DNN Best of 2010 Reader Poll: Results

DNN Best of 2010 Reader Poll: Results The winner of the 2010 DNN Reader's Poll Best Photo category. Subject: Carmen Getsome, Rat City. Photo: Axle Adams.

Bout of the Year

Winner: Rocky Mountain 147, Oly 146 (856 votes, 54%)

Second Place: Charm City 152, Boston 136 (88 votes, 5%)
Third Place: Victoria 78, Sun State 76 (82 votes, 5%)

It wasn’t even close for this one — in our 11 categories this year, Bout Of The Year was the only one where the winner took a majority of the votes, and it’s not hard to see why. From its setup as the rubber match between a 14-1 Rocky and a 15-1 Oly both with their only losses in 2010 at the hands of the other, to its spectacular individual performances from Atomatrix, Frida Beater, Tannibal Lector and Amanda Jamitinya, to its final two neck-snapping momentum swings (a 23-8 jam for Oly followed by the game-winning 9-0 to Rocky with no time remaining on the game clock), it would have been almost impossible to script a more dramatic game to cap the WFTDA championship. If you considered going to Chicago for the tournament but ended up not making it, you probably totally hate yourself right now. As you should.

Best Rivalry

Winner: Rocky Mountain / Oly (399 votes, 25%)

Second Place: Gotham / Philly (271 votes, 17%)
Third Place: Charm City / Boston (179 votes, 11%)

See above. In a year that saw WFTDA’s West Region establishing itself as one of the primary enclaves of power in the sport, RMRG and Oly battled for dominance at the top all year long. The three games that Rocky Mountain and Oly played in 2010 went 121-101 Oly, 127-86 Rocky, and 147-146 Rocky — just a 22 point differential over 3 hours worth of gameplay. Notably, Rocky Mountain was also the winner for last year’s Best Rivalry, against Denver.

Most Improved Team

Winner: Rocky Mountain (281 votes, 17%)

Second Place: Bay Area (223 votes, 14%)
Third Place: Montreal (190 votes, 12%)

In 2009, they exploded out of their region and into the national tournament for the first time with mid-season additions of DeRanged, Psycho Babble and Ecko, but even though they managed to finish #4 overall, their season would end on a sour note with an ugly moment in a loss to Texas and a solid defeat at the hands of cross-town rivals Denver. In 2010, though, RMRG upped their individual and team games, showing significant growth when they easily dismissed Texas by 99 points in May, and plugged in the last two elements for a championship team by adding transfers Urrk’n Jerkin As Booty Blockya and Amanda Jamitiniya (from Fort Collins and Duke City, respectively).

Best Regular Season Event

Winner: East Coast Derby Extravaganza (506 votes, 32%)

Second Place: RollerCon (309 votes, 19%)
Third Place: Wild West Showdown (139 votes, 8%)

First held in 2007 and now with four editions under its belt, the three-ring circus ECE (or ECX, or ECDE, or ECDX, depending on who you’re talking to) is the most venerable of the regular-season multi-bout events, and the Philly Rollergirls’ success in pulling it off has inspired similar large-scale events around the nation. But although you might be able to get two tracks of sanctioned action going on at your event, and you might be able to get an extra challenge track for fun bouts going on at your event, and you might be able to schedule the best in the nation to play at your event, you’re still going to need to put the whole shebang next to a summer pool party if you’re really gonna compete with ECE.

Best Venue

Winner: UIC Pavilion, Chicago (319 votes, 20%)

Second Place: Key Arena, Seattle (173 votes, 11%)
Third Place: Doll Factory, Los Angeles (153 votes, 9%)

Windy City’s UIC Pavilion was nearly the exact perfect size for the WFTDA’s premier tournament this year and continued the sport’s move towards more traditional athletic venues (it also serves as a venue for college basketball and volleyball.) With excellent sight lines from almost anywhere in the stands and some pretty nifty messaging via LED display that encircles the track on the upper balcony, the Best Venue ended up being the location of the Bout of the Year. Can’t ask for much more than that from a season-ending game.

Best Announcer

Winner: Dumptruck (426 votes, 27%)

Second Place: Val Capone (360 votes, 22%)
Third Place: Pelvis Costello (107 votes, 6%)

It is completely and utterly impossible to mistake Dumptruck for anybody else whether on the mic or in person, which, really, may be for the best. Here at DNN, we’re extremely grateful that he was able to make it to all of the Big 5 tournaments this year and contribute his quick wit and derby knowledge to the coverage of some of the most dramatic action flat-track has ever seen. Without Dumptruck, how would we ever know when a jammer had been sent to the penalty box?

Best Photo

Winner: Axle Adams (399 votes, 25%)

Second Place: Dave Wood (163 votes, 10%)
Third Place: Gil Leora (157 votes, 10%)

This holy-crap shot of Rat City’s Carmen Getsome being signaled lead in the Rat’s Nest quickly made the rounds online when it was posted this summer and we weren’t very surprised to see about a billion different people nominate it for this poll. Best Photo of 2010 goes to the Best Photographer of 2009, making Axle Adams the only repeat winner of a DNN Reader’s Poll superlative.

Most Underrated Player

Winner: Assaultin’ Pepa, Rocky Mountain (50 votes, 9%)

Second Place: Maura Buse, Boston (25 votes, 4%)
Third Place: Juliet Bravo, Rat City (15 votes, 2%)

This category was write-in only, and just like last year, it looks like a lot of poll respondents don’t do well with open-ended questions — we had 512 voters participating in this category (slightly less than 1/3 of the 1569 voters who voted in the rest of the poll). Nonetheless, yet another award goes to the champs from Rocky Mountain, as longtime pack brutalizer Assaultin’ Pepa takes honors for most underrated.

Rookie of the Year

Winner: Urrk’n Jerkin As Booty Blockya, Rocky Mountain (546 votes, 34%)

Second Place: OMG WTF, Gotham (180 votes, 11%)
Third Place: Lil’ Paine, Boston (116 votes, 7%)

Urrk’n made her debut as a RMRG all-star in August when Rocky Mountain went to Chicago and defeated Windy City 151-56, but it wasn’t until a couple of months later at Western Regionals that most of the derby world got a look at what RMRG had added to their roster. Unbelievable footwork and agility (well illustrated in this highlight clip from the Westerns championship match against Oly) made her practically a shoo-in for this year’s ROTY award. It marks the second year in a row that a Rocky Mountain player picked up that award, as Whipity Pow took it in 2009.

Most Valuable Blocker

Winner: Psycho Babble, Rocky Mountain (270 votes, 17%)

Second Place: Amanda Jamitinya, Rocky Mountain (209 votes, 13%)
Third Place: Sassy, Oly (201 votes, 7%)

Intimidating, fiery Psycho Babble proved a major thorn in the side of opposing jammers all across the nation this year, but an already exceptional year peaked at the end of the Championships when she helped RMRG short-circuit Gotham’s normally overwhelming jammer attack for a critical first-half that gave Rocky Mountain the lead and momentum they’d ride through the second half and into the championship.

Best Double-Threat

Winner: Suzy Hotrod, Gotham (338 votes, 21%)

Second Place: Joy Collision, Charm City (207 votes, 13%)
Third Place: Jackie Daniels, Windy City (204 votes, 13%)

Although she makes her most visual impact with the jam star, Suzy’s victory here for the double-threat category reflects the respect she has when let loose in the pack — that same footwork, acceleration and agility that makes her so hard to stop on offense also makes her extremely hard to keep away from an opposing jammer. Time after time this year, Gotham slotted her in for increased second-half blocking duties against a tiring opponent, and almost every time it contributed to one of Gotham’s many lopsided wins.

Most Valuable Jammer

Winner: Bonnie Thunders, Gotham (416 votes, 26%)

Second Place: DeRanged, Rocky Mountain (296 votes,18%)
Third Place: Urrk’n Jerkin As Booty Blockya, Rocky Mountain (213 votes, 13%)

When the flat-track game started to get rolling, skaters usually fell into two categories — tiny fast jammers and big scary blockers. As the game evolves, we’re starting to see teams draw success from larger, more physical jammers who fall in between those two extremes, can smash their own way through a pack and are hard to move off their lines. The slender Bonnie Thunders is a bit of a throwback — as much as any sport this young can have a throwback, anyway. Her jukes and timing make her the human equivalent of a knuckleball coming through the pack, leaving opposing blockers either to wait too long to engage or miss with a poorly-timed hit — she’s one of the very few jammers who can separate an opposing wall without actually touching it. Along with fellow winner Suzy Hotrod, she’s a big part of the reason Gotham has been a serious threat to win it all every year since 2007.