Denver's two premiere roller-derby leagues are headed to Richmond, California this weekend for the Women's Flat Track Roller Derby Association (WFTDA) West Region Playoffs -- aka the "Bay of Reckoning" -- and there's a halfway decent chance that the Denver Roller Dolls (#2 seed, behind Portland's Rose City Rollers) and the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls (#5 seed) could end up skating against each other for the championship title on Sunday.
"The best-case scenario for local fans would be to see both Denver teams in finals and both heading on to the national WFTDA Championships," says DRD jammer Julie "Angela Death" Adams. "It would take some doing, but it's not impossible."
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Both teams are ranked high enough going in that they'll get a bye in the first round, which starts Friday at 10 a.m. PST (noon MDT). The entire tournament will be webcast live at WFTDA.tv with a $12 viewing pass. If you'd rather watch the tournament on the big screen in the company of local derby girls, there will be viewing parties at Eden, 3090 Downing Street; Scruffy Murphy's, 2030 Larimer Street; and The Hawg Back Saloon in Golden, 15800 West Colfax Avenue.
The members of RMRG will have their work cut out for them in the second round starting at 2 p.m. PST (4 p.m. MDT), skating against long-time rivals the Oly Rollers (#4), from Olympia, Washington, but a win isn't out of the question: Two years ago, RMRG beat the Oly Rollers to become the 2010 WFTDA National Champions. If they can make it past Oly on Friday. they'll be in even bigger trouble on Saturday, likely skating against Rose City Rollers -- the #1 seed -- in semi-finals.
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DRD should have an easier time of it in their second round bout on Friday at 6 p.m. PST (8 p.m. MDT), skating against the winner of the Arizona Roller Derby (#7) vs. Sacred City Derby Girls (#10) bout from the first round. After that, they're likely to be up against the home team on Saturday, assuming tournament hosts B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls (#3) can best the Rat City Rollergirls (#6) in round two, with hopes of facing either RMRG or Rose City Rollers for the big show on Sunday.
"Our main goal is to go into our first two bouts and dominate," says Adams. "If we can win those two, we'll automatically be playing for first or second place and guarantee our spot at the WFTDA Championships in November. We're really hoping to take it all this year."
DRD beat Rose City at Rollercon 2012, beat RMRG in May, and beat B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls at the season opener in April, and this could be their year: A big win this weekend would give the Roller Dolls solid seeding for the "Grits and Glory" 2012 WFTDA Championships November 2-4 in Atlanta. Adams says she thinks her team can handle just about every other team in this weekend's tournament if they're on top of their game, but thinks the Oly Rollers will be the most unknown quantity.
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"There's been a big controversy because Oly added a bunch of skaters to their roster right before the tournament, and a lot of people are looking at it like they're bringing in a bunch of ringers," Adams says. The added skaters include superstar skaters Joy Collision, Atomatrix, Hockey Honey, Onda Fligh and former RMRG stars Psycho-Babble, De-Ranged and Echo. "This is really the first time anyone's seen something like this happen. A lot of people are outraged, but it's within the rules: While it may not be the right thing, it's not illegal. I think it remains to be seen how it shakes out: Nobody's seen them skate as a team yet. Either way, our M.O. will be the same: brains over brawn. We're not exactly known for our size." (Adams, 5'2, is, however, known for her menacing grimace.)