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.