We’ve got some catching up to do here at KC Derby Digest—life happens, as you know—but things in the world of Kansas City roller derby are certainly heating up, and Fountain City Roller Derby‘s 2023 season is a big part of the reason why.
Tonight is Game 2 of their already white-hot 2023 season, and this evening’s match-ups will probably be the ones to watch for the rest of the year.
The Shotgun Sheilas and Deadly Sirens both currently sit at 1-0 on the season, whereas the Royal Pains and Lovely Lethals are at 0-1 thus far, and therein lies the appeal: Someone’s going to lose who hasn’t, and someone’s going to win who hasn’t. It’s going to be a very interesting night on the track.
Doors open at 6:00 p.m. at Olahrama, formerly known as B&D SkateCenter, in Independence. First whistle is at 6:30. All the details are in the graphic above.
There’s much more to come here at KC Derby Digest. Stay tuned for more information on the coming season and for some amazing photo albums as well.
Our Featured Skater for the month of June is CleoSmashYa of the Shotgun Sheilas!
Name: CleoSmashYa Team(s): Shotgun Sheilas, Public Enemies Number: 1030 Position(s): Jammer, pivot Seasons with FCRD: 2
Q: How did you come to be involved with Fountain City Roller Derby?
“In my early twenties, I used to inline skate on ramps and transition at skate parks. So when one of my ex-coworkers introduced me to roller derby, I knew this was something I had to be a part of. I get to skate and hit people?! Heck yeah!”
Q: Explain the origin of your derby name.
“I’ve always been obsessed with Egypt since I was a tiny girl. I’d read every book I could get my hands on, tried to study hieroglyphics, and wanted to be an archeologist. So fast forward to my early thirties when I did the study on my family’s lineage, and with the help of an ancestry test, I found out I was 12% Moroccan/Egyptian. I was beyond stoked; hence, CleoSmashya was born, based on a powerful Egyptian Queen.”
Q: Roller derby changes every life it touches. How has it changed yours?
“I don’t know where to start… I could go on forever.
Derby has saved me. At a time when I had very little family and no community to fall back on, derby fell into my lap. The universe knew I needed a community to lean on and give back to. I have built friendships that are closer than family. I know that derby has helped me blossom into a strong and powerful woman. I have found my voice, worth, and belonging. The derby community has helped me find out a lot about myself, for which I’m forever grateful.”
Q: What makes CleoSmashYa tick? What keeps you going in this crazy love we call roller derby?
“I think knowing I’m a part of something bigger than myself keeps me going. Knowing my teammates are out there giving their all, and making holes and protecting me, makes me want to go even harder. I don’t want to let them down! I am only as good as we are as a whole.
If I could play and sell roller derby for a living, I’d be fantastic.”
To see more of CleoSmashYa, the Shotgun Sheilas, and all the incredible action Fountain City Roller Derby has to offer throughout the year, join us on Instagram, follow us on Twitter, and check out our photo albums on Smugmug.
This weekend, as the Shotgun Sheilas captured their fifth Fountain City Roller Derby house championship, the legendary Coach Wyatt announced she would be stepping down as head coach of the Black & Grey.
We caught up with Coach Wyatt after Saturday night’s game to get her thoughts on derby retirement, the 2022 season, and coming back from COVID after two years on the sidelines:
“Coming out of COVID, I was worried. I didn’t know what derby looked like after two-plus years away. But the second we had our roster, the hard work began for the Sheilas.
From the vets down to the newbies, everyone bought into the team and trusted each other. Aneeda Hurtcha has always been our rock, our leader, and together, we all built something that I think is pretty special. They fought for, and earned, this championship.
Saying I’m proud of the Sheilas (and to be a Sheila) is an understatement—not just this roster, but all that came before. I’ve been a Sheila a long time, and I give credit to roller derby for much of the life that I have. It’s bittersweet, but I couldn’t have scripted it better, going out on a three-peat.”
There’s really no way to properly and completely thank someone like Coach Wyatt for everything she’s brought to the league, but we can sure try.
Many people these days don’t even realize she was originally a Deadly Siren waaaay back in 2011 before KC Derby Digest was even born. Her derby name was Attorney Outlaw.
The Sirens even faced off against the Lethals for the trophy that year, although the Lethals came out on top.
In the years that followed—beginning in 2012, under Coach Wyatt’s leadership—the Shotgun Sheilas would play in the championship game every single season there was one with no exceptions:
2012 vs. Lovely Lethals (Sheilas win)
2013 vs. Royal Pains (Sheilas lose)
2014 vs. Royal Pains (Sheilas win)
2015 vs. Royal Pains (Sheilas lose)
2016 vs. Lovely Lethals (Sheilas lose)
2017 vs. Royal Pains (Sheilas lose)
2018 vs. Deadly Sirens (Sheilas win)
2019 vs. Deadly Sirens (Sheilas win)
2020 — no champion (COVID)
2021 — no champion (COVID)
2022 vs. Lovely Lethals (Sheilas win)
That’s leadership. That’s dedication. That’s a commitment to excellence you can’t buy.
And that’s who Coach Wyatt is to this league: one of the most beloved and well-respected players and coaches to ever take the track in Kansas City—a go-getter who’s gone and gotten, simple as that.
Taking nothing away from their incredible skaters and assistant coaches, I think we can all agree that the Shotgun Sheilas owe their dynasty in great part to the unmatched talents and relentless pursuit of perfection Coach Wyatt has demonstrated over the last decade.
We will certainly miss her intensity and laser focus trackside, but we look forward to cheering on the Sheilas (and all the Fountain City teams) right next to her in the stands in the coming seasons.
Saturday night, the Shotgun Sheilas‘ seemingly unstoppable dynasty notched another championship win at B&D Skate Center and made a little history in the progress.
They became the first-ever five-time Fountain City Roller Derby champions, having taken home the trophy in 2012, 2014, 2018, 2019, and now 2022.
They became the first team in league history to three-peat.
Truly, there’s not much more you can say about a team that went undefeated again and brought home their fifth championship with such extraordinary dispatch. We’ve seen some pretty impressive teams over the last 12 years or so, and history will certainly judge these Shotgun Sheilas among the best of the best.
Congratulations to Coach Wyatt and the entire coaching staff of the Sheilas for putting together such a formidable squad. Congrats are due, of course, to the Sheilas themselves for their incredible tenacity and hard work coming back from the plague of the 21st century to take home yet another trophy.
And as always, congratulations go out to the entire Fountain City Roller Derby organization for yet another fantastic season. You’re a big part of the reason we do what we do here at KC Derby Digest, and you’ve provided derby fans in Kansas City with some of the best flat-track action around for many years now.
We look forward to your all-gender season kick-off on July 30 and can’t wait to see you trackside again!
In a year that can’t seem to make up its mind—and a return to derby that seems to be happening in fits and starts all over—don’t try to tell Fountain City Roller Derby that things aren’t going strong, because this Saturday night, the four house teams take the track for the last time this season to show us all what they’re made of.
Here’s how the season has shaken out up to this point:
Shotgun Sheilas: 3-0
Lovely Lethals: 2-1
Deadly Sirens: 1-2
Royal Pains: 0-3
Statistically, things don’t always line up quite so nicely. You know this game—there’s no telling how many times we’ve had to sit and pore over the numbers to find out what teams were even going to the championship bout, let alone who might win.
Championship Bout: Shotgun Sheilas vs. Lovely Lethals
This year, like others, there are some constants and there are some surprises. The Shotgun Sheilas have gone undefeated for the umpteenth time; their appearance in the big game this weekend comes as no surprise to anyone who’s been watching since about 2012. They’re back-to-back defending champs, meaning they took home the trophy in 2018 and 2019; it hasn’t been awarded since all things COVID descended and took our beloved sport with it in early 2020, leaving us champ-less in ’20 and ’21.
The Lovely Lethals make their first championship appearance since they took home all the marbles in 2016, and they’re looking for an upset against a Sheilas squad that hasn’t lost a game since late ’17 and spent ’22 outscoring their opponents 187-79, a point differential of +108.
By contrast, the Lethals go into the championship game with a winning record but a negative point differential (-10), having been outscored by their opponents 122-132 on the season.
In fact, the Sheilas are the only team in the league to have outscored their opponents overall, and for all these reasons and more, we’re predicting a Shotgun Sheilas win by about 15 points.
As always, we expect a significant measure of statistical analysis to go out the window, given the nature of championship bouts, not to mention the fact that the Sheilas’ 36-20 win over the Lethals in Game 2 was their lowest-scoring game of the entire season. No other team held the Sheilas to anywhere near 36 points this year, so you can expect a fight from the Ladies in Pink as the women’s division wraps up another phenomenal season.
Grudge Match: Deadly Sirens vs. Royal Pains
Let’s just be honest. The 2022 season hasn’t gone the way either of these two teams had hoped. The Royal Pains haven’t gone winless in quite a few years, and the Deadly Sirens have made some significant strides of late, even challenging the Sheilas for the trophy two years in a row. Although their championship efforts came up short (and COVID threw a wrench into absolutely everything), nobody really expected both the Pains and the Sirens to be at the bottom of the heap come June.
But here we are—two talented teams with stacked rosters slugging it out in the annual grudge match purely for bragging rights. Statistically, the Sirens have the edge, not only with a 1-2 record but also with a less-bad point differential of -45 to the Pains’ -52. Given the numbers, we expect the Sirens will probably pull this one out, but time will tell, and we’ve certainly been wrong before. These two teams boast very similar points scored/points allowed stats, so this year’s grudge match should be pretty even as well, which is what fans really want to see anyway.
Doors open at B&D Skate Center in Independence at 6:00 p.m., and the first whistle is promptly at 6:30.
Adult tickets are $15 at the door, and don’t forget that everyone 17 and under is admitted free with a parent or legal guardian.
Arrive early and get a good seat as these four explosive teams blow the roof off the joint in another spectacular season-ending flat-track showdown. Who’s your pick to take home the trophy? Will the Shotgun Sheilas make it a three-peat, or will the Lovely Lethals pull off the ultimate upset?
There’s only one way to find out. We’ll see you at B&D at 6:00 Saturday night!
KC Derby Digest’s Featured Skater for the month of April is Triple Threat of The Royal Pains!
Name: Triple Threat Teams: The Royal Pains, The Untouchables Number: 2-13 Positions: jammer, blocker, pivot Seasons with FCRD: 3
How did you originally come to be involved with Fountain City?
“I was at a family night open skate at Landmark skate center, where Devil Doll and Frisky Business were there working on skills. So I, an outgoing 16-year-old, started talking to them. That then led to them inviting me to a private Lovely Lethals practice, and I was hooked from there!”
Tell us the origin of your derby name.
“I was sitting with my grandma one day talking about derby, and I had mentioned that I hadn’t thought of a name yet. I told her that I didn’t really know what I wanted to be called. I had a small list at the time, but I didn’t love any of them. Somehow she came up with Triple Threat. It was not until later that I understood that it had another meaning in derby.”
Roller derby changes every life it touches. How has it changed yours?
“We play for fun, but in return, it gives us so much more than we could ever think of—leadership, sportsmanship, and even how to react when you lose a game. Everybody says that failure is more important than success. I’ve learned that whenever I face failure, it just lights a fire inside me to improve and do better next time.”
What sets you apart in roller derby?
“I would have to say my willingness to help and teach others! Some people will say it’s my arrogance that sets me apart, but really I just get very competitive. In the end, I am really just here to have fun. Winning is just a bonus.”
What makes Triple Threat tick? What keeps you going in this crazy love we call roller derby?
“What keeps me going is trying to help my team and league-mates not give up and show them that, while sometimes the work is hard, it’s not as hard when you have a friend to help get you through it.”
To see more of Triple Threat and all the players of Fountain City Roller Derby, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and check out our full photo albums on Smugmug.
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