The Big O Preview: Part 3 MRDA & JRDA

The Big O Preview: Part 3 MRDA & JRDA GateKeepers vs Bridgetown at 2015 MRDA Champs. Photo credit: Kit Ruff - ShutHerUp Photography.

In addition to the WFTDA-sanctioned action featured this weekend at The Big O invitational in Eugene, Oregon, thirteen sanctioned games from the Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA) will be showcased at the fifth installment of the annual flat-track event, as well as 8 Junior Roller Derby games.

Both the defending MRDA champions and the league that placed third overall will be a part of the nine-team Big O complexion, six of which appeared at 2015’s post-season finale. Catch these games on and keep tabs on our Big O Central page (coming soon) for score updates and more. 

Reigning MRDA kingpin GateKeepers Roller Derby has games against Puget Sound, Bridgetown, and San Diego during the course of the weekend. Although the Big O launches the Missourians’ MRDA schedule, the league has been anything but dormant since claiming the international trophy last October as they finished its three-team, seven-event local campaign earlier this month.

Last year’s hardware hoisters only had one retirement during the off season, so the line-up is essentially the same heading into the Beaver State. 2016 Team USA members Magnum P.I.M.P., Percy Controll, Bled Zepplin’, and Spin Diesel paces an offense that also contains veterans Shane Bower, Corey Porter, and Double Excel. They are ranked #2 in MRDA’s 2015 Fall rankings, but Flat Track Stats puts them at #1 after they won last year’s Championships.

Texas vs New York at 2015 MRDA Champs. Photo credit: Kit Ruff - ShutHerUp Photography.

Texas vs New York at 2015 MRDA Champs. Photo credit: Kit Ruff – ShutHerUp Photography.

Texas Men’s Roller Derby, the 2015 MRDA bronze medalists, has Big O games against Bridgetown, Puget Sound, and San Diego. TXMRD notched a 600-point sanctioned win over Arizona at March’s Clover Cup that provided an early eye-opener to others. 2016 Team USA members TIP, Dr. Feelgood, Haterade, and The Enabler, as well as veterans Rhino, Mr. Taco, and Diamond are ready to lasso a three-game sweep and keep the upward trajectory intact. Ranked #4 in MRDA currently, FTS puts them at #2.

Puget Sound, a perennial MRDA post-season entrant, launches its travel team campaign with games against St. Louis, Texas, and Denver. The Outcasts field an experienced roster with 2016 Team USA’s Cory Pain, D. Botts, and Quadzilla LK leading the charge and mainstays Vito Ramon, Fancypants, Scott Slamilton, Nugget, Thunderstruck, Ryrod, and Corporal Punishment add strength. Puget Sound looks to avenge last post-season’s opening round loss to Texas and the game against Denver will be the inaugural meeting between the pair. Holding #5 in MRDA, FTS confirms that ranking.

Bridgetown’s two games at Big O against the GateKeepers and Texas Men’s will be a mighty challenge, but the Oregonians plan to stay in stride amongst its higher-ranked foes. They will also get a bonus game on Thursday night against the Aftershocks, currently ranked a few spots below them. They have a very seasoned squad with Shreddy Mercury, Ill Nino, Juke Blocks Hero, Tommy Gun, Captain Obvious, Cozmo, and Defensive Destroyer back in the 2016 mix. Some newer additions have a chance to gain some quality minutes this weekend. Bridgetown fell to Texas last August, so there is plenty of incentive to gain a Big O win over the Lone Star State.

Both Twin Cities and San Diego made inaugural MRDA Champs appearances last year, which included a nice consolation tussle between the pair, and the continuation of that rivalry takes place on Friday afternoon. #14 Twin Cities (2-0) have solid sanctioned wins against Rock City and Sioux City already recorded and the Terrors crave a three-game sweep to push its record after the weekend to 5-0. After Friday’s projected donnybrook with San Diego, Twin Cities have games against upstarts Vancouver and Denver. Steve Sweat, Baron Von Beans, Egon Strangler, Jammit Dim, and a plethora of veterans plan to open eyes.

Twin Cities vs San Diego at the 2015 MRDA Champs. Photo credit: Kit Ruff - ShutHerUp Photography.

Twin Cities vs San Diego at 2015 MRDA Champs. Photo credit: Kit Ruff – ShutHerUp Photography.

Meanwhile, hard-charging #10 (FTS #16) San Diego seeks to upend the Terrors on Friday in its 2016 season debut and continues its weekend by challenging both the GateKeepers and Texas Men’s. Give credit where credit is due, the Aftershocks are not shying away from the aforementioned tasks. B. Stang, another member of Team USA 2016, is a game-changer and returning starters Boo, Lambo R Feeties, and Just Mike are back for another rotation this season.

#33 (FTS #29) Lane County, who has been a yearly fixture since the Big O’s inception five years ago, has games against Vancouver, Denver and Twin Cities scheduled. The team’s 2016 launch has returnees Inspektor Spaceman, Draggin’ Balls, YB Normal, and James Brains ready to lead the Concussion.

Unranked (FTS #15) Vancouver, who posted a pair of sanctioned wins at last November’s Battle of the Beards, begins its MRDA season with a Big O trifecta of Lane County, Twin Cities and Denver. The Murder have six members of 2016’s Team Canada on its charter. Bennett, Stan DaSide, Svensson, Tichbourne, and Zimmer are set to pace the squad.

Finally, #24 (FTS #42) Denver is making its second straight appearance at The Big O with Saturday games scheduled against Puget Sound and Lane County while Vancouver is on Sunday’s ledger. The Ground Control finished 3-0 at least year’s event and have a legitimate chance to replicate that record if they play well. Denver punctuated 2015 with a four-point October win over the Big O Roller Bros.

Ensuing results from the Big O weekend will give squads a chance to maintain traction in the MRDA hierarchy and, with potential upsets, an opportunity to personally climb.

Junior Roller Derby

With the Junior Roller Derby Association (JRDA) Championships coming up July, the Big O can help ensure these teams get ranked or get them in a better position for the quickly approaching National stage. Many of the teams attending went to Wild West Showdown in March, so they are already used to the weekend tournament experience. Here’s a quick rundown on the 5 Junior leagues rounding out the Big O this weekend.

Angel City Junior Derby just formed in 2015 and recently joined the JRDA. In September of last year, the A-Listers took on the Santa Cruz Gromshells and lost by only 16 points, but just this month at Tinseltown Showdown, they had re-match and ACJD took the win 205-171. That helped them get ranked in the JRDA Female Division at #7, along with their 1-2 performance at Wild West Showdown. There they lost to the Rosebuds by 27 points but the Portland Juniors are on their schedule for this weekend for a rematch. ACJD’s first game will be against the FoCo Spartans on Friday at 2pm PDT.

If you have been wondering where former Rocky Mountain/Denver skater Urrk’n Jerk’n has been, she’s been coaching FoCo Spartan Junior Roller Derby. The Spartans are ranked #6 in the open Division with a win over Major Turbulence (Denver’s Junior team) 366-146 last September. They also attended Wild West Showdown, and despite losing all four of their match ups, they came within one point of the Northside Nightmares from Spokane, Washinton. They also faced Emerald City, who they will see again this weekend, and lost 202-157. Their first game will be against Angel City on Friday at 2pm PDT.

Currently unranked in either the Female or Open division, the Emerald City Junior Gems have been playing games since 2011. The Emerald City Reservoir Dolls went to Wild West Showdown this year and won all three of their games, including their 45-point win against the FoCo Spartans. They also have a Modified team that plays a positional version of the game, and they will take on Rose City in a 30-minute expo on Sunday. Their first bout will be on Friday at 4:30pm PDT against Santa Cruz.

The Rose City Rosebuds are currently unranked but should earn a ranking soon after their 2-1 weekend at Wild West Showdown. They squeaked out their 177-175 win against Santa Cruz and have them to look forward to again at the Big O. They also just recently played against the Emerald City Reservoir Dolls and won 193-185. Their first match up at the Big O will be against Angel City on Friday at 8:30pm PDT.

The Santa Cruz Derby Groms made it to the JRDA Championships last year, but fell to both the I-5 Rollergirls and Tampa Junior Derby while there. Now ranked #5 in the Female Division, the Gromshells attended Tinseltown Showdown where they lost to Angel City Junior Derby who they just beat last September by 16 points. Before that in March, they went to the Wild West Showdown and won against the #8 I-5 Rollergirls by 9 points. Their first game this weekend will be against Emerald City at 4:30pm PDT on Friday.

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