"Rocky, Rocky, Rocky! Fight, Fight, Fight!"
That's the cheer of the number-one roller derby team in the country: Denver's own Rocky Mountain Rollergirls, who kicked all sorts of spandex-ed ass last year to win the WFTDA Championships. The team will defend that title starting today at the 1stBANK Center Broomfield, making the otherwise boring suburb the most badass town in Colorado -- for three days, at least.
The top twelve teams in the country will battle this weekend for The Hydra, roller derby's version of the Stanley Cup. Rollergirl PJ "Dangerous Leigh A'Zon" Shields, the unofficial keeper of the skate-shaped trophy, dropped it off this morning at the 1stBANK Center.
"I have every confidence we're going to have to haul it back to the warehouse on Sunday," she says, referring to the team's headquarters.
Though the Denver Roller Dolls, the other of the city's two teams, is hosting the championships -- nicknamed the Continental Divide & Conquer -- they did not make the top twelve, losing to Seattle's Rat City Rollergirls at the regional playoffs in September. (For more on Denver's two teams, check out Westword's 2010 feature, "Denver's roller derby rivalry could start the sport rolling across the country.")
The Rocky Mountain Rollergirls's twelve-member all-star team, the 5280 Fight Club, are the ones who will be competing this weekend. Their first bout (that's what a roller derby match is called, noobs) is at 3:45 p.m. today against the Nashville Rollergirls, a matchup they're expected to win.
But tomorrow, the outlook is less confident. At 11:15 a.m., the Rollergirls will face New York's Gotham Girls Roller Derby, who have won all of their bouts this season.
"Gotham has had an incredible year and they absolutely have the fire in their bellies for this," says Shields, who is not a member of the 5280 Fight Club but who, along with the rest of the Rollergirls, has been helping prepare the all-stars for competition. But, she adds, "We know we can beat Gotham. We did it last year and we did it handily. As long as Fight Club keep their brains in it, it's over for Gotham."
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Stay tuned to Westword all weekend for the latest derby news. Fight, Fight, Fight!
More from our Sports archives: "Top 10 Roller Derby Nicknames (aside from Best of Denver winner Frida Beater)."