they’ve lost this season have been to each other, and a quick glance at the numbers will actually tell you quite a bit. We’ll include numbers from the Vixens and the BES for comparison’s sake too:

Knockouts: 5-1
Points scored: 1,350
Points allowed: 1,040
Point differential: +310

Dreadnought Dorothys: 5-1
Points scored: 1,342
Points allowed: 901
Point differential: +441

Victory Vixens: 2-4
Points scored: 825*
Points allowed: 1,079*
Point differential: -174

Black Eye Susans: 0-6
Points scored: 820*
Points allowed: 1,317*
Point differential: -497

* indicates these numbers include scores from Game 6 last month in which the BES foreited at halftime. The Vixens led 82-69 at that point, and final calculations are based on that halftime score, in case you’re wondering why their point totals are so much lower.


How They Stack Up

As you can see, the Knockouts hold a slim lead in total points scored on the year, just eight more than the Dorothys.

However, the Dorothys have allowed the fewest points of any team in the league, and it’s not even close: only 901 on the year, compared to their nearest neighbors, the KOs, who have allowed 1,040.

Because of this, the Dorothys also boast the best point differential in the league this season with +441, compared to the KOs’ already impressive +310 on the year.

Head to head, the Dorothys have outscored the Knockouts 408-393 this season, a slim 15-point margin under the WFTDA rule set.

And both teams have experienced a slight decline in points scored during the second half of the season vs. the first half. The KOs averaged 242 points per game in the first half of the season, but only 208 in the second half; the Dorothys averaged 224.66 in the first half, but only 212.66 in the second half. Both teams had their lowest-scoring games of the year last month. Their overall averages per game are nearly identical.

Folks, this is tough.

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Based on these numbers and the way the wind appears to be blowing at this point in time, we’re predicting a Dreadnought Dorothys win by no more than 12 points.

Overall, the numbers are extremely close. Much has been made of the Knockouts‘ undefeated streak, which only came to an end last month, but ultimately, we believe it comes down to what seems to be a dominant defensive effort on the part of the Dorothys, given their unmatched point differential and impressive points-allowed stats.

Either way, fans are guaranteed a slug-fest this Saturday night, and we hope you’ll all join us for the history that will unfold on the track before us.


When & Where

The Rink of Fire championship will take place this Saturday night at Memorial Hall in KCK. Doors open at 5:00, and the games begin promptly at 6:00.

Advance tickets are still available through Brown Paper Tickets for $10 for adults and $5 for kiddos ages 6-12. Prices go up to $15 and $10, respectively, if you get them at the door.

As always, they’ll have a 50/50 drawing to benefit the Rose Brooks Center, and they’ll have $1 beers from 5-6 p.m.

The first bout of the night features the annual grudge match, this time between the 2-4 Victory Vixens and the winless Black Eye Susans. And of course, the second bout of the night will be for all the marbles, so don’t miss it!

Join us at Memorial Hall this Saturday night for what’s sure to be a Rink of Fire blowout!

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Featured Skater – April 2018

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Our Featured Skater for the month of April is
Singh Machine of the Kansas City Roller Warriors!

Name: Singh Machine
Team: Victory Vixens
Number: 28
Position: Blocker, Pivot, Jammer
Seasons with KCRW: 5


How did you discover roller derby in Kansas City, and what made you decide to join?

“My then-boyfriend, now fiancee, saw an ad in The Pitch for a roller derby game. After watching the game and seeing all those strong women, I wanted to sign up. I couldn’t stand on skates when I started — somehow I got past that hurdle (which seems to be a miracle).”

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Roller derby changes every life it touches. How has it changed yours?

“As a mostly introverted person, it has made feel more comfortable in a bigger group setting. I’ve gotten to more confident and sure of myself off the track. I’ve made strong friendships in the league. Without roller derby, I do not think I would have the types of friends I have today.”

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Who inspires you on the track?

“In a way, it’s like a romance in the sense that it’s not all illustrated on Valentine’s Day — it’s not one person who inspires me. New people that are giving it their all, coaches/refs that are watching and giving feedback, current skaters that make a skill look easy or seamless.”

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What sets you apart in KCRW?

“My immediate thought is that I’m Indian. I did not play sports as a kid, I am basically an indoor cat. Everything I have learned thus far, I had to learn by rote. I try to help KCRW where I am able. I have coached Junior Warriors and WiT, helped with social media, and I’ve been co-captain and captain.”

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To see more of Singh Machine and all the players of KCRW in action, visit our photo albums on Smugmug, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram.

Featured Skater – March 2018

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Our Featured Skater for the month of March is
Black Mamba of the Kansas City Roller Warriors
and Fountain City Roller Derby!

Name: Black Mamba
Team: Victory Vixens, Shotgun Sheilas
Number: 86
Position: Jammer, Blocker, Pivot
Seasons with KCRW: 1
Seasons with FCRD: 4


How did you discover roller derby in Kansas City, and what made you decide to join?

“With some careful Facebook stalking, I came upon a skater’s (Bullet Vixen) game day pictures and was intrigued. I needed a sport that was intense, hard, and looked like fun. I definitely found it.”

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Playing for two leagues is quite a commitment. How do you manage that?

“Lots of organization, prioritizing, and support from my squad and family. This year, I have to sit down and plan the practices I need to make in order to make myself a better skater, teammate, and captain month by month. In order to do that, I’ve had to focus on making time for myself, my awesome boyfriend, and my four furbabies at home. Finding the balance between derby (my obsession) and real life has been something I’ve failed at until this year. I haven’t mastered the healthy ratio, but I’m getting there.

I know I wouldn’t be able to be this focused on myself and my teammates getting better if I didn’t have all the support at home that I do. I’m a pretty lucky girl.”

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You’re widely known to fans and players alike for having one of the most positive, sportsmanlike attitudes in the sport. How do you stay so positive, and who do you look to for inspiration?

“I stay away from negativity as much as possible. I had to realize that I am in control of my own happiness and I don’t have to let the negativity in. I’m constantly stepping back and thinking about how lucky I am that I get to play this sport that keeps me on my toes, mentally and physically. I also strongly believe that you get what you put out. My positivity is contagious and I hope I get to infect as many people with it as possible.

My inspiration is and has always been my teammates and leaguemates. We are all on our own journey to get better, and seeing all these skaters leveling up, at their own pace, is really inspiring. It really makes me want to be better, work harder.”

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Roller derby changes every life it touches. How has it changed yours?

“I am a completely different person than I was before derby. I had a pretty toxic [sense of] self-esteem and I wasn’t doing anything to make myself a better person. I was in a rut. Derby fired me up. I instantly got a bunch of friends that were struggling at this derby thing just like me, and we all invested in helping each other get better. I couldn’t help but dive right in. Thank you, ’15 Zombies! Because of derby, I’m learning so much about my strengths and weaknesses, and I’m not afraid to work on myself. Life can only get better, right?”

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What makes Black Mamba tick? At the end of the day, what keeps you going in this crazy love we call roller derby?

“My teammates. They constantly keep me focused, aggressive, and motivated. I can’t explain the amount of joy I get from seeing my Sheilas come together and push themselves in a practice, scrimmage, or a bout. Women with totally different personalities, jobs and lifestyles all come together for a common goal. That’s when I can’t help but smile. Being their captain is the best position I’ve ever been lucky [enough] to play.”

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To see more of Black Mamba and all the players of KCRW and FCRD in action, visit our photo albums on Smugmug, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram.

KCRW – Game 5

Tomorrow night, the Kansas City Roller Warriors blow the roof off Memorial Hall in KCK once again as they take the track for Game 5 of their 2018 season!

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Click for the Facebook event page.

The night begins when the Black Eye Susans take on the iron-clad Dreadnought Dorothys, and the undefeated Knockouts square off against the Victory Vixens!

As always, doors open at Memorial Hall at 5:00, and the games begin at 6:00. Adult tickets are $15 at the door, and kiddos ages 6-12 are $10.

We’ll see you Saturday night for the Kansas City Roller Warriors Game 5!

The St. Patrick’s Day Smackdown

Die-hard roller derby fans in Kansas City already know the Missouri River Rollers held their first bout of the season last Saturday night in what’s become known as the St. Patrick’s Day Smackdown.

The Zombie league of Fountain City Roller Derby tripped up to Atchison, Kansas to face off against the River Rollers, but fell short by a final score of 126-69, bringing the MRRs to 1-0 on the season.

Of course, we’ve got photos.

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Click for the full album.

The River Rollers’ next bout is on Saturday, April 21, and we’ll have much more information for you as the date draws near.

In the meantime, congratulations to these incredible Missouri River Rollers on a fantastic season opener! We look forward to seeing these ladies back on the track in April!

Featured Skater – February 2018

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Our Featured Skater for the month of February is
Dreadlocked N. Loaded of the Kansas City Roller Warriors!

Name: Dreadlocked N. Loaded
Team: Victory Vixens
Number: 8351
Position: Blocker
Seasons with KCRW: 2


How did you discover the Kansas City Roller Warriors, and what made you decide to join?

“My partner at the time and I had been to a couple of KCRW games, but between work and school, we weren’t able to make it back until 2015. Around the same time, she started attending a Derby Lite class and encouraged me to try it. I really wasn’t sure, since it had been decades since the last time I had skated, but it did start to grow on me. Then we signed up for a Warriors in Training session in 2016, and about halfway through that session, the derby bug snuck up and bit me.”

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Tell us the origin of your derby name.

“Initially, I had considered using some form of my real name. I toyed around with Bangston Hughes, then Trace Element, but I wasn’t really feeling either one. Then one day, I was washing and re-twisting my waist-long dreadlocks. I finished my hair and looked in the mirror, and all of a sudden, the light bulb was ON. In essence, the name comes from me literally having a good hair day.

I scrambled to the Internet and checked derby name databases to see if anyone else had that name, and was surprised that it hadn’t been used yet, so I claimed it!

The “Dreadlocked” part is obvious, but I’m still working on the “Loaded” part, which actually means two things. Physically, as I get in better shape from playing derby, my arms and legs are getting stronger and more muscular. The second meaning is more ironic, since “loaded” can be slang for being drunk or on drugs, but I’ve actually been sober for more than 25 years.”

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Roller derby changes every life it touches. How has it changed yours?

“Derby has definitely helped me get stronger in several ways. I’ve never been that great of an athlete, and derby requires a certain amount of strength and stamina, so if I want to get better at this sport, I have to put in the work through on-skates practices and off-skates strengthening such as squats, lunges, and core work. (Yikes, I haaaaaaaate core work… but it’s gotta be done.) At one point, I was down 40 pounds just from skating and doing some 30-day challenges. It’s definitely a test of commitment at times, because that TV or those blankets just look soooooooooooo gooooooooooood, but I can use those as rewards for after a practice or workout.

I think the biggest thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve gotten better about beating my own self up. My first year skating with KCRW, I was pretty brutal… I yelled at myself a lot because I wasn’t improving quickly enough, I wasn’t rising up to the same level as my teammates, and I wasn’t nailing things perfectly. But that pressure wasn’t coming from anyone else in the league; I had been putting it all on myself, thinking that I had to prove that I belonged here. In reality, that pressure was coming from some issues outside of derby, and once I started working on those things, I noticed a decrease in yelling and an increase in patience, which helped me concentrate better in both my normal life and my derby life.”

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Any notable injuries so far?

“It’s been mostly some stiffness and muscle tightness, fortunately. Last year I had a minor knee injury and some back pain, but physical therapy and chiropractic care was very helpful.

This season, I got my first ever concussion during second half of the January 20th game. To a certain extent, I think I lucked out in that the way I got the concussion was a bit of a fluke –- I fell on the floor face-first, which isn’t covered by my helmet –- but still, a head injury is never something to take lightly. After seeing a concussion specialist and a physical therapist, I just got clearance to resume activity after nearly a month off skates, and if all goes well, I hope to be back on the track with the Vixens soon.”

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What sets you apart in KCRW?

“I try to be as positive to my teammates and league mates as possible. Sure, I might be having a rough time on the track, but that doesn’t mean that I have to pull folks into that bad mood with me. If I have to choose between sulking in my own pity pool and speaking life into someone, I’m leaning towards speaking that life. Catch someone after a jam and tell them how powerful they were on the track. Message a new skater and tell them how much you’re enjoying watching them grow. Be available lend a hand, offer a shoulder, give a hug. Those are things that cost nothing to give, yet are valuable beyond measure.”

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To see more of Dreadlocked N. Loaded and all of the Kansas City Roller Warriors in action, visit our photo albums on Smugmug, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram.

3 Things We Learned from Fountain City’s 2018 Home Opener

As you’re all aware by now, Fountain City Roller Derby kicked off its 2018 season with quite a bang Saturday night, and the incredible crowd at B&D Skate Center witnessed possibly the best Fountain City home opener in quite some time.

We’ve said many times in the past that Game Ones are notoriously unreliable predictors of the overall arc a season will take. But as sometimes happens in this amazing sport, this weekend there were a few surprises, an unfortunate injury, and much to learn.


3. The Deadly Sirens are back.

There’s no point in mincing words here — the Deadly Sirens have struggled, and it’s not always easy to see why.

Historically, this is a team with phenomenal coaching and a roster packed with talent, but for one reason or another, they haven’t been able to get things off the ground for long. They’ve landed in or near last place every season since they played in the championship game in 2011, and to this day, they remain the only team in Fountain City to have never won the house trophy — while the other three teams have won it at least twice each.

“What’s the problem?” may have seemed like the pertinent question over the last several seasons, but at this point, the Sirens seem to have answered it and fixed what was apparently broken. If you followed along on Twitter Saturday night, you saw the Ladies in Teal take down a formidably rebuilding Lovely Lethals squad 89-41, outscoring the Pink more than 2 to 1 and looking phenomenal doing it.

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Every Sirens fan in attendance, probably.

All the love in the world, but that would never have happened as recently as last season. And yes, the Lethals were skating with eight new players (on a 14-player team), but that does nothing to diminish the inalterable conclusion we came to this weekend: the Sirens are back, and you can dismiss them at your own risk.


2. The Shotgun Sheilas may still be the team to beat.

All right, look. For the better part of the last six years, it’s mostly been a slugfest between the Shotgun Sheilas and the Royal Pains. One of these two teams has won the house trophy every year since 2012, with the exception of 2016, when the Lethals took everyone by surprise. So fans could be forgiven for wondering if maybe we weren’t in store for more of the same this year.

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Who’s to say?

It’s never a good idea to count out the Royal Pains in general, and it’s definitely not wise to make predictions with only one game out of the way. But the Sheilas took this game pretty handily over the Pains, final score 75-52, and because of that and the way the Sirens dominated in their game, we can’t help but wonder if the championship game might look a little different this year.

Again, way too early to tell, but Saturday night was a wake-up call for anyone who might have thought we’d be getting the same old thing this season. The Sirens made sure of that, and the Sheilas may just be the team to beat — again — in 2018.


1. Derby love is alive and well in Kansas City.

OK, we didn’t really learn this Saturday night as much as we were simply reminded of it. But one of the things we love here at KC Derby Digest — and do our best to promote and encourage — is the way the Kansas City leagues often support one another.

Fountain City often has quite a few representatives in the audience at KCRW bouts, and this weekend, the Roller Warriors sent quite a contingent of their own to cheer on their favorite players and teams in Fountain City.

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Pictured: derby love.

Of course, this isn’t the first time they’ve done this, and we’ve always thought it was fantastic when they did. Because frankly, this is how it’s done. This is how you build a strong derby community.

As much as it might seem like the leagues are competing against one another for fans and ticket revenue, truly, they’re not. Fans might not know this, but the leagues have gone to some great lengths, particularly in recent years, to avoid scheduling their games on the same nights as other leagues, and it’s precisely because they’re not trying to compete against them.

Kansas City is more than big enough to support the leagues we have, and in fact, it was big enough to support past leagues that had to dissolve for various reasons too. It was phenomenal seeing all these familiar faces in the crowd Saturday night, and we hope it continues.


A Challenge

We’re all Derby PeopleTM, and there’s plenty of room for everyone.

So right now, we’d like to issue a friendly challenge to everyone involved with the Kansas City roller derby community: support the leagues you don’t play for.

Whether you play for KCRW, Fountain City, or the Missouri River Rollers, you could be seriously missing out if you aren’t at least checking out one of their events.

Go to their bouts, learn their rule set, buy some merch, and wear your own team/league colors while you’re at it. There’s nothing in the world wrong with representing your own league everywhere you go, and doing so at another league’s events can really build community and raise awareness for this phenomenal sport in the Kansas City area.

Many of you already do this on a regular basis, and we’d like to encourage even more to join in. The sport of roller derby can only benefit from supporting its own.