Story by Brian Ledford – Photos by Bob Dunnell
2019 turned out to be another breakthrough year for Arch Rival Roller Derby.
The past twelve months saw St. Louis’ first flat-track franchise make top-shelf strides and set new benchmarks on the track. In the process, the League continued to reach out to the community and make inaugural appearances at events.
Here is a recap of the past year for ARCH.
1.5.19 – Continuing the return of a successful doubleheader format, the second flight of the six-event ARCH regular season saw the returning Rebel Skate Alliance and the Smashinistas maintain their undefeated records at Midwest Sport Hockey. RSA topped the Stunt Devils, 253-140, paced off of Darth Tator’s 86 points while the Smashies’ 204-191 nail biter over the M-80s kept their record unblemished. In the contest, M-80’s jammer L’Oakey Doki recorded 121 points.
1.26.19 – ARCH’s third event of the local season saw RSA claim sole possession of first place in the standings with their 217-170 triumph over the Smashinistas. Darth Tator notched 123 points in the game – which inevitably marked the highest individual scoring performance for the season – as RSA improved to 3-0. In the nightcap, the Stunt Devils collectively skated their best match of the year in a 250-215 win over the M-80s. Scarrie Fisher scored 89 points in the win that resulted in a two-way tie for third place in the standings. This event also marked our second session of Spectrum Night, where the ceremonial first whistle was blown by the reigning Miss Gay St. Louis, Bella Rose.
2.2.19 – After re-scheduling an original January date due to severe weather, ARCH held their annual Trivia Night at the German Cultural Society in St. Louis. Over 30 tables battled for intellectual supremacy.
2.22-24.19 – ARCH made their second straight appearance at the 32nd Annual Working Women’s Survival Show held at the St. Charles Convention Center. During the weekend, the League had four individual stage performances, including a pair of triumphant sessions on the Missouri Lottery Main Stage. ARCH and All Star skater LuxFurious was also featured on a weekend story that aired on KTVI Fox 2 News. The three-day event drew over 40,000 participants.
3.2.19 – ARCH’s local season continued as RSA kept their record perfect (4-0) with a 191-101 win over the M-80s. Jammers Admiral Aggbar and Boba Flash has their best games of the season with outputs of 72 and 63 points, respectively. With the win, RSA secured their first trip to the ARCH trophy game since 2011, the lone time they hoisted hardware. In the nightcap. the Smashinistas, paced by an 86 point performance from Frowntown, maintained their lock of second place in the standings with a 190-110 win over the Stunt Devils. The evening also included an awesome opening whistle blow from KSHE 95 FM personality Lern.
3.16.19 – In an eye-opening twist at Midwest Sport Hockey at the ARCH local double-header, the M-80s – then winless at the time – decisively thumped the Smashinistas 216-143 to claim their first victory of the season. A stubborn defense helped claim the victory. In the second game, RSA kept their winning ways intact, although the Stunt Devils really challenged the undefeateds. Accented by jammer Yoda Blow’s season-high 48-point performance, RSA’s 162-120 win pushed the squad’s record to 5-0. The night was also ARCH Alumni Night, where over 80 former League members attended and League founder Mary Manglin’ blew the ceremonial first whistle.
3.19.19 – Continuing their work with the Missouri Department of Transportation, ARCH members cleared out their “Adopt-A-Highway” area at the I-55 North entrance at Germania in St. Louis.
3.23.19 – ARCH participated in the annual Confluence Trash Bash held by Greenway Network, Inc. Members picked up trash and cleared out areas at the Missouri Bottoms Conservation Area, Sunset Park, Creve Coeur Park and the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge.
4.5.19 – ARCH skater Toni Smaxton sang the National Anthem at the Reese’s College All-Star Game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The event, a part of the NCAA Men’s basketball Final Four weekend, saw the East top the West, 110-105.
4.6.19 – Consider the results of the final regular season event as “revenge enacted” as the squads that suffered losses at season’s midpoint claim victories in the April re-matches. In the opener, the M-80s claimed a 214-129 victory over the Stunt Devils. In the finale, and arguably the most dramatic local game in League history, the Smashies recorded a 192-191 heart-stopper over Rebel Skate Alliance, which snapped their winning streak. Even though the final doubleheader at Midwest Sport Hockey would feature re-matches, each game would feature rubber matches between the squads competing head-to-head.
4.13.19 – ARCH’s developmental teams made their first forays of the season with a road trip to Chicago to face the developmental teams of the Windy City Rollers. In the opener, ARCH’s Fleur De Linquents C-team fell to the WCR Third Coast 223-97. In a topsy-turvy main event, WCR’s Second Wind claimed a last-jam 163-160 over ARCH Nemesis B-team.
4.25.19 – In advance promotion of ARCH’s Championship Night, ARCH appeared on Fox 2 News at 9 AM. Skaters S’More Cowbell, Force Choke, Jabba the Butt and Brawn Burgundy competed at the station’s facility…and didn’t break any walls in the process.
4.26.19 – Continuing the advance marketing for the April trophy game, ARCH skaters Toni SMAXton, S’More Cowbell, Zoe Hell and Storm Bruiser appeared on Fox 2 News at 11 AM and KPLR News at Noon.
4.27.19 – Championship night for ARCH’s local season saw the highly anticipated re-match between the Smashies and RSA at Midwest Sport Hockey. Both teams tussled throughout and with a late surge, the Smashies claimed their fourth local title with a 198-184 as Smashies’ jammer Frowntown recorded a personal best of 114 points. In the third place game, the M-80s notched a 201-94 win over the Stunts Devils which marked a motivating, three-game winning-streak to finish the season on a high note.
4.28.19 – ARCH participated in the 30th Annual St. Louis Earth Day Festival held at Forest Park in St. Louis.
5.1.19 – ARCH skater Joan of Spark was a featured guest of “St. Louis on the Air,” presented by KWMU-FM, in a session that promoted a “Three Writers & a Comedian” event that was held later that week.
5.4.19 – A Hoosier State trip was on the docket for the Bs & Cs as the ARCH travel teams embarked to Indianapolis for a doubleheader against Naptown Roller Derby. In the opener, the Fleur De Linquents were handed a 298-70 setback to the Warning Belles B-team. In the finale, ARCH’s Nemesis suffered a 141-122 setback to the NRD Tornado Sirens A-team.
5.18.19 – ARCH’s Nemesis and Fleur De Linquents hosted squads from Nashville Roller Derby at Midwest Derby and claimed a pair of convincing wins. In the opener, the FDLs sported a 238-105 win over the Music City Brawl Stars to pick up their first victory of the year. In the main event, the Nemesis thumped the Music City All-Stars A-team 316-93 and snared their first “W” of the season.
5.25.19 – ARCH’s C-team, the Fleur DeLinquents, pushed their win streak to two games following a 132-129 win over the Prairieland Punishers in Decatur, Illinois.
5.25-26.19 – The ARCH All Stars travel team, ranked fifth at the time by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), began their interleague season Memorial Day weekend with a Deep South road trip that netted positive results. In their inaugural game, ARCH topped #12 Atlanta 224-67 and the following day claimed a 247-106 victory over #10 Jacksonville. The results certainly showed the derby universe that St. Louis was certainly ones to watch during the summer.
6.14-16.19 – Both ARCH A & B travel teams made their inaugural appearances at the ultra-competitive La Classique Georgia W. Tush Invitational in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Propelled by a very stubborn defense, the Arch All-Stars greatly impressed in setbacks to #2 Victorian (132-115) and #3 Gotham (156-121). They topped #13 Helsinki 257-100 to improve their record to 3-2. Meanwhile, ARCH’s Nemesis finished the weekend 1-2 with a 223-163 victory over the Helsinki Roller Derby Queen Bs being the highlight of the weekend.
6.29.19 – ARCH participated at the annual Tower Grove Pridefest in St. Louis’ Tower Grove Park. This marked the second straight year the League had promoted a booth at the event.
7.4.19 – ARCH participated in the annual Webster Groves Community Days Parade.
7.8.19 – The ARCH All Stars achieved a pair of monumental milestones when the WFTDA revealed their final set of regular season rankings and the governing body’s post-season complexion. Out of 354 international Leagues eligible for rank, the St. Louis rollers were positioned fourth overall, which set a new historical benchmark. As a result of the rank, the ARCH All-Stars received an automatic bid to the WFTDA International Championships that would be held in November. The occasion also resulted in the team’s first playoff leapfrog into the WFTDA Hyrda Cup finale, earmarked for the top four-ranked teams globally.
8.17-18.19 – As a tune-up for the WFTDA Championships, the ARCH All Stars competed at the Tinsletown Showdown in Los Angeles, California. In the two-day sprint, the locals defeated #7 Angel City (142-91) and #17 Arizona (282-50) to push their record to 5-2.
8.17.19 – The ARCH Nemesis and Fleur De Linquents returned the favor to Nashville Roller Derby and made a road trek to the Music City for a double header at the historic Nashville Fairgrounds. The Tennesseans claimed a pair of narrow wins as the Music City All Stars topped the Nemesis, 172-147, while the Music City Brawl Stars edged the FDLs, 159-148.
8.24.19 – ARCH skaters participated in the STL Rollers’ “Skate the Streets” event that began at Union and Natural Bridge Avenues in St. Louis.
8.25.19 – Alongside their friends at Central Aussie Rescue and Support, ARCH volunteered at the annual Pooch Playdate at Purina Farms in Grey Summit, Missouri.
9.9.19 – As a result of their competitive regular season, the ARCH Nemesis received a berth to The Great B Team Skateoff post-season tournament that would be held in Denver, Colorado in October. The entry into the ten-team bracketed tournament marked the B-teams’ return to the post-season after a one-year absence.
9.28.19 – ARCH’s Fleur De Linquents hosted Dark River Derby Coalition at the Skatium and claimed a victory.
9.29.19 – ARCH appeared for the first time at the World Girls Expo, held at Harris-Stowe University in St. Louis. Over 3,000 attendees were at the event as the League had its own booth and performed to a packed house in a lively stage presentation.
10.4-6.19 – ARCH’s Nemesis competed at the aforementioned The Great B Team Skateoff in Denver. Seeded eighth heading into the ten-team bracketed tourney, the Nemesis scored a 193-139 victory over ninth-seeded Windy City Rollers Second Wind. Later that day, As the weekend progressed, the b-team found themselves bounced to the consolation bracket. They finished the tourney maintaining their seed following a 211-115 setback to Angel City Roller Derby’s Rocket Queens in the seventh place game. The Nemesis finished their ultra-competitive season with a 3-7 record.
10.5.19 – ARCH grooved at the annual Grovefest held in the Grove Neighborhood of St. Louis.
10.8.19 – ARCH skater Toni Smaxton appeared live on NBC’s “Today Show” as she sang with her United States Air Force Starlifter band. The live television performance took place at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.
10.12.19 – For the second consecutive year, Arch Rival volunteered at Arch Bark, presented by Royal Canin, at Gateway Arch National Park. Over 1,000 dogs participated in the one-mile walk.
10.24.19 – With a record-high 18 draftees, ARCH held its pre-season local draft at the St. Louis Skatium. The Stunts Devils, with seven picks overall, selected veteran skaters such as former All-Star Downtown Dallis and numerous local skaters returning to play after extended breaks. The event also marked the first time a skater from St. Louis Junior Roller Derby aged-up and was placed on an adult team as Hermoine Danger was claimed by the M-80s.
11.08.19 – ARCH was featured in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s sports section in a cover story written by reporter Stu Durando. Although the League had been featured in the daily publication’s lifestyle and entertainment sections, this marked the first time the League had been featured in the sports section.
11.09.19 – ARCH skaters participated in “Invasive Species Removal Day” for Forest Park Forever and helped clear out honeysuckle in Kennedy Forest, At the end of the day, volunteers filled nine dump trucks full of chipped and brush materials, equivalent of 52 cubic yards.
11.15.19 – The ARCH Rival All-Stars entered the WFTDA International Championships held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada as the fourth seed. In their quarterfinal match-up, they notched a nail biting 127-122 victory over fifth–seeded Denver to claim their first-ever semifinal berth in the global finale. Jammer Annie Swanson led the locals with 58 points but a late-game shutdown on Denver jammer Scald Eagle on the game’s final jam proved to be the key point of the match-up.
11.16.19 – ARCH continued their Champs run and met defending Hydra Cup champs Rose City in the semifinal round. The All Stars battle the Wheels of Justice mightly in the first period, which included a 52-52 in the half’s penultimate jam. Rose City, the undefeated top seed of the weekend, scored 22 uncontested points to launch second period and produced a 155-95 win to advance to the gold medal game. Meanwhile, ARCH found themselves being placed in the bronze model match-up, which still marked a new historical benchmark.
11.17.19 – The WFTDA Champs weekend saw the ARCH All-Stars face Victoria in a re-match from their Tush Invitational meeting with higher stakes – third place designation – on the line. ARCH found themselves in a huge deficit early and trailed 72-37 at intermission. To their credit, the locals went on to outscore the Aussies 70-47 in the second and trailed 119-107 heading into the game’s final jam. Unfortunately, Victoria gained lead jammer status on the last rotation to preserve the dozen-point win. ARCH finished the WFTDA Champs weekend in fourth place, a new League benchmark, with an overall record of 6-4.
11.23.19 – ARCH held their annual “Awards Night” at the Crack Fox where honors were presented in 48 categories for skaters and League personnel. In the “ARCH Fan Favorite Award” that was voted online by the public, Stunt Devils’ jammer Force Choke received the honor. In the ARCH categories voted by the League internally, Smashinistas’ blocker Regrets won “Rookie of the Year.” For the travel teams, Annie Swanson claimed Overall MVP for the ARCH All-Stars, dad bod won a similar honor for the Nemesis B-team and Outlaw Josie Wheels received the prize for the Fleur De Linquents C-team.
11.24.19 – Newly-drafted ARCH skater Sunday School Slammer was ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister by the First Unitarian Church of St. Louis. The occasion was highlighted in an article by the St. Louis Business Journals.
12.8.19 – In advance publicity for the upcoming local campaign, ARCH was featured on Sunday Sports Extra on KPLR-TV, Channel 11.
12.10.19 – ARCH reveals St. Louis Crisis Nursery as their charity partner for the 2020 season.
12.14.19 – ARCH hosted the inaugural Queeny Quad Quake held at Midwest Sport Hockey. In the four League bracketed tournament that featured 30-minute games, the primary travel squad of Columbia, Missouri-based COMO Roller Derby took home the trophy after an 85-61 triumph over Confluence Crush Roller Derby’s Smitten Kittens. In the semifinals, COMO topped ARCH’s Fleur De Linquents while the Kittens topped the St. Chux Derby Chix Pack in Black. In the third place game, the FDLs defeated SCDC. Event organizers and the four participating leagues saw the success of the event and plan to continue the series in 2020.
And there you have it! It was another wonderful year for our “”eight-wheeled heroes!” We want to thank the families, friends and volunteers that support our League!
Thank you for supporting derby in St. Louis and we look forward to the fifteenth season of our League in 2020!
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