The debate begins anew every year, derby fans, and since 2011, KC Derby Digest has been on hand to settle the debates and offer the final word once and for all. You know what we’re talking about — the annual KCRW Fan Awards.
Voting, as you know, closed some time ago, and the official voting results can be found on the KCRW Facebook page. But we would be remiss if we didn’t offer our own unique, fan-based perspective on the subject, as we are merely derby fans ourselves, after all. Here now are our picks for the 2012 KCRW Fan Awards. Please accept our take on the season with the appropriate reverence and silent respect it so deserves. (I don’t even know what that means.)
All photos courtesy of Phil Peterson, dammit.
Best Jammer 2012
One of the best things about the Kansas City Roller Warriors being such a national-caliber team is that there’s no shortage of ass-kickety goodness, and Track Rat certainly leads the pack this year. (See what I did there?) Any fan who’s ever attended a KCRW bout knows what I’m talking about. She’s always been one of the most explosive, scrappy, reliable jammers on the Vixens’ roster, and she’s a staple of the all-star squad, which makes her invaluable to the national picture. But most importantly, she’s easily one of the most dynamic personalities on the track, and that goes a long way in terms of entertainment value for the fans, which is what we really care about. Simply put, Track Rat is the complete package on the jammer end of things — just ask her. Bam!
Best Blocker 2012
There are few skaters in few leagues whose accomplishments can stack up to the Dorothy-turned-Knockout we know as Bruz Her. Official statistics are hard to come by, but educated observers have indicated that upwards of 80% of all WFTDA jammers would rather retire to the bathroom with a bottle of Xanax and a handle of Jim Beam than begin even a single jam opposite this KCRW legend. Watch her steely, calculated performance out on the track sometime and all will become clear: even surrounded by the intimidating talents of Evolution, Tuff Noogies, Annie Maul, and many others, Bruz Her is a name whose reputation often precedes her with fans and opposing skaters alike.
Best Skater Name
Mary Lou Wretched
Selecting a derby name is tricky business, much more complicated than we realized when we first began this little endeavor known as KC Derby Digest a year ago. Dealing with Two Evils is the least of most players’ worries — you then have the ongoing (and unforgiving) court of public opinion, and believe me, we’ve seen some derby names in the past few years that made us wonder what exactly was in that pipe — and how long they must have smoked it to come up with what they did.
Well… that didn’t happen with Mary Lou Wretched. She took one of the most prominent American Olympic names of the 1980s and morphed it into what has to be the most remarkable and referentially clever skate name in all of Kansas City roller derby. She recently told KC Derby Digest, “… Mary Lou Retton was one of my heroes. I always loved the fact that she was a charming, all-American girl and fearless athlete. So when my best friend suggested ‘Mary Lou Wretched,’ I knew it was perfect for me.” Perfect indeed.
Skater You’d Like to Have Land in your Lap
For the second year running, Extremely Frank gets the nod and runs away with our hearts. The vote by our Bored of Directors — yes, they really are — was unanimous: there is no one in the league who masters the art of Looking Good on the Track like Frank. The versatile three-year Black Eye Susans veteran often lives up to her moniker as well, beguiling both mind and spirit with an uncompromising candor that is at once jarring and astonishingly sexy. Said Extremely Frank at our first meeting, “You’re KC Carr? Your site sucks and your photos are worse.” I may have passed out at that point. Also, I made that up.
Skater You Consider the Crowd-Pleaser
In our many travels, our many derby road trips, and our journeys across the country to venues near and far, we have scarcely encountered a skater, talent, and personality who captures the imaginations of young fans and old the way Red Ripper does. Ask your kids, ask your wife — fully 50% of the fans we informally surveyed named this Vixens veteran as their favorite skater in all of KCRW, and it’s really not hard to see why. Her longevity with the league — she’s just now retiring after eight years of equal opportunity ass-kicking — speaks well of her dedication to the sport, her teammates, and her fans of (quite literally) all ages. The kids love her, the guys drool over her, and the girls… the girls wanna be her.
We realize we haven’t settled a damn thing here, so want to hear from you, derby fans! Who’d you vote for in this year’s KCRW Fan Awards poll? Which skater would you like to have land in your lap? Leave your picks in the comments section below, dammit!