This weekend, Kansas City roller derby fans, is what we’ve all been waiting for — the return of roller derby after a long, long delay.
Saturday night, February 26, Fountain City Roller Derby kicks off the 2022 season with their first scheduled bout in more than two years. As always, B&D Skate Center is the place. Doors open at 6:00 p.m., and the first whistle is promptly at 6:30.
Ushering in the return to the flat track are two match-ups featuring perennial, old-school rivals from way back in the day when the league was still called Dead Girl Derby.
To begin, multi-year FCRD champions the Shotgun Sheilas face off against the Deadly Sirens in a rematch of the 2019 championship bout that saw the Sheilas add another trophy to their collection. The Sirens will no doubt be back hungrier than ever, as they remain the only team in Fountain City to have never taken home the championship.
Later, the Royal Pains and the Lovely Lethals square off in their season opener to add another chapter to a very long history of epic battles between these two indomitable squads. The league simply couldn’t have chosen a better way to bring us back to the sport of roller derby than this weekend’s event.
Masks are mandatory at B&D this Saturday night. Admission for adults 18 and over is $15 each, and anyone 17 and under enters free when accompanied by an adult guardian.
As always, KC Derby Digest will be there covering all the action. You can follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Smugmug, our official photo album.
We simply can’t wait to see you all trackside as Fountain City kicks off the 2022 season!
Our Featured Skater for the month of December is Mel Malice of the Kansas City Roller Warriors,
also known as Pearl Jam of Fountain City Roller Derby!
Name: Mel Malice / Pearl Jam Team: Dreadnought Dorothys, Shotgun Sheilas Number: 318 Position: Jammer, occasional pivot and blocker Seasons with KCRW: 4 Seasons with FCRD: 1
How did you originally get involved with roller derby in Kansas City?
“[At work], I was trained for my initial role by a super bad-ass lady by the name of Brenda Peters. She had skated for the Knockouts for many seasons and told me about roller derby. I went to one of the games, screamed my head off cheering, and decided in about 10 seconds that I had to do this sport. Within two weeks, I bought a starter set of gear and signed up for the very next Warriors in Training. It was love at first sight.”
Tell us the origins of your derby names.
“An old high school friend used to call MelMal, which is a nickname born from combining the first three letters of my first and last name at the time. It stuck for a decade, so when I joined derby, I wanted my name to be a nod to it. Mel Malice was born!
When I joined FCRD, I needed to choose a different name. So I took my middle name, Pearl, and the position I most often play, a jammer, and a good music band to make Pearl Jam my name over in that league! It works very well for when I have to go to the box. I hear my middle name and I know I’m in trouble!!”
Roller derby changes every life it touches. How has it changed yours?
“It taught me how to take my space in life, how to be unapologetic. In life, you will come across tough walls. You can either quit or move mountains — your choice. Success takes work, and falling is necessary, so get used to picking yourself up. But know that nothing is truly done alone, and that your chosen family will be there for you. Roller derby is a family.”
What sets you apart in roller derby?
“I joke that I shit rainbows, but I honestly think my attitude does. I laugh at my own failures, and I come to practice hungry. I want to lift up the women around me, and love getting beat to heck by them.”
What makes Mel Malice/Pearl Jam tick? At the end of the day, what keeps you going in this crazy love we call roller derby?
“Nothing makes me more angry than watching people give up, either on themselves, on each other, or on the hard work it takes to compete. But the thing that keeps me going is how much love and encouragement we have for each other. My journey and someone else’s are going to be different, but I love watching my teammates and leaguemates do amazing things. And winning.”
To see more of Mel Malice/Pearl Jam and all of Kansas City roller derby in action, visit our photo albums on Smugmug, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram.
Time to get on the stick again, derby fans. This Saturday night, the Kansas City Roller Warriors return to Memorial Hall for Game 2 of their 2019-2020 season.
Click for the Facebook event page
The 2019 Rink of Fire champions, the Victory Vixens, take on a resurgent Dreadnought Dorothys squad that’s clearly hungry for a championship run in the new season. Later, the Black Eye Susans face off against a Knockouts team that was upset in last year’s Rink of Fire and is looking to start the year strong.
This kind of early-season action is the stuff roller derby dreams are made of, so get there early and don’t miss a moment!
Doors open at Memorial Hall at 5:00 Saturday evening. The first bout begins at 6:00. As always, adult tickets are $15 at the door, and kids ages 6-12 are $10 each. Twelve-ounce beers will be available for $2 until 6:00, and the beneficiary of this month’s 50/50 raffle is the KC Anti-Violence Project.
Join us at Memorial Hall Saturday night for Game 2 of KCRW’s 15th season of derby madness, fans! We’ll see you there!
This coming season, in 2020, we will be joining the Capital City Crushers of Topeka for all their home bouts and events!
We’ll be shooting and reporting on their games (schedule and weather permitting), just like we do for KCRW and Fountain City, and we’ll be including them in Featured Skater articles, our monthly player profiles that get you, the derby fan, up close and personal with some of the best players in the area.
Capital City will be announcing their 2020 schedule soon, and we’ll let you know the moment they do.
You might be thinking, wait. Isn’t this “KC” Derby Digest? Topeka isn’t exactly KC, is it?
And that’s another thing — we’re going to be branching out in the coming seasons. New year, new decade, new KC Derby Digest, am I right? We’re going to be bringing you more flat track action, covering more events, and hopefully even traveling and covering some tournaments in the region, whenever possible.
The roller derby leagues in Kansas City and beyond continue to up their respective games, and we’d be doing them (and you, the fans) a disservice if we didn’t do the same. So buckle up — as we head into our ninth season covering The Greatest Sport in the World, things are only getting better. We hope you’ll join us.
The beginning of every new sports season brings with it a great deal of promise and excitement. That goes double for the Kansas City Roller Warriors, who have blazed a trail of flat track roller derby glory in Kansas City that reaches all the way back to 2005.
Friends and fans alike are understandably excited when a new season begins, but I have news for all the derby fans in Kansas City: the 2019-20 season could be unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Between the exciting new recruits, the returning veterans from last season, and the superstars of yesteryear re-joining the league — some of them after years of retirement from the sport — we could be in for the most insane season in KCRW history, if we’re not careful.
Last Saturday night, KCRW kicked off the brand new season, one they decided to begin in November, which has only happened one other time in league history. The crowd in attendance was given a mere taste of the season to come, and those who missed out will have their chance to make up for that mistake when the Roller Warriors take the track again on December 14.
For now, let’s take a look at what awaits us in the coming months.
Way back when I was just a wee fan cheering my little flat track heart out from the crash zone at Municipal Auditorium, one of the most exciting pieces of news I could have gotten was that a favorite retired skater was back in the fray.
Returning fans were treated to that very news Saturday night as a whole handful of superstars, several of whom haven’t competed on the track for quite some time, carved out yet another place for themselves in league history and made their season debut for a new generation of roller derby fanatics in the crowd.
Superstars returning to the flat track for the 2019-20 season include:
Annie Maul: Certainly one of the most prominent players in the long and storied history of the league, Ms. Maul was sponsored by Riedell Skates back in the day and was the pride of the Victory Vixens for years on end. Last weekend, she kicked off the 2019-20 season as a Black Eye Susan.
Bruz Her: Long known as a defensive wall unto herself for the dreaded Dreadnought Dorothys in their late-2000s heyday, she took her talents to the Knockouts and Victory Vixens in later seasons before taking a well-earned retirement in 2016. She’s back with the Vixens this season, and we couldn’t be more excited.
Eclipse: Accurately billed for years as a “defensive powerhouse” for the powerful Dreadnought Dorothys and the All-Star travel team, this legendary blocker retired after the 2011 season and subsequently coached off and on for house teams in the years since. Such is our regard for the mighty Eclipse that we’ve believed since her retirement that her number, 0, should have been retired along with her. She re-joins KCRW for 2019-20 as a Knockout.
Jess Decker: One of the brightest faces on the track in recent memory, Jess Decker was a longtime Knockout before gracefully exiting the track to pursue other endeavors. She returns to KCRW after only a couple of years off, this time drafted to the Black Eye Susans.
Lucha Lethal: The former Dreadnought Dorothys mainstay quietly retired from the league around 2013, then played a couple of seasons for then-Dead Girl Derby. She returns to the Dorothys for the 2019-20 season.
Shirley Gonnahitya: This beloved former Victory Vixen took some time off from the league, but not from our hearts. Die-hard Shirley fans got their wish Saturday night as Ms. Gonnahitya was re-introduced to the flat track, this time wearing Knockouts teal.
Tuff Noogies: The longtime Black Eye Susan finally hung up her skates in 2015 after a distinguished career as a Roller Warrior, and we frankly never thought we’d see her on the track again. We couldn’t be happier to have been wrong. Noogies was drafted to the Dreadnought Dorothys for this season, and we’re thrilled to see her out there.
And by “rookies,” we of course mean “first-time Roller Warriors,” since you’ll quickly realize most of these new phenoms have clearly been on skates for quite some time.
For our money, the most exciting newcomer to the league this season would have to be Alley Cat, who among other things, scored herself a 20-point jam Saturday night and netted the team MVP distinction even as her Dorothys fell to the Knockouts by more than 60 points. As of press time, we know very little about this incredible new recruit, who again will almost certainly turn out to be “new” in name only, given the level of experience her tenacity and skill seemed to betray last weekend.
“Might bust some walls later, idk.”
The Dorothys also gave an honorable mention to newcomer Diva Destruction, who shows some amazing promise in her own right, and about whom you’ll certainly hear more as the season goes on.
Another rookie Roller Warrior we’re extremely excited about is Hellvetica, a “legacy” skater whose mother, Murphy’s Law, was a perennial Plan B powerhouse who retired with distinction after the 2012 season.
But don’t kid yourself, this isn’t your mother’s roller derby; young jammer Hellvetica seems anxious to make a name for herself in this league, and if her performance Saturday night is any indication, she clearly has everything she needs to do just that.
Not that the Knockouts lack anything a championship-caliber team would need to make another Rink of Fire run, but Hellvetica will certainly add another dimension of jamming firepower to an already fearsome squad, so you can expect great things from her and the Glitter Mafia in 2019-20.
Of course, these aren’t the only new additions to the Kansas City Roller Warriors this season — see also No Class Lass, V-2 Bomber, and Quik Trip, just to name a few.
All things considered, we don’t think it’s a stretch to say these Roller Warriors have some amazing, amazing things in store for the new season, and we hope you’ll join us trackside for each and every bout as the competition heats up.
Who’s your favorite newcomer? What old school veteran are you most excited about returning to the track? Leave a comment below or sound off on our Facebook page and let us know what you think!
Keep an eye on KC Derby Digest for updates and information on the new season. The Kansas City Roller Warriors‘ next bout is on December 14!
Last Saturday night, Fountain City Roller Derby fans were treated to a league first when the undefeated Shotgun Sheilas became the first team in FCRD history to take home back-to-back championships, holding off the resurgent Deadly Sirens just long enough to score a 61-56 victory.
Earlier this week, we caught up with Coach Wyatt to get her thoughts on the 2019 season and what it’s meant to her and the team:
“I have coached the Sheilas since the 2011/12 season. Every year this team amazes me with their hard work and desire to continue to build on the season before. I appreciate the work and effort that every Sheila skater and coaching staff member put in. We have an amazing group of humans that I am happy to call my friends and family.”
Congratulations to Coach Wyatt and the entire Shotgun Sheilas squad on a history-making championship run, and many thanks to all of Fountain City Roller Derby for a phenomenal 2019 season. We can’t wait to join you trackside in 2020!
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