The completion of the calendar year saw another whirlwind campaign by the pioneers of women’s flat-track roller derby in St. Louis.
The past twelve months saw incredible accomplishments by both the local and travel teams as Arch Rival celebrated its tenth year of operation. There was also a plethora of off-track activities that were performed by the league.
Here is a capsule summary of a non-stop 2016:
1.2.16 – The 2015-16 three-team intraleague campaign continued with game three of the six-event regular season at Midwest Sport Hockey in Ballwin. With the Stunt Devils’ 152-148 victory over the M-80s, the pair – alongside the idle Smashinistas – each possessed identical 1-1 records at the season’s midpoint. Bricktator topped the Stunts’ ledger with 62 points in the win while D’Manda Flapjack paced the M-80s with 109, which was one of many triple-digits performances churned by the jammer for the season.
1.23.16 – Three weeks later, the Stunts collected its second straight duke and claimed the top spot of the standings with a 130-127 nail biting win over the Smashinistas. Numerous ties and scoreboard flips were involved in the shootout that saw the Stunts leading by a solo point heading into the game’s final jam. Bricktator edged Smashies’ jammer Harmony Killerbruise 9-7 in the final rotation to claim the three-point topper. Killerbruise paced all scorers with 84 points.
1.29.16 – The league continued its community outreach efforts by calling bingo at a charity event for St. Louis ARC. Bricktator, EnYa Nightmare, QuickSandz, Bad Motha T, Lou Steel Ballz and Winston Churchkill participated at “Family Fun Night,” which benefitted the non-for-profit that empowers people with developmental disabilities and their families.
1.30.16 – Over 30 trivia teams scratched noggins and matched wits at the league’s eighth annual “Trivia Night” held at the German Cultural Society in St. Louis. The popular yearly fundraiser saw the victors claim the win by a mere two points. In the end, the league won the evening as it raised monies that benefit event operations.
2.4.16 – Making its first appearance at St. Louis’ Edward Jones Dome since 2009, the league performed an exhibition game at the annual O’ Reilly Auto Parts national convention. The gold medal sponsor of the league was treated to a topsy-turvy game followed by interaction between flat-trackers and conventioneers.
2.6.16 – The league, alongside its brothers in derby, GateKeepers Roller Derby, participated in the annual St. Louis Mardi Gras Parade held downtown that was attended by over 70,000 revelers.
2.12.16 – The league participated in the annual Heat-Up St. Louis “Rise and Shine” campaign held at area Hardee’s restaurants. The one-day event, which benefits the non-profit’s continuous goal of assisting those that need utility assistance, raised over $300,000 overall in under six hours, a new record.
2.20.16 – Back on the flat-track, both the M-80s and the Smashinistas faced “must-win” situations in event five of the local season cycle if they wanted a trophy game appearance later in the year. The M-80s utilized a 49-8 second-period rally en route to the 180-156 victory that bounced the Smashies out of title contention. Flapjack duplicated her 109-point performance for the M-80s, who improved to 2-1, while Killerbruise collected 66 for the Smashies, who finished the local season 1-3.
2.21.16 – The league continued its annual work with the Missouri Department of Transportation’s “Adopt-A-Highway” program with its bi-monthly garbage pick-up. Its sponsored stretch is designated at the Germania exit off Interstate 55 in South St. Louis.
3.12.16 – In the final event of the six-game local season set – and in a preview of the ensuing month’s trophy game – the M-80s upended the defending league champion Stunt Devils, 226-169, in an eye-opening affair. The M-80s, who finished the regular season 3-1 with three straight triumphs, implemented a plethora of newfound strategies to throw off the Stunts, who fell to 2-2. M-80s’ jammer Bloody Gaga notched a personal benchmark in scoring by collecting 59 points.
Also at the March event, to commemorate the league’s tenth year of operation, a special “Alumni Night” ceremony was held where over 120 former skaters, officials and support personnel were honored.
As if this flat-track event wasn’t exhausting enough, earlier in the day both the league and the GateKeepers participated in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade held in downtown St. Louis.
3.26.16 – Arch Rival’s B-team, the Saint Lunachix, launched its new travel season with a 194-122 road victory over the St. Chux Derby Chix Pack In Black in St. Peters. Trailing 109-105 with 21:50 left in the game, the Lunachix surged ahead with a 79-13 game-ending run and claim its first win of the year. 2016 newcomer Blink paced the Lunachix scoring with 67 points followed by Sleazy E’s 40.
4.2.16 – Rebounding from the disappointment felt at its prior meeting against the M-80s last month, the Stunt Devils claimed back-to-back local championships at the league’s trophy game held at Midwest Sport Hockey. The Stunts’ 221-150 smack down was highlighted by the stellar blocking work in the first period that resulted in a 130-50 lead for the purple rollers at intermission. Play was even in the second by the M-80s could not make up the differential. Jammers Bricktator and CupQuake collected 85 and 76 points, respectively, as the Stunts claimed the 71-point hardware victory.
Immediately following the game, the league publically announced that it was changing its franchise name from Arch Rival Roller Girls to Arch Rival Roller Derby in order to provide an opportunity for transgender women, cisgender women, intersex women, and gender expansive participants in the St. Louis region to participate in the growing sport. The name change also converted the official league acronym from ARRG to ARCH. The official announcement received overwhelming positive feedback within the derby community, both locally and nationally.
4.23.16 – On the B-team travel front, the Saint Lunachix collected a dominant three-game sweep to win the 2016 B-Cup Tournament held in Bloomington, Indiana. In the one-day, eight-team bracketed tournament, hosted by Bleeding Heartland Roller Derby, the Lunachix launched its morning with a 479-79 duke over BHRD’s Code Blue Assassins in the quarterfinal round.
Later that afternoon, St. Louis collected a 375-43 semifinal victory over Steel City Roller Derby’s Steel Beamers. In the event’s finale that evening, the Lunachix scored a 229-131 triumph over Windy City Rollers’ Second Wind to claim their first-ever B-Cup trophy. In the three-game set, the Lunachix (4-0) collectively outscored its opponents, 1083-243.
4.29.16-4.30.16 – The ARCH All-Stars, ranked tenth internationally at the time by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), began its 2016 travel team campaign with a trip to the Pacific Northwest and a debut appearance at the annual Big O invitational held in Eugene, Oregon. During the first day of the multi-track weekend event, St. Louis notched a 308-126 win over then #26 Terminal City (Vancouver, BC, Canada). Leading 29-11 eight minutes in, Arch Rival went on a 112-7 run over the next twenty minutes paced by the blocking of Shear-Ra Powers, Cloak N’ Drag-Her, Kayla Woodward, Shimmy Hoffa, Chewblocka, Party Foul, Jamheiser Bush, Salty, Molotov and Smarty McFly.
On the event’s second day, St. Louis topped #13 Rat City (Seattle, WA,) 188-120 as the aforementioned stubborn blocking once again proved dominant. With its stellar play, they made Rat City jammers commit 14 penalties, which set the tone for the game and the 68-point duke. Bricktator topped the ARCH scoring ledger with 76 points followed by Killerbruise’s 59.
5.1.16 – The ARCH All-Stars finished the Big O weekend with a 168-165 come-from-behind triumph over #12 Minnesota resulting in a clean sweep in Oregon. Minnesota, a perennial WFTDA Champs entrant, maintained a 158-132 advantage with 6:45 left but then Arch Rival produced an eye-opening, and game-winning, 36-7 stretch run. St. Louis’ score board flip in the game’s penultimate jam and a scoreless final rotation preserved the three-point duke that pushed the team’s record to 3-0. Jammer Bricktator was named “Big O MVP” for the event.
6.3.16-6.4.16 – The ARCH All-Stars, who had now pushed itself to eighth internationally in the WFTDA with the earlier Big O trifecta, continued its winning ways with a pair of victories at the annual Midwest BrewHaHa invitational held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. St. Louis easily handled #28 Detroit, 304-114, in its first game as Bricktator recorded a mind-melting 169 points.
As their weekend continued, ARCH received all kinds of fits from #19 Team United (Des Moines, IA) in the team’s second BrewHaHa game. St. Louis only possessed a three-point lead at intermission, 63-60. Feeling the halftime heat, Arch Rival started the second period with a 57-8 run in the first five jams to pull ahead. Arch Rival outscored Team United in the second period, 175-59, en route to the 238-119 triumph that maintained the team’s undefeated mark of 5-0.
6.11.16 – ARCH’s Saint Lunachix pushed its record to 5-0 with a 278-93 road victory over the A-team of the Dupage Derby Dames (Roselle, IL).
6.24.16-6.26.16 – Alongside its local flat-track brethren, GateKeepers Roller Derby, Arch Rival co-hosted the inaugural Sibling Rivalry invitational held at Midwest Sport Hockey. During the three-day event, ARCH notched victories over #7 Jacksonville (141-138), #9 Denver (163-160) and #15 Atlanta (144-116) to remain undefeated (8-0) on the season. All three games against comparably-ranked women’s squads, all friendly rivals, were exciting to the end. The overall feedback to the event immediately propelled the invitational to “must-see” classification for 2017.
7.2.16 – ARCH, alongside the GateKeepers, participated in the 134th annual VP Parade in downtown St. Louis.
7.6.16 – ARCH participated in a volunteer dog walk for Stray Rescue of St. Louis. The local non-for-profit rescues stray animals in need of medical attention, restores them to health, and places them in loving adoptive homes.
7.9.16 – The league participated in an informative session with the Brentwood Public Library and provided youngsters with an “X’s and O’s” of the sport complete with game play.
7.9.16 – ARCH’s travelling C-team, the Fleur De Linquents, took a Conway, Arkansas caravan for its campaign opener and collected a 175-99 triumph over the Girls Rollin in the South Roller Derby (G.R.I.T.S.) Breakneck Brawlers.
7.23.16 – The Fleur De Linquents pushed its record to 2-0 with a 209-107 road victory over the A-squad of Cape Girardeau Roller Derby during a trip to the Missouri boot heel. After the game, blocker Aggie Wartooth and jammer Snotface received respective “Most Valuable Player” awards for the undefeated FDLs.
7.24.16 – The league hosted a “Be Your Own Super Hero” 5K Run at St. Ann’s McDonnell Park.
8.6.16-8.7.16 – The ARCH All-Stars, priming for its upcoming WFTDA playoff trip, topped unranked 2×4 (Buenos Aries, Argentina), 340-76, at the “South America Meets I-70 Showdown” event held in Kansas City and pushed its record to 9-0. During the weekend, the Saint Lunachix B-team mightily battled the Kansas City Roller Warriors A-Team but fell, 212-128, to suffer its first loss of the season (5-1) while ARCH’s Fleur De Linquents were handed a 237-166 loss by KCRW’s Plan B and dropped to 2-1.
8.13.16 – ARCH’s Saint Lunachix and Fleur De Linquents travelled to the Sooner State to face the travel squads of the Oklahoma Victory Dolls. In the main event, the Lunachix clung onto a three-point lead over the OKVD Victory Dolls All-Stars with under five minutes left. In the game’s penultimate jam, the Chix used a 19-0 rotation to stretch the differential over the A-squad currently ranked #66 by the WFTDA. The Chix proceeded to churn a 171-151 eye-opening triumph and improved its record to 6-1.
In the sub-main featuring the Fleur De Linquents and OKVD’s Battle Stars B-team, the FDLs trailed by 39 points at intermission. St. Louis charged hard in the second period but could upend the hostesses and suffered a 222-200 loss and finished the season 2-2.
9.24.16-9.26.16 – The ARCH All-Stars competed at the WFTDA Division 1 playoff round held in Madison, Wisconsin and finished third in the ten-team bracketed tournament to earn its second consecutive trip to the governing body’s international championships. Seeded second in the tourney, ARCH topped tenth-seeded Madison, 314-75, in Friday’s quarterfinal round to advance. ARCH led 165-72 eight minutes deep into the game’s second period and then produced 142 points uncontested en route to the victory.
In the tourney’s semifinals, ARCH tussled with nemesis Minnesota but fell 174-155 and was knocked to the weekend’s bronze medal game. The setback handed St. Louis its first loss of the year but provided the team internal incentive for a rebound for the event’s final day and a return to a WFTDA Champs’ trip.
In the Madison playoff third place contest, ARCH utilized a 21-0 late-game run to post a 149-131 victory over the hard-charging Tampa Tantrums. Trailing 131-128 with 8:35 left, ARCH’s “blackjack” rally was propelled by successful jams by Bricktator, Killerbruise and Annie Swanson. A blocking shutdown by the defense on the jam’s final rotation helped ARCH claim the bronze and back-to-back trips to the Hydra Cup tussle.
Following the event, Arch Rival’s Swanson was awarded the playoff’s “Most Valuable Player” award, which marked the first time a local skater had received the international designation.
10.7.16-10.9.16 – The Saint Lunachix competed at the second annual WFTDA B-Team Championships, “Sting of the Hill,” held in Norcross, Georgia. The Chix, seeded eighth in the ten-team bracketed tournament, defeated ninth-seeded Minnesota Nice, 184-97, in a Friday quarterfinal play-in game but then fell to top-seeded Denver Bruising Altitude later that day, 273-128, to be bounced to the consolation bracket.
In Saturday consolation play, the Chix were upended by fourth-seeded Tampa Bruise Crew, 191-122, and was pushed to the weekend’s seventh place game. The squad rebounded in its final game and posted a 187-105 win over the Dallas Derby Devils’ Battalion of Doom to finish the weekend 2-2, place one position higher than its entry seed and conclude the competitive 2016 campaign 8-3.
10.21.16 – The tenth annual “ARCH Awards Night” was held at the Heavy Anchor in St. Louis, where accomplishments were recognized in 47 categories. As voted by the league, Tupac Shank-Her was awarded ARCH League MVP while Bad Mutha T received Rookie of the Year honors. Picking up “Most Valuable Player” awards within their respective travel teams were the ARCH All-Stars’ Shank-Her, the Saint Lunachix’s Bolt Action and the Fleur De Linquents’ Aggie Wartooth. Stunt Devils’ blocker Cruella Belle-ville won the “ARCH Fan Favorite” award that was voted upon by the public online.
11.4.16 – Making its return to the WFTDA Division 1 International Championships, this time held at Portland, Oregon’s Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the ARCH All-Stars topped Denver, 177-165, in a Champs’ quarterfinal play-in game that resulted in a newfound benchmark for the locals. In the tussle, ARCH held an 83-64 lead at intermission and with a 22-5 run in the second period’s first eight minutes, widened the differential. Denver, a perennial powerhouse, chipped away at the score as the half progressed by late-game local blocking was able to preserve ARCH inaugural win at the global level. ARCH jammer Bricktator finished the evening with 99 points.
11.5.16 – The next day – in uncharted territory – the ARCH All-Stars mightily battled the London Rollergirls, ranked fifth internationally, in the quarterfinals of the WFTDA D1 Championships but suffered a 197-94 setback. London, who inevitably finished fourth overall at weekend’s conclusion, bulldogged its way to a 106-37 lead at intermission. ARCH earned respect as the game progressed with its improved play in the second period. St. Louis finished its travel team season 12-2 and the newfound heights achieved during the weekend certainly provided incentive as the squad prepares for a new travel team season next Spring.
12.10.16 – The launch of ARCH’s 2016-17 local campaign began at Midwest Sport Hockey featuring re-vamped line-ups, uniform changes and newfound attitudes. In the season opener, the Stunt Devils built the foundation of a potential league “three-peat” with their 200-188 win over the M-80s. In a topsy-turvy rematch between last year’s ARCH trophy finalists, the Stunts trailed by two points heading into the game’s penultimate jam and posted 14 uncontested to claim the dozen point duke. Bricktator finished the night with 86 points followed by Psychokid D’ Freakout’s 47.
And there you have it. There were plenty of other activities and appearances made by the league as the year progressed in order to spread awareness of the sport to others.
Behind the scenes, hours upon hours of practice, preparation and event planning was executed by the league’s skaters, officials and volunteers in order to make it all happen in a sport that never took a week off.
In short, 2016 was a very busy year for ARCH…and we preferred it that way.
On behalf of everyone affiliated with Arch Rival Roller Derby, thank you for your continued patronage and support in 2016 and we look forward to seeing what the upcoming year brings! We know you’ll be along for the ride in 2017!
(Primary photography by Bob Dunnell. Supplimental photography by Jeff Higgins and Brian Ledford.)
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