Preview: 2012 MRDA Championships

Preview: 2012 MRDA Championships Bracket image courtesy Men's Roller Derby Association.

BALLWIN, MO – This weekend the St. Louis GateKeepers host the second MRDA Championship in the St. Louis suburb of Ballwin, Missouri. To keep up with the expansion of the Men’s Roller Derby Association, this year’s tournament will feature the top eight teams in the currently 25-team organization. Last year, the top six took the track in Old Bethpage, NY, with the hosting New York Shock Exchange beating the Puget Sound Outcasts in the championship bout, 143-133.

Based on this season’s results, any of the top five seeds could rise up and snag the championship trophy. #5 Puget Sound and #4 Magic City play in the first round’s most intriguing bout. Both teams had minimal seasons, playing in four bouts apiece, so it is hard to say where they stack up among the MRDA’s elite. The #3 Shock Exchange are always a force to be reckoned with despite having suffered losses to the top two teams. The #2 GateKeepers only loss this season was a controversial Spring Roll bout against the Shock Exchange, which they avenged in August, 197-141, whereas top seed Your Mom romped over the competition almost all year long to jump from #7 to #1 in the organization.

Watch MRDA Champs live all weekend on DNN! First-round action begins at 9am Central on Saturday, October 20 with #1 Your Mom vs #8 Mass Malestrom; semifinals at 9am and 11am on Sunday, with the championship bout at 7pm Sunday.

#1 Your Mom Men’s Derby

2012 MRDA Record: 6-1

First Game: Saturday 9am vs #8 Mass Maelstrom

Joining MRDA in June of 2011, Your Mom Men’s Derby was able to squeeze in the four MRDA bouts needed to qualify to be ranked for the 2011 MRDA Championships. Yet, despite only losing by 43 points to then-#1 St. Louis GateKeepers, Your Mom finished one spot away from an invite to Champs. This year is a completely different story. Due in large part to a 199-150 victory over defending-Champion New York Shock Exchange at Spring Roll this year, Your Mom is attending the 2012 MRDA Championships in style as the #1 seed.

All three Your Mom skaters interviewed agreed Spring Roll was their favorite part of 2012: “Playing our first Spring Roll really felt like a ‘welcome to the club’ party for us,” Your Mom’s Peter Pan said. “Up until that point, we felt a bit like outsiders. Meeting a bunch of other players from all over really inspired us to be more focused and committed to the sport.”

“At Spring Roll, I got the chance to skate against three teams I’d never skated against and meet skaters from around the nation,” Your Mom’s vicious blocker Seahorses Forever added. Your Mom won all three of their games at Spring Roll beating Pioneer Valley Dirty Dozen (318-59) and Harm City (427-50), but beating the Shock Exchange was what really put Your Mom on everyone’s radar.

“Beating the Shock Exchange was my favorite moment of the 2012 season,” Your Mom’s Frank Not Sohotra affirmed. It was especially thrilling for Frank Not Sohotra, who was returning from a torn ACL/meniscus that sidelined him for nine months.

Going into the final regular-season rankings, Your Mom had a 6-0 record that included a 257-143 trouncing of #5 Puget Sound at home. Last month, in a bout that will not count toward the rankings, a short-handed Your Mom team was dominated by the #2-seed GateKeepers, 330-78.

The team sports two notable 2012 transfers in Dirty Larry, a founding member of long-established Twin City Terrors, and B.S. Smacker, formerly of the Green Bay Smackers (who joined the MRDA in July of this year).

So, what can we expect from Your Mom at Champs? “The blinding seductive beauty of glorious white hot sexy derby magic illuminated by emerald seahorse sunshine and other stuff too,” Seahorses Forever said.

Peter Pan (real name: Tony Muse), who along with his brother, Frank Not Sohotra (Dante Muse), has won multiple world championships in speed skating, preferred to offer an understatement: “You may see a fast guy or two.” He added, “We appreciate how much we have been accepted into the community despite only playing the sport a few years. We understand we make all kinds of rookie mistakes a team playing at our level shouldn’t make, but it is only because we are still rookies. We are not just speed skaters playing roller derby. We actively train and practice to succeed specifically at roller derby, and we even watch other teams in an effort to learn from them. We are scared every time we play, but also pumped at the opportunity to overcome our own fears and other’s doubts about us.”

Your Mom’s first-round opponent is the Mass Maelstrom; the bottom-seeded Mass Maelstrom will likely be overmatched against a Your Mom team that regularly defeats lower-ranked opponents by over 200 points.

9 Frank Not Sohotra // 3 Peter Pan // 7 Seahorses Forever // 11 Dearth Diggler // i69 Twinkle Toes // 6 Sugar Boots // 88 Arsonl // 12 B.S Smacker // 1 Bubbles // 65 Skatin Worshiper // 5 Lil Bunny Foo Q // 56 Suicide Snow Cone // 1369 Dirty Larry // 72 Moose Knuckle // 4hir Lily Pad // 39 Cleveland Stever // 1 Mulato Madness // 13 Bin Blockin // 50 Tallerina // 86 Baby Jesus

#2 St. Louis GateKeepers

2012 MRDA Record: 7-1

First Game: 11am vs. #7 Dallas Deception

The St. Louis GateKeepers are one of men’s roller derby’s most successful and active teams. Founded in 2009 and MRDA members since September of 2010, the GateKeepers boast three full home teams, an all-star travel team, and a B-team. Despite their #2 seed coming into the Championships tournament, the hosting GateKeepers could be the team to beat based on recent performances.

In 2012, with a brutal schedule including bouts against four teams qualifying for Championships, the GateKeepers only loss was in a wildly controversial last-jam finish to New York, 131-125. But the GateKeepers got their revenge: “MY FAVORITE MOMENT OF 2012 HAS TO BE GOING INTO NEW YORK AND BEATING THE SHOCK EXCHANGE AT HOME,” St. Louis blocker extraordinaire Wrecking Bill said. [Wrecking Bill wanted his quotes to be in all upper case. It is not wise to argue with such a scary blocker. --ed ] The GateKeepers’ 197-141 win marked NYSE’s largest losing margin ever and their only loss ever on home turf.

Though not seeded at the top of this tournament, the GateKeepers enter Champs as the #1 team on Flat Track Stats thanks to their 330-78 trouncing of a shorthanded Your Mom team.

“I am interested in skating against Des Moines (Your Mom) at Championships. They have an aura about them now,” the GateKeepers’ great all-around skater Magnum PIMP said. “They used to be just a bunch of hotshot skaters, but now they have the strategy down too. I would love to face them in the Championship bout and have a legendary showdown.”

Wrecking Bill is more interested in setting straight the GateKeepers’ losses at last year’s Championships, where they finished in a somewhat surprising fourth after entering as the top seed. “I LOVE SKATING AGAINST EVERYBODY, BUT I HOPE WE GET A CHANCE TO RECOUP OUR LOSES AGAINST PUGET AND MAGIC CITY.”

The GateKeepers take on the Dallas Deception in the first round of Championships in a rematch of a June bout, which the GateKeepers won 340-83. The Deception will likely put up more of a fight this time around as they’ve continued to develop. You can expect high-level team play from both teams.

“We play a straightforward game. We play derby how it was intended to be played. We don’t rely on rule loopholes or shenanigans to win bouts,” Magnum PIMP said. “We don’t have any satellite skaters or ringers. If someone wants to skate for the GateKeepers, they have to make a commitment to our team and make practices regularly.”


L7 Magnum PIMP // 82 Percy Controll // 11 Debacherous Prime // 24 Gnat King Kill // 68 Bat Wing // 216 Juke Blocks Hero // 314 Double Excel // 86d Wrecking Bill // 13 High Pains Drifter // 73 Sweet Tooth // 618 Bled Zepplin // 5150 Inquadable Hulk // 21 Kurt Mangle // 0AD Zombie Jesus // EP2 Shanego Fett // 2020 Specs Offender // 12 Handrail // 1 The Saint // OU81 Neil Death Experience // 66 Screecharound

#3 New York Shock Exchange

2012 MRDA Record: 8-2

First Game: 1pm vs #6 Portland

One cannot talk about the history of men’s flat track roller derby without extensively referencing the 3rd-seeded New York Shock Exchange. The Shock Exchange participated in the very first men’s flat track derby bout (against Pioneer Valley, in April of 2007) and are the only MRDA-founding team to qualify for the 2012 MRDA Championships. Winners of the 2011 Championship, the Shock Exchange earned a trip to this year’s event by amassing an 8-2 record in 2012, including victories over three other qualifying teams. But the defending champs will have their work cut out for them this tournament season.

The Shock Exchange were stunned in their first bout of the 2012 Spring Roll when they lost to upstart Your Mom. “Playing Your Mom was fun because we had been hearing about them, and it was inspiring to see the things they can do,” Shock Exchange’s Abe Drinkin said. “So many of them have been skating for a long time in different disciplines. It’s an inspiration for me to try the skills they’re using and build up that skating skill.”

Their only other loss of 2012 was in August to the GateKeepers. To wash the taste of defeat from their mouths, the Shock Exchange went out the next weekend and won the Mohawk Valley Cup, an eight-team tournament hosted by the Quadfathers.

Since then, the Shock Exchange have been playing … hockey. In an effort to prepare for Championships, Abe Drinkin said the Shock Exchange tried a unique approach. “We’ve been playing a lot of street hockey. More than anything, it’s just fun to watch my teammates find fun new ways to work together. Some of the guys never touched a hockey stick before but are now scoring machines.”

Two traits that make the Shock Exchange dangerous are their mastery of the rule book and their experience. The Shock Exchange are the only participants in this year’s Championships to have played all the other teams in the past two seasons. “We have a little familiarity with everybody, and no matter who we play, we are going to have a great time,” Abe Drinkin added.

First on the docket is Portland Men’s Roller Derby. The Shock Exchange dominated Portland at Spring Roll, 270-82 — but Portland has matured a lot since then. “I’m very excited to see the progress Portland has made since Spring Roll,” Abe Drinkin said. “They were a lot of fun to play against and were definitely improving throughout the weekend. I think they’re going to bring a very strong team to Championships. They have such smart and skilled players who bring a lot of intensity to the game.”

With multiple skaters on both teams with extensive coaching experience on top-level women’s teams (most notably Abe Drinkin with Gotham, Buster Cheatin with both Gotham and Team USA, and Portland’s Rob Lobster with Rose City), fans can expect to see two teams who use the rule book to their full advantage when Portland and New York meet.

In closing Abe Drinkin offered this anecdote: “I love derby fans. Last year, I had a bunch of fans tell me after the tournament that my underwear was hanging out all day. This year, feel free to tell me sooner…unless, of course, you like my underwear hanging out. If that’s the case, you should buy me a drink instead of just staring.”

47 Abe Drinkin // 2 Ace of Skates // m80 Muy Chingon // 77 Buster Cheatin’ // 61 Filthy McNasty // 8 Harm’s Way // 1B Bane-Ana on skates // 42 Jefferee // 1275 Jimmy Rage // 6 Jonathan R // 241 Ladies Knight // 14 Maulin Brando // 13 Psychobilly // 7 Ronnie Mako // 0 Sammy Dangerfield // VR60 Scooter McGoot // 100 Shoots and Splatters // 3 Starsky // 517 T-Stop Tornado // 10 Willverine

#5 Magic City Misfits

2012 MRDA Record: 4-0

First Game: 3pm vs. #5 Puget Sound Outcasts

The #4 Magic City Misfits are one of the most exciting teams to watch in all of roller derby. The team from Jacksonville, Florida paved the way to their second-straight MRDA Championships appearance by putting up some staggering offensive numbers. The Misfits, MRDA’s only undefeated team this season at 4-0, set an MRDA record for most points scored in a bout (617) and beat each of their opponents by at least 160 points.

Yet despite these impressive numbers, the Magic City Misfits remain a bit of a question mark. They are the only team to qualify for the 2012 Championships that has not played any of the other qualifying teams this year.

Since joining MRDA in September of 2010, the Misfits have lost one game: an eight-point loss to the Shock Exchange in the semi-finals of last year’s Championships. The Misfits proceeded to beat the St. Louis GateKeepers in the third-place game. Since then, the Misfits posted three big victories at Spring Roll against the Rock City Riot, Connecticut Death Quads, and Sioux City Korn Stalkers. Their fourth win of the 2012 season was their closest: a 267-107 home victory against the Race City Rebels.

“My favorite part of the 2012 season was our first home game in the three years that we have been a team,” Magic City Misfit TJ “Just the Tip” Brinkley said. “A big thanks goes to the Race City Rebels for being the first team to travel to Florida to play us.”

Magic City takes on #5 Puget Sound in the first round’s most anticipated match-up. “I think I can speak for the whole team when I say that we are stoked about playing Puget Sound,” Brinkley affirmed. “They have some awesome skaters, and I think it will be a true derby game. Hopefully, we will have a fast-paced game with a lot of skating and little-to-no slow derby. Both teams match up pretty well. Both teams have awesome skaters. This will be the game to watch on Saturday.”

Puget Sound and Magic City play each other for the first time at Championships. They were scheduled to face off in July at RollerCon, but a last-minute snafu put an end to those plans. Fans can expect to see some of men’s roller derby’s most talented skaters playing old-fashioned, smash-mouth derby. Magic City will showcase their trademark backwards blocking, while Puget Sound will demonstrate what happens when a hard-hitting team has a large target zone to work with.

“The fans can expect awesome individual and TEAM skating. The Misfits will be a well-oiled machine: level-headed and balls-to-the-wall,” Brinkley added. “We have tunnel vision, and we’re not going to be knocked off track. Expect the unexpected.”

11 Andrew Dao // 69 Christopher Harrell // 9 Christopher Smith // 1X Chuck Best // 12 Hunter Collins // 8D Derek Calkins // 2 Grant Epperson // 0 Heath Frazier // 45 Jason Moseley // 15 Jeff Glisson // 19 Jeremy Strecker // 42 Jonny Wical // 43 Mark Sampadian // 3 Michael Hartsfield // 44 Mike Cowart // 6 Robert Howard // 33 Tim Allen // 86 Tim Kugler // 4 TJ Binkley // XO Jarrett Turner

#5 Puget Sound Outcasts

2012 MRDA Record: 3-1

First Game: 3pm vs. #4 Magic City Misfits

#5 Puget Sound earned their second trip to the MRDA Championships due in large part to two victories against #6 Portland Men’s Roller Derby. The first was a 232-93 walloping at the Big O in February. Puget Sound followed that up with a 261-90 stomping at their annual Throwdown in the Sound tournament, where they also beat up on the Lane County Concussion, 368-47. Those are Puget Sound’s three victories in a minimal season. Their only loss came in July to Your Mom in Des Moines.

“My favorite moment of 2012 was playing at the Big O in Eugene (Oregon),” Puget Sound jammer extraordinaire Speed Dealer said. “The venue was great, and it was nice to see some newer MRDA teams play.” The Big O was particularly special for Speed Dealer because he set a Guinness World Record for the longest jump on roller skates (the women’s record was set at the same event by Oly’s On Da Sligh).

In addition to Puget Sound’s usual practices to prepare for Championships, Puget Sound also scrimmages against WFTDA’s Western Region Champion Oly Rollers every week. Puget Sound blocker Radillac also likes to hit up the skate parks, an increasingly popular way for derby skaters to cross train.

Last year, Puget Sound lost a heartbreaker to the Shock Exchange in the MRDA finals to take second. With the competition ramped up this year, Puget Sound will have a tough go at it if they hope to make it to the Finals again. Both Radillac and Speed Dealer are excited for a chance to take on Magic City, their first round opponent. “I am interested in skating against Magic City. They are one of the teams we have not played against yet,” Radillac said.

What can we expect from a bout between the only two MRDA teams to predominantly feature skaters using their real names? Well, aside from a nearly total lack of puns, hard hitting is on the docket. “We have been working on the slow game just like everyone else, but I like to play the faster game. So, expect to see some fast big hit derby,” Radillac said.

Speed Dealer concurred: “Fans can expect to see a hard hitting and fast paced game with Puget.” This, coupled with Magic City’s tendency to race around and lay skaters out, should produce the first round’s best bout.

23 Mo Sanders // 35 Radillac // 14 Ryan Clegert // 247 Chuck Hendrick // 13 Geno Guerrero // 53 Speed Dealer // 56 Bonus Jonas // 97 Biggie Smalls // 100 Scott Slamiton // 101 Travis Lind // 11 Thunderstruck // 4 Stan DaSide // 19 Cory Acklus // 55 Corporal Punishment // 5050 Barry Maneltoe // 27 B. Thomas // 67 MODIESEL // 16 SASS SQUASH // 24 Earl McDonald // 64 Bowser

#6 Portland Men’s Roller Derby

2012 MRDA Record: 3-4

First Game: 1pm vs. #3 New York Shock Exchange

Having joined the MRDA in December 2011, Portland Men’s Roller Derby is the newest member to qualify for this year’s MRDA Championships. Portland hit the ground skating participating in three tournaments this year: The Big O, Spring Roll, and Throwdown in the Sound. Despite being the only team to earn a trip to Champs with a losing record, Portland is a strong team. They never shy away from a tough battle: all four of Portland’s losses came to top five MRDA teams.

Portland’s all-star travel team, the Bridgetown Menace, made a name for themselves at Spring Roll. “Spring Roll was my favorite derby moment of 2012,” Portland skater Shreddy Mercury said. “The entire weekend was a blast! We came into the tournament unranked and played very well against four MRDA-ranked teams. That performance in Ft. Wayne is what earned us our spot at Champs.”

Specifically, Portland absolutely handled the then-#10 and #11 teams. Most notable was a 170-61 win over a very strong Race City team, who subsequently (but temporarily) shot up to #7 due to their Spring Roll victories. Portland’s other triumph that weekend was a 296-72 shellacking of the Connecticut Death Quads.

Portland’s first-round opponent is the New York Shock Exchange. The Shock Exchange handed Portland one of their biggest losses of the season. Though the Shock Exchange appear to have lost a step based on a recent defeat by the St. Louis GateKeepers, the younger Portland team will likely have to wait for future seasons to beat these tricky veterans. Watch out for Bleed’Em & Reap and Twin Cities Terrors transfer Bustin Morenose to have a big impact for Portland.

Shreddy Mercury wanted to leave the fans with this message: “If you are a fan of us, we are fans of YOU! Come say ‘hi’ at the after party. We’ll get silly.”

651 Bustin Morenose // 9 Bangers ‘N Stache // .08 Bleed ‘Em & Reap // 33 Blitzkrieg // 7734 Carpe Demon // 440 Captain Obvous // 777 One-Armed Bandit // 79 Cri$co Di$co // 24 Demolition Man // T-1000 Determinator // 69 Don Juan The Deviskater // 1939 Bruce Payne // 1220 The King // 112 Tommy Gun // 65 Next Of Ken // 13 Collides Dale // 143 Random Battle // 000 Rob Lobster // 85 Shreddy Mercury // 15MPH Speed Bump

#7 Dallas Deception

2012 MRDA Record: 3-1

First Game: 11am vs. #2 St. Louis GateKeepers

After finishing fifth of six at last year’s tournament, the Dallas Deception traveled a difficult road to qualify for this year’s MRDA Championships. The Deception earned a trip to St. Louis due in large part to a convincing 237-130 win against then -#9 Twin Cities Terrors. The most remarkable part about this victory is that the Deception experienced a league split over the offseason, yet were able to rebuild and remain a Championships-level league.

“We suffered major jammer losses in the off season and it amazes me how fast we picked up the pieces,” Dallas Deception skater Ugotta Be Rad said.

The league split has helped the Dallas Deception, 3-1 in 2012, come together as a team: “Unless they are jamming, my guys and I probably don’t stand out much. We stand together,” Deception skater Uncle Jesse McNasty added. “This past year we have done much to lose the egos and the individual play. An all-star team can beat a team of all-stars.”

Both Ugotta Be Rad and Uncle Jesse McNasty want a shot at #3 New York Shock Exchange at Championships. “I missed out playing against New York at Spring Roll 2011 [New York won 182-46] due to injury,” Ugotta Be Rad said. “Playing them is playing the rule book, so you have to bring your skating skills and smarts against them.”

But the Deception will have to defeat their first-round opponent the #2-ranked host league, the St. Louis GateKeepers, before they can get a shot at the defending champs. The Deception took a pounding against the GateKeepers in June for their only loss of the season. Despite the seemingly lopsided score, Uncle Jesse McNasty felt his team learned a lot from the experience: “Though we lost, it was a defining moment for the Deception. We took a very short roster into the lion’s den and found the true measure of ourselves and our team. We got our butts kicked and came home with a renewed sense of what we needed to do and how to apply what we had been working on.”

No matter the outcome, Uncle Jesse McNasty expects a positive experience for all involved. “When the smoke clears and the dust settles, Dallas Deception will accomplish the goals we set for ourselves for MRDA Championships. Win or lose, we will represent what Texas men’s roller derby has to offer. And we will do it with dignity and respect. My children started junior derby recently. The torch has been passed. In St. Louis, that same torch will burn brighter than ever, held high by eight teams. After the last bout has been played, and the trophy has been awarded, it will be the fans who will take that torch home.”

666 Rhino // 18 Uncle Jesse McNasty // 314 Magnum Eats Pie // 420 Brad Isaacks // 180 Archie Nemisus // 88 Ninja Please // 90 Ramthrax // Wakkopath // 712 Bulk Bogan // 817 REEDiculas // 4 War Hammer // 13 Beast Jerky // 98.6 Dr. Feelgood // Dewey Decimator // 68 Dick Diamond // 96 Chuck Riedell // 187 Mr. Clean // Lil Debbie // 14 Peter Pandemonium // FrankenBeans

#8 Mass Maelstrom

2012 MRDA Record: 9-4

First Game: 9am vs. #1 Your Mom Men’s Derby

Though they were the last team to punch their ticket to Champs, the Mass Maelstrom competed and won the most games of any team to qualify for men’s roller derby’s top tournament. The team from Lancaster, MA participated in thirteen MRDA-sanctioned bouts this season and won nine of them. Maelstrom earned their first trip to MRDA Champs with a breakout showing at the Mohawk Valley Cup in August, taking second place in the eight-team tournament and beating then-#7 Race City.

“My favorite moment this season was our rematch against Race City at the Mohawk Valley Cup,” Mass Maelstrom’s Stryker said. “Their entire team is full of talented skaters and they play a really tight game. It’s really challenging and fun to play against them. Our loss to them at Spring Roll was disappointing for me because I felt like we played a sloppy game. I knew if we got another game against them we could take them.”

Teammate Zed enjoyed the Mohawk Valley Cup for a different reason. “One of my favorite moments of the 2012 season was the huge outpouring of help and love I received from the derby community after I broke my leg at the Mohawk Valley Cup,” Zed said.

Both Zed and Stryker would like a shot at the Magic City Misfits. “Although the seeding makes it fairly unlikely, I would love to skate against Magic City,” Stryker said. “When I watched Championships last year and saw how they played, it opened my eyes to an entirely new concept of how to play roller derby. They have some of the best skaters I’ve ever seen play the game. I feel like we would learn a lot playing them.”

So, what can we expect to see from Mass Maelstrom at the MRDA Championships? “From the start of our season Maelstrom went out to not only win but to make our games enjoyable to watch as a fan. We refuse to play ‘stroller derby’ and have gotten away from using pace-lines to rack up points on power jams. We go out every game to PLAY the game, not to stand around for two minutes not doing anything. We love and appreciate all the support our fans give us, and the least we can do in return is play the game they’ve come to see.”

Mass Maelstrom take on Your Mom in the first bout of the tournament. Both Zed and Maelstrom jammer Peter Rottentail are excited to face off against Your Mom. “I believe the harder the opponent the more you learn,” Rottentail said. “I skated in toe plugs for the past 2 years. After seeing [Your Mom blocker] Seahorses Forever at Spring Roll, I decided to put toe stops back on. They have been my best friend ever since.”

You can expect to see fast, action-packed old-school roller derby in this bout as both teams play a very no-nonsense game, though the Maelstrom will likely be over-matched skill-wise by a Your Mom team that features world-champion speed skaters. Keep an eye out for Maelstrom’s No Big Deal and Jack Hammer’d, winners of the Mohawk Valley Cup’s Jammer MVP and Blocker MVP, respectively.

775 Deep In Cider // 68 Sideswipe // 562 Speeder Parker // 812 Belgian Awful // 7 Peter Rottentail // 18+ Daft Maneuver // 1337 Stryker // 0 Zed // 508 No Big Deal // 2 gun kid Wes Turn // 24 Wrench // 15 Rocky I’ll ThrowYa // 109 Cilantro // 32 Smiteochondria // 5150 Jack Hammer’d // 196.96 Muchacho Del Oro // 40oz MikeOpathic Chiller // 8 Burnt Reynolds // Andrew Morrow