Rockits and Garda Belts Prevail in Minnesota RollerGirls’ Feel the Win in Your Hair

Following October 13’s Planet of the Skates, November 17 was the first bout of the 2018–2019 Minnesota RollerGirls regular season, and in many ways it served as a rematch of that mini tournament. What got turned upside down? What stayed the same? This is your bout recap for season 15, bout 2: Feel the Win in Your Hair!

Switch Please jumping on skates

Switch Please of the Garda Belts jumps a line of volunteers during a time out at Feel the Win in Your Hair,

Atomic Bombshells vs. Rockits, First Half

The Atomic Bombshells welcomed Mercy (#55) to the team. Last season Mercy spent the season traveling back and forth between Texas and Minnesota, fostering with the MAD Girls of Mankato and playing this summer with Wrek Leeg in Minneapolis. She officially transferred to Minnesota RollerGirls this month!

After a false start in the countdown, the Bombshells put on a burst out of the gate, scoring 22 in the first three jams with Lazy Susan, Peppers, and Homo Erratic putting up a streak of three lead jammers in a row. Bri Zuss then took the Rockits’ first lead jam and put her team on the board with a quick 6 points in Jam 4 began a run of three unanswered lead jams that left the Bombshells’ score mostly static, gaining 4 points while the Rockits ran up 26. The score was tied at 26-all going into Jam 7, due mainly to a monster 18-point jam by Jacked Pipes.

In the seventh jam, a JoJo Juk’em track cut followed by a Peppers no-pass/no-penalty on her initial pass led to a two-minute jam without a lead jammer, giving two of Minnesota’s most agile jammers time and space to shine. They racked up a total of 24 points between them before the Rockits managed to catch Peppers and hold her during JoJo’s final lap of the jam and take 5 big roller derby points to put up the Rockits’ first lead of the game, 43–38. A dizzying burst of three lead changes later, the Rockits held the lead again, 57–43.

After a long series of Rockits lead jams, Peppers finally grabbed lead for the penultimate jam of the first half, putting up a few additional points. Anne T. took lead again in Jam 17, bringing the Rockits over the century mark against Rat, running the jam down to nearly the end. With only 14 seconds in regulation after the end of Jam 17, neither team opted to freeze the clock for one last jam, and time expired for the half.

Halftime Score: Rockits lead, 113–67

Dagger Dolls vs. Garda Belts, First Half

The second half of the bill was a rematch of third place from October. The Garda Belts came out looking to avoid their fourth loss of 2018 (one of which happened in season 14), while the Dolls looked to build on their first home win since season 13. Excellent defensive work in the first three jams held the score to a tense 7–0 in the Dagger Dolls’ favor. In Jam 5, Switch Please got the Garda Belts on the board and, with a 29-point jam, put her team in the lead over the Dolls, 29–16.

Strong defensive play and a series of jammer penalties by the Gardas brought the Dolls back, and they tied it back up on a 3-point jam with Demoraliza taking a star pass from itchesbtrippin in Jam 10, followed by a Little Rascal pickup of 5 points to take the lead back. Kung Pow Bitchen, taking the jammer star this season after a long career as primarily a blocker, picked up 3 points in the next jam to pad the Dolls’ slim lead.

That padding proved necessary in Jam 13 as Switch Please took a few quick points to tie it back up, 50-all. Jam 17 saw the Dolls up 62–50 but in a minivan situation with Delilah Diamond on the line for the Gardas against Shock Therapy. Shock got lead and called it off after only 10 seconds, leaving Demoraliza stranded in the box for the final jam as the Dolls took their official review for the half to protest scoring. Winning the review, they added an additional point going into the final jam, with itchesbtrippin going up against Ida Sockher, who quickly jumped out to lead jammer.

Sockher built a 25-point jam as itches stayed caught behind Legs for the entire time, and the two teams went into halftime with the Gardas holding a narrow 75–63 lead. With only 12 points—just 3 scoring passes—separating the two teams, things were looking good for a tense second half.

Halftime Score: Gardas lead, 75–63

Tubby Esquire takes the stage at the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium 11/17/18

I showed up for roller derby, and a polka concert broke out!

Halftime Show Report

It just wouldn’t be a November bout without the polka-pop stylings of Tubby Esquire, a Minnesota RollerGirls staple of many years’ standing. This year, Tubby rolled out a new single celebrating the Minnesota RollerGirls, to an enthusiastic audience. The set list featured “Godzilla,” “Twenty-Five Beers,” “The Day They Legalized Polka,” “In Love with the RollerGirls,” “Head Like a Hole,” and “Clink Your Glasses.”

Atomic Bombshells vs. Rockits, Second Half

The first several minutes of the Bombshells–Rockits second half followed the pattern of the latter part of the previous half, with the Rockits slowly but steadily racking up an increasing lead with robot precision, picking up 4- and 8-point jams with regularity; the Bombshells also racked points, but much more slowly. By the end of Jam 6, the Rockits had put the score all but out of reach at 151–91.

An official time-out at 15:26, with 3 more points on the board for the Rockits, brought out some amazing dance moves by Rockits jammer Bri Zuss, while one Rockit (Animal) and one Bombshell (Speed Rita) sat in the penalty box and a dazzle of zebras gathered in the infield to sort everything out. Kisses during the Hugs and High-Fives cam drew exaggerated howls of despair from announcer John Maddening.

The action resumed on the track, with Lazy Susan taking the line for the Bombshells and both jammers immediately drawing track-cut penalties, forced on Bri Zuss by Madame de Stompadour and on Lazy Susan by Brutal Brit. With no jammer able to take lead jammer, Jam 8 went the full two minutes, with Bri Zuss drawing another track cut and springing Lazy Susan early from her second penalty, an insubordination penalty. Drawing her sixth penalty after this jam, Bri Zuss spent the remainder of the game on the bench to avoid having her foul out. For all the additional length of this jam, the jammer penalties resulted in 0 points being scored by either team (after an official review).

Bri Zuss touches Chocolate Pain

Bri Zuss (Rockits) and Chocolate Pain (Bombshells) just before lineup.

In Jam 11, the Bombshells finally broke the century mark with the score 182–100, as pivot-turned-jammer Homo Erratic capitalized on Rockits jammer Jojo Juk’em’s need to burn clock time to spring two blockers from the penalty box and grab 6 points of her own. In the waning minutes of the game, with the score out of reach, the Bombshells continued to fight for every point they could scrap together, but a series of Rockits lead jams left them few opportunities to score themselves.

At 217–101 in the final jam, the Rockits, firmly in control, sent Manila Ice (normally a pivot) to the line against Bombshell Wheelie Nelson. Despite Nelson being lead jammer, she chose not to call it off, letting time expire naturally, and each team picked up a few more points.

Final Score: Rockits 230, Atomic Bombshells 115

Bombshells  vs. Rockits Jam of the Game: Jam 8 of the second half was a wild, wild ride involving no fewer than four jammer penalties and 0 points scored. While this jam was a null–null result, the Rockits’ ability to prevent Bombshells jammer Lazy Susan from capitalizing on some serious errors by Rockits jammer Bri Zuss as well as kill two blocker penalties proved that the women in red have some seriously skilled blockers on their team.

Dagger Dolls vs. Garda Belts, Second Half

Coming back from the halftime break, the first line for the rested Dagger Dolls consisted of Val Kyrie, Woopsie Daisy, Dagger Nation, and itchesbtrippin, lined up against their Garda Belts counterparts Gay of Reckoning, Baller, Kafrodesiac, and the always-solid Crust Almighty. Garda Belt Switch Please and Dagger Doll Shock Therapy were on the line as jammers. Getting lead first, Switch grabbed a quick 3 points to start off the half the right way for her team against the ever-dangerous Shock Therapy.

At 18 seconds into Jam 3, itchesbtrippin put the Dolls back on the board, taking lead jam and all four Garda blockers before a star pass to Garda pivot Baller got her out of the pack and around to force a call-off, 82–67 Gardas. This brought up Kung Pow Bitchen for the Dolls, her first time in several seasons as a jammer in a regular-season bout. Switch easily got lead jammer, but Pow came back, pushing out the tripod of La Vibora, Legs, and Obscene Sheen to get out of the pack before Switch reached her and forced the call-off without picking up any points (and cutting short a dance remix of Pearl Jam’s 1991 hit “Evenflow,” called out by John Maddening as a sad moment in the history of roller derby). Another pair of quick hit-it-and-quit-it lead jams by Shock Therapy and Little Rascal brought the Dolls within 10, freezing Doll Lola Frequency in the penalty box on a low block—sharing it with former Doll and current Garda Belt Shiver Me Kimbers.

The Dolls’ efforts, however, were quickly undone by a 9-point Switch Please jam, with itches quickly handing her star to pivot Whoopsie Daisy; Switch made breaking past Val Kyrie and Mischief Managed look easy. (Spoiler: It is not easy.) Another quick Shock Therapy jam gave the Dolls their closest score of the half, down by only 5 as she hit it and quit it for four, bringing the score to 91–82 with 10 minutes gone in the half.

A nearly effortless-looking lead jam—I know how hard Switch works at these, but she makes it look easy as can be!—was undone less than a minute later as Switch came in a little too hot on the Dolls’ braced wall and left for the penalty box on a back block, triggering a two-minute jam. Switch’s second penalty in the jam, a track cut (with which she clearly disagreed) with 16 seconds remaining, froze her in the box into Jam 11, giving the Dolls a 14-second power start; La Vibora was also frozen in the box for a full 30 with a low block as time expired, for a score of 103—90 at the halfway point of the second half. An inconclusive jam going out of a time-out resulted as itchesbtrippin got out of the pack with lead, but not in time to capitalize on her advantage with Switch hot on her skates.

After Jam 17, with just four minutes remaining on the clock, the Gardas gained their largest lead of the game at 134–98, a gap of 36 points—a nearly insurmountable lead that close to the end. Though the last three jams saw the Dolls chip away at it, in the end it was simply too many points to overcome in too short a time; despite late-game heroics by Mischief Managed, Switch Please was a bit too much to handle, and a 32-point final run by Mischief and Shock Therapy came up short.

Final Score: Garda Belts 155, Dagger Dolls 130

Dolls vs. Gardas Jam of the Game: Ida Sockher’s 25-point jam at the end of the first half proved critical to the final score, providing exactly the Garda Belts’ margin of victory over the Dagger Dolls. Though similar jams were put up later by Switch Please, this gave the Gardas a critical pre-halftime lead and set the stage for the second half.

Players of the Game

Jammer of the Game, Bombshells vs. Rockits: Jacked Pipes (#3, Rockits). Pipes has been a dominant jammer for the last four seasons, and she is back in form after a slightly off season in 2017–2018, when rumor had had it she was planning on retiring from derby. In the stands, we’re all glad she chose not to!

Blocker of the Game, Bombshells vs. Rockits: Brutal Brit (#82, Rockits). Brutal’s dominant performance in Jam 8, denying the Bombshells a chance to capitalize on the Rockits’ starting the jam in a minivan, made a tremendous difference in the second half. Congratulations, Brutal!

Jammer of the Game, Dolls vs. Gardas: Switch Please (#101, Garda Belts). For any team intending to win this season, Switch Please is a puzzle they will have to solve.

Blocker of the Game, Dolls vs. Gardas: Val Kyrie (#0707, Dagger Dolls). VK’s powerful blocks and hits couldn’t win the game on their own, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. She was one of the most potent difference-makers on the track for the Dolls’ first half.

MVZ, Most Visible Zebra (Official): Smash Ketchum, getting her first bout as a skating official under her belt!

Final Notes

Rules, Glorious Rules: The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association announced a handful of rules changes just prior to the WFTDA Championships in early November. The most critical of these were tightening the criteria for a back block and removing the jammer lap point. Yes, fans, that fifth big roller derby point—so exciting but so hard to adjudicate—is going away. These rules take effect for sanctioned games as of December 1, 2018, and their implementation in Minnesota RollerGirls home bouts is pending.

The Injury Report: Your writer is pleased to report that after an arm break last month, RamPaige has returned to the track quickly. Moose Def-initely, though not yet back from her injury, says she’ll be back for December. Oh Geez!, however, continues to be out with a broken ankle. According to the league, she is out for the season.

Minnesota RollerGirls Standings

  • Rockits: 1–0, PF 230, PA 115. FTS: 742.6 points, #79 USA
  • Garda Belts: 1–0, PF 155, PA 130. FTS: 695.8 points, #132 USA
  • Dagger Dolls: 0–1, PF 130, PA 155. FTS: 698.5 points, #128 USA
  • Atomic Bombshells: 0–1, PF 115, PA 230. FTS: 713.4 points, #113 USA

Roller Derby Jargon of the Month

Minivan: A situation where one team has only two skaters on the track at the beginning of a jam due to penalties, so called because two blockers in front are trying to hold it together while the four in back are doing whatever they want.

No Pass/NoPenalty: No penalty was assessed, but no legal pass was completed by the jammer. If a jammer has a no pass/no penalty on their initial pass and doesn’t return to the pack to repass the blocker they missed, they are not eligible for lead jammer.

The December bout, Chilled to the Bone, happens December 15, 2018!


  1. By Ace


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