Colorado roller derby fans will have plenty to cheer about when the Roller Derby World Cup rolls into Dallas in December 2014: Team USA announced on Tuesday that five skaters from the Denver Roller Dolls will be among the 32 skaters on the roster.
"I'm shocked," says Julie "Angela Death" Adams, a jammer for the Denver Roller Dolls' Mile High Club who made the cut after tryouts in Seattle in August. "It's a tremendous honor to be a part of such a talented team of skaters representing our country on the world stage, and I'm really proud of my fellow Mile High Club teammates who made the team. None of us would be the skaters we are today without all of the members of the team pushing us to be better."
Adams and her Mile High Club teammates Jes "Bea Ware" Rivas and Shaina "Eeklips" Serelson are among the new skaters named to the squad, joining Team USA veterans Tracy "Disco" Akers (a Mile High Club blocker) and Jerica "Urrk'n Jerk'n As Booty Block Ya" Martin (formerly of the Rocky Mountain Roller Girls' 5280 Fight Club and now a jammer and blocker for the Mile High Club).
Team USA dominated the first-ever Roller Derby World Cup in Toronto in 2011, with more than a little help from Akers and Martin and five other Colorado-based skaters.
The Denver Roller Dolls' Mile High Club is currently ranked #4 in the Women's Flat Track Derby Association and is headed to the 2013 WFTDA Championships in Milwaukee next month as a top-seeded team after winning the Division 1 playoffs in September.
Team USA will have its first full practice with the new team in Milwaukee after the championships. Only one other team has greater representation on the 2014 Team USA than the Denver Roller Dolls: New York's #1-ranked Gotham Girls will have seven skaters on the national squad.
"I don't know what it is about Denver but great roller derby skaters have been coming out of there for years now," says Team USA coach Aaron "Buster Cheatin'" Goed. "You guys just keep cranking them out. Part of our mission for Team USA is definitely about bringing people from different teams together, but at the same time there's no real substitute for that familiarity. In my opinion,Tracy Akers is one of the best track leaders in the sport, and it is nice to have that familiarity where people are happy taking direction from her. Having a strong contingent from teams like Denver and Gotham helps coalesce the team around those leaders on the track."
Goed says he's expecting Team USA to face much stiffer competition the second time around, as other countries continue to build their roller derby communities.
"The last incarnation of Team USA played against Team Canada in June and it was a much closer game than it was in 2011, that's for sure," he says. "In the same way that the level of talent in the U.S. has come up in the last few years -- the difference between the top and the middle and the bottom is a narrower gradient now -- I think the same thing is happening around the world. The countries where it's existed a little longer, like England and Canada and Germany, those countries are catching up. I expect the level of competition to be tougher this time around, but certainly I'm very confident in my team."
Here's the full roster, via DerbyNewsNetwork.com (asterisks indicate skaters new to Team USA):
*Adams, Julie (Denver Roller Dolls) Akers, Tracy (Denver Roller Dolls) Amanda Jamitinya (Bay Area Derby Girls) Atomatrix (Arizona Roller Derby) *Baller Shot Caller (Gold Coast Derby Girls) Bonnie Thunders (Gotham Girls Roller Derby) *Carmen Getsome (Rat City Rollergirls) Donna Matrix (Gotham Girls Roller Derby) *Fifi Nomenon (Texas Rollergirls) Fisti Cuffs (Gotham Girls Roller Derby) *Jackie Daniels (Windy City Rollers) Juke Boxx (Minnesota) *Mercy (Rose City Rollers) *Mick Swagger (Gotham Girls Roller Derby) *OMG WTF (Gotham Girls Roller Derby) *Onda Sligh (Oly Rollers) *Pfister, Melanie (Wasatch Roller Derby) *Polly Gone (Texas Rollergirls) *Rivas, Jes (Denver Roller Dolls) *Scald Eagle (Rose City Rollers) *Second Hand Smoke (Minnesota Rollergirls) *Serelson, Shaina (Denver Roller Dolls) Sexy Slaydie (Gotham Girls Roller Derby) Shenita Stretcher (Philly Rollergirls) Smarty Pants (Texas Rollergirls) Snot Rocket Science (Steel City Roller Derby) Suzy Hotrod (Gotham Girls Roller Derby) Teflon Donna (Philly Rollergirls) *Trauma (Kansas City Roller Warriors) Urrk'n Jerk'n As Booty Block Ya (Denver Roller Dolls) V. Diva (Philly Rollergirls) *Wild Cherri (Atlanta Rollergirls)
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Believe it or not, four-day passes for the World Cup tournament are already for sale, more than a year in advance. For a more immediate way to support the Denver Roller Dolls skaters, here's a link to the league's Mile High Until We Die fundraising effort to send the Mile High Club to the 2103 WFTDA Championships.