There was a time in Kansas City when the roller derby season didn’t start for another two or three months. The Kansas City Roller Warriors‘ season typically ran from March to August, and Fountain City usually started in February and lasted through roughly the end of summer.
Times have thankfully changed, and nowadays, the months-long wait for more roller derby action has been pared down significantly — especially when you consider KCRW’s mini-tournaments and invitationals that can extend into December, rendering the “off season” a bit of a misnomer.
Derby fans in Kansas City will be able to get their flat track fix starting January 5 when KCRW kicks off its 2019 season at Memorial Hall in KCK.
We’ll have the full details for you as bout day draws nearer. Mark your calendars now for January 5 and join us trackside as we spend another incredible season covering this amazing league.
Later, toward the end of January, Fountain City Roller Derby‘s all-gender/coed league kicks off ’19 with Game 1 on January 26.
Stay tuned to KC Derby Digest, both here and on social media, for all the latest in upcoming roller derby action right here in KC. 2019 is a season you won’t want to miss!
Our Featured Dead Girl for September is Fire Wyer of the Untouchables!
Name: Fire Wyer Teams: Untouchables, Fountain City Travel Team, MADE in USA Number: 88 Position(s): Bump, Jammer, Pivot Seasons with Dead Girl Derby: 4
How did you discover Dead Girl Derby?
“Honestly, I was debating on KCRW for years and would never get the courage to just do it. I grew up skating and my dad was a huge part of my skating days and he wanted me to do derby. He passed away 10-3-10, and about a week later I found out about DGD and thought, “what the heck, I guess I will go watch a practice.” I felt like it was home the first night and felt like my dad has led me there!”
Explain the origin of your derby name.
“This was probably the hardest thing about derby. I spent many nights trying to figure this out. I knew I was getting married and I really wanted to use my maiden name in my derby name (Wyer). I threw around Barb Wyer, Live Wyer, Wyer Hang-her, and they were all taken on the register. Colin Mayhem (former DGD announcer) said, “Hey you should be Fire Wyer.” Well, it stuck! So there you have it.. FIRE WYER! 88 has always been my favorite number, and when I raced go-karts it was my number.”
Who inspires you on the track?
“I have so many… I really want to be just like Badonka Boom when I grow up! I also admire Texas Outlaw because I saw her come to recruitment the first night and didn’t have a clue how to stand on skates (love you), and within the same season she was jamming! Super amazing transformation. Ally Cap-One is another girl that has always tried to keep me in line. As a teammate, she would always be there to make sure I was keeping my cool and bring me down to earth if I would happen to travel away, and now as a coach, she is there once again to keep me skating a straight line!”
How has roller derby changed your life?
“I would have to say derby has really has taught me what teamwork really means. I have met some of the best friends I could have met! Its taught me to allow myself to have me-time, settle down, and take care of myself.”
What is it about roller derby that brings out the best in Fire Wyer?
“It really allows me to be ME. I can just cut loose and be myself. I love to belt out at the top of my lungs and sing whatever song is in my head. I can’t carry a tune and I sound like crap, but I don’t care. It has allowed me to come out of my comfort zone. Before derby, I would have NEVER dressed like this! I get to just do whatever my heart allows me to do. THATS FIRE WYER — be who I want to be.”
To see more of Fire Wyer and all the Dead Girls in action, visit our photo albums on Smugmug, like us on Facebook, and check out our newly-launched Pinterest and Instagram pages.
Tomorrow night — Sunday, September 7 — Dead Girl Derby‘s Zombie and Coed leagues will hold their first-ever championship games at B&D Skate Center in Independence.
Click for the Facebook event page.
And there’s a lot going on, so you won’t want to miss this last chance to see your Dead Girls (and Guys) in action — literally. Tomorrow night’s games will be the very last ones under the name Dead Girl Derby. Starting Monday, September 8, the name officially changes to Fountain City Roller Derby, and a brand new era of flat track awesomeness begins.
Doors open at B&D at 5:00 p.m., first whistle is at 5:30. Adults are $10, kids ages 6-12 are $5, and monkeys ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge.
And now, the previews.
Black Plague vs. Gang Green
The Plague has pretty well dominated the Green for most of 2014. Their wins in March and May were decided; we’re told their dominance in scrimmages was likewise; and many believe the Green’s win over the Plague on June 22 was at least partially the result of some major changes in the game-day rosters. Black Plague was missing some of its best blockers due to injuries and various things, and Gang Green snagged a few ladies from DGD’s house teams to fill out their roster that night too, not the least of whom was the fearsome Rebel Yelle of the Shotgun Sheilas, who can be counted on to make a difference no matter where you put her.
Yeah, you’re on your own.
But here’s where this gets really interesting: Coach Arp has informed KC Derby Digest that both the Plague and the Green are down to about six players each for various reasons most likely related to injuries and/or impending medical examinations that come with the territory in a sport like this.
As a result, the other eight-or-so roster spots on both teams will be filled by various veterans from the DGD house teams, which effectively makes this game less Plague vs. Green and more veteran mash-up. All bets are effectively off. While we haven’t seen Gang Green‘s game day roster just yet, we can tell you that if it looks anything like the Plague’s roster, this could be one of the most exciting bouts of the season, and you should under no circumstances miss the opportunity to see such a unique event.
Bottom line, we’re not picking a winner for the Black Plague vs. Gang Green championship bout because frankly, we haven’t seen these two particular teams play before in their current forms. Studying rosters side-by-side is futile. It’s all going to come down to strategy and teamwork, and we can’t wait to see how it goes down.
The Untouchables vs. The Public Enemies
We do love our coed league. Not only is it the only one of its kind in Kansas City, it’s also fascinating to see the chemistry and differing strategies employed by the ladies and gents as they work side-by-side.
But let’s be honest about one thing: the Untouchables really have been untouchable this season, and no one knows this better than the formidable Public Enemies, a team I wouldn’t want to play against on my best day. Truly, the PE’s 0-3 record against the UTs this year isn’t the result of a bad team losing out to a good team. It’s the result of a bad-ass team losing to a monstrously bad-ass team, which is what fans really pay to see anyway.
That, and they look good.
The Untouchables have beaten the Public Enemies in all three games this season by a total score of 213-111, with an average margin of victory of about 31 points per game. They will be skating tomorrow night without the legendary Jamalamadingdong, who is in Sacramento this weekend playing with the Kansas City Roller Warriors in the WFTDA Division 1 playoffs. We at KC Derby Digest steadfastly believe that no team is one player, however, and we’re not aware of any other roster changes taking place between these two teams (we’ll update if we hear of any).
Because of this, we’re predicting an Untouchables win by 25 points. The UTs might miss Donger’s terrifying jamming firepower in the beginning, but they’ll step up and fill the void, because that’s what they do. Look for both of these teams to bring everything they’ve got as they wind down the 2014 season in just under 24 hours.
Join us tomorrow night at B&D Skate Center for the final Zombie/Coed league championship games under the Dead Girl Derby moniker. Roll on, Kansas City!
It’s kind of exciting to be this caught up on derby photos this late in the season. As I was explaining to a friend just the other night, given the sheer number of leagues we cover on KC Derby Digest, it’s nearly impossible to keep photos on schedule throughout the season without fail. If nothing else, life gets in the way.
But Kansas City, as you know, has so much incredible roller derby action going on this time of year that if you’re going to keep yourself fed and on any kind of sleep schedule, you’re almost guaranteed, in our line of work, to fall behind at some point. It’s a good thing we’re just so darned dedicated, because today we bring you a whole entire slew of photos from recent events and bouts you hopefully didn’t miss, even if you haven’t seen the albums.
Just for fun, let’s see how long we can stick with a wacky “fall down/go boom” theme.
Dead Girl Derby’s Coed League
We’ve already touted the Untouchables and the Public Enemies as the best new thing in Kansas City roller derby since the Banked Beauties made their debut back in 2012 (a league we hope to see again). Competitive coed roller derby is something Kansas City has never seen before, and to be sure, this crop of Dead Girls and Guys has made the most of a fantastic idea. They held their most recent game back on June 22, and we have the photos for you.
Click for the full album.
Going backwards in time here, the Coed League held their second game of the season on May 18th, and we were there as well, capturing the madness on digital film for your enjoyment. Don’t kid yourself, though, it was for ours too.
Click for Game 2.
Dead Girl Derby’s Zombie League
Once upon a time, there was only Black Plague and Gang Green, and today, that tradition lives on stronger than ever through Dead Girl Derby‘s Zombie League.
Their most recent game was also on June 22, alongside the Coed League.
And likewise, rewinding the clock a bit, Game 2 for the Zombie League was also on May 18, so here you have it.
Fountain City Expo Games
Come September 8th, Dead Girl Derby will officially become known as Fountain City Roller Derby, a name change we’ve already squealed like a girl over in recent days and can’t wait to see finally take place.
About this time last month, the Coed League, Zombie League, and Fountain City travel teams held a unique outdoor event at the Alamo Drafthouse and put their mad derby skillz on display before riffing all over Whip It as part of a league fundraiser hosted by the Alamo. It was the most exciting new event in a long time, and we, of course, wouldn’t have missed it.
Click for the expo games photo album.
If you haven’t been up to St. Joseph to witness the flat track awesomeness that is the Blacksnake Rollergirls at the Civic Arena, you’re definitely missing out. Dead Girl Derby‘s sister league puts on a heck of a show every month, and the league is growing like a weed. They went from two house teams to four after just one season — the 2013 house championship was won by the Danger Dolls, one of the expansion teams — and there’s been no stopping them ever since.
KC Derby Digest unfortunately had to miss the BRGs’ most recent game because it was slated for July 12th, the same night as the Dead Girls, but last month’s games on June 7th were as wild as they ever were, and we were definitely there for that. It was a 60s-themed event called Peace Love & Roller Derby, so… what’s not to love?
Click for the photo album.
Previously on the Blacksnake Rollergirls‘ schedule was a May event known as ABLOCKalypse Now, a military appreciation-themed event that took place near Memorial Day, and true to its name…
Dead Girl Derby‘s third house game of the season was this past Saturday night at Hale Arena, and in the spirit of this whole keeping-up-with-photos thing we’ve got going on at the moment, we hope to have those published sometime this week.
The NEMO Viqueens, our favorite flat track team out of Kirksville, Missouri, has invited us to shoot their upcoming bout, and both the Dead Girls and the Blacksnake Rollergirls have August and September events we plan to cover as well. The 2014 season is in full swing and there’s still plenty left, including the respective championships, so stay tuned to KC Derby Digest and all our social media for the latest. As incredible as the season’s been so far… something tells us the best is still in front of us.
We at KC Derby Digest have gotten quite a few e-mails (and even a few phone calls, which is weird for a web site) from local followers of this great sport asking about the impending name change from Dead Girl Derby to Fountain City Roller Derby, a change which was announced on live television a couple of weeks ago when Coach Kentner, Mel Breakdown, Texas Outlaw, and Slim Karsmashian appeared on KCTV5 News to talk about the league and all the latest. We caught up with Coach Kentner late last week to get the full details, and here’s what he had to say, followed by our own take on this incredible announcement.
Not pictured: Coach Kentner.
KC Derby Digest:
What prompted the name change to Fountain City after five seasons?
“With the introduction of our two coed teams this year, we felt the “Girl” in Dead Girl Derby did not really describe us as a league anymore. We also wanted a name that tied us to the city that we love and come from. Kansas City’s nickname is the “City of Fountains,” so we thought Fountain City Roller Derby was a perfect fit for us.”
KC Derby Digest:
And who designed that brilliant new logo?
“Our very own skater, Zombina, was the one who designed the logo and did an amazing job.”
KC Derby Digest:
When is the name change official?
“The plan right now is to transition at the end of season on September 8th, the day after the last Coed/Zombie League bout. However, at the new recruitment nights on August 10th and 18th, the potential new league members will only know the league as Fountain City Roller Derby from the time they start.”
KC Derby Digest:
Will Dead Girl Derby merchandise still be available? Also, is the full line of FCRD merch already available, or will that take time to roll out?
“Dead Girl Derby merchandise is still available for purchase, but in limited quantities. We plan on selling it until it runs out. If we have a demand for what would now be considered “vintage” DGD gear, we will certainly look into printing more DGD merchandise. We do have some Fountain City Roller Derby [shirts] for sale, but it will take some time to get everything [else] designed and ordered. No team names will change, so team merchandise is still available for purchase. We are trying to make the transition for all our fans as easy as possible so no one gets lost in what is going on.”
Our Take on the New Name
Errrbody’s been wanting to know what KC Derby Digest thinks of the name change. Traditionally, we tend to be… well, traditionalists, so to speak. We don’t love change, and typically, we figure things are the way they are for a reason.
Having said that, we think the new league name is brilliant.
And that’s not “as opposed” to the old name, either; we’ve spoken with several people in the last couple of weeks who say they’ve always disliked the name Dead Girl Derby, and although we are not among them, we are in full agreement that the name change will benefit the league in just about every way imaginable.
Coach Kentner was exactly right: it does better reflect the league’s roots in Kansas City, and that’s important. “Fountain City” is clever, it’s culturally referential, and if you know what’s what, it does tell you where we’re from without actually naming the city. To add to the appeal, it will be vague enough for non-Kansas Citians to wonder aloud about the name, which is a form of free marketing/advertising unto itself. But perhaps most importantly, it is the latest indication that this amazing league has absolutely, positively grown into adulthood after five fantastically successful seasons.
The name Dead Girl Derby has its roots in the zombie theme the league’s bouts used to feature. In those days, Gang Green and Black Plague were the only two teams in existence, in keeping with the theme. The original logo was on board with that too:
Click to enlarge
It was fun, whimsical, and perfectly appropriate for an up-and-coming flat track league in its infancy. But I have to say, the chuckles I often heard when telling newbies about something called “Dead Girl Derby” were getting really old. Legitimacy in the eyes of the public is something roller derby may always struggle with, and this name change will be the latest nail in the coffin of the perception that this great sport is just pro rasslin’ on wheels.
At this point, they’ve outgrown the name, the logo, and the zombie theme. House games are held at Hale Arena — not exactly small potatoes. The league itself is now comprised of eight teams, and as a result, their membership has surpassed that of all other Kansas City leagues, male or female, making them “Kansas City’s largest roller derby league,” according to their still-under construction web site. A new name was simply the next logical step in the evolution of this unparalleled league, and they’ve certainly made the most of the opportunity.
In keeping with their origins, the new Fountain City logo retains at least one element of the old Dead Girl Derby design, and the Zombie League bouts held at B&D Skate Center are the perfect throwback to days gone by. From there, however, it is clearly onward and upward for this unstoppable league, and we at KC Derby Digest couldn’t be more thrilled about their continued growth and success. As these ladies and gents bring their Dead Girl days to an end and enter a new era of flat track excellence, we look forward to seeing what these incredible athletes have in store for us in future seasons.
Our Featured Dead Girl for June 2014 is Miki Malicious!
Name: Miki Malicious Teams: Lovely Lethals and Public Enemies Number: HANG10 Position(s): Blocker, Jammer Seasons with Dead Girl Derby: 1
How did you discover Dead Girl Derby?
“A flyer saying ‘are you derby strong’ caught my eye at my local music and video store. Went to the very first orientation and bought my derby skate kit from B&D that night.”
Explain the origin of your derby name.
“My grandmother. She played roller derby in high school and then went pro. Her nickname is Miki and I wanted to pay homage to her. Funny part is, I didn’t know she was a derby girl until after I joined DGD. I guess you can say roller derby runs in my family. Then, Malicious just clicked, because it’s the opposite of my persona.”
Who inspires you on the track?
“I’d like to add ‘encouraging,’ ‘supportive,’ and ‘constructive.’ Red Ripper, Crash AnialIateHer, Foxxi Brown, Mel Breakdown, Striking Dervish, Pippi Strongblocking, Lunatic Lola, ChocaZilla, Joey Lethal, and Leroy Jenkins. Of course, last but not least, my husband, my son, and my grandmother Cora ‘Miki’ Richie.”
How has roller derby changed your life?
“I fell in love with roller derby the very first day. Surprisingly and unexpectedly, it got inside my heart, resulting in more strength in mind, my health in all aspects, has never been better. Roller derby is exactly what I was missing in my life.”
What is it about roller derby that brings out the best in Miki Malicious?
“Definitely have to say more confidence, patience, self control, dedication, and strive. But seeing the proud look on my son’s face is priceless. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my husband and son for their support by letting me use them as practice dummies for hitting, blocking, hip checks, etc. I love you guys!”
All that's fit to digest from the world of Kansas City roller derby!