On Saturday evening at the Connecticut Sports Center in Woodbridge, the Connecticut Roller Girls welcomed Buffalo’s Nickel City Knock Outs for a skatefest of unparalleled proportion. This was the first bout that I’ve been able to make it to since the summer’s start, but even just walking into the arena I was immediately reminded of how much fun these competitions are. It’s hard to describe the energy of the crowd and the aura of excitement in the room. If you still haven’t made it to a bout, you must.
Enough preamble. Let’s look at the two teams!!
Visiting Connecticut were the Nickel City Knock Outs. They were dressed in blue and yellow and had a strong showing of support in the crowd.
Nickel City Knock Outs
Ruby Revenge #10
Hyper Bean #667
B.J. Harmstrong #134
Legs Luther #102
Notorious V.A.G. #79
Lamb Chop #71
Neon Vamp #1985
Liquid Courage #15
Sasa Skank #80
Crazy Legs #24
Maggie Dee Sade #140
R. Rose Selavy #44
Shear Tara #138
Ace Bandage #16
Supernova #007 (coach)
The Yankee Brutals, dressed in sharp red and white, represented our fair state in this match-up.
Babe Vigoda 56 (Co-captain)
Paula G. Imnaughty NC-17 (Co-captain)
Bimbo Slice 24KT
Bonnie Voyage 505
Cali Ripskin DV8
Crash Corpse 6ft
Dee Nasty 921
Guns N’ Bruises 2012
I. Harely Knew’Em 81
Jean Mutation X2
Murphy’s Outlaw 15
Ramona Rotten 77
Rinko Starr 64
Amelia Tearheart #99
Shiny Toy Buns #02
Fred Perrywinkle (coach)
A few of the girls listed above weren’t able to make it to the bout so Pearl Jammer, Black Cherry, and Ether Bunny stood in as substitutes. Also! This was the first time that I have seen Shiny Toy Buns and Amelia TearHeart skate with Connecticut. It’s reported that this was not the first time that either have skated with the team – Needless to say, I’m sad to have missed their initial debut!
As seven pm rolled around, the girls got into their positions for the first jam. Skating for the Nickel City Knock Outs (NCKO) was B.J. Harmstrong. B.J. was a consistent ‘go to’ for the NCKO. B.J. visited the jamming line more than any other skater Saturday (fourteen times) – for good reason too: B.J. was remarkably fast.
For the first jam, Murphy’s Outlaw stood opposite B.J. As the whistles blew, the pack inched forward slowly and the jammers bounded off the starting line. Sadly for the Connecticut fans, Murphy was quickly sent to the penalty box. B.J. took off like a rocket and worked furiously to try and take advantage of an unopposed jam. She lapped through the pack twice for a quick 10 points – a strong first jam for the ladies in blue.
Pearl Jammer rolled up next for the Brutals opposite NCKO’s Notorious V.A.G. Once again, Pearl Jammer proved her strength as a player as she passed through the pack. Hit from the side, Pearl squeezed along the inside of the curve – balancing on a single skate just barely in fair territory (INSAAANE!!!!). She stabilized herself and snagged lead jammer status. This time it was Connecticut’s turn to take control. Notorious V.A.G. was sent out on a penalty, and the Connecticut pack focused all their energy on offense. Pearl, on the strong blocking of Ether, Rinko, and Black Cherry, circled through the pack three times for an impressive 15 points.
Next, Connecticut’s Shiny Toy Buns stole a few points from Crazy Legs who despite claiming lead jammer status, missed the chance to end her jam early.
Dee Nasty kept up the drive against Unsung with five more points. The Connecticut girls were aggressively making a lead – but Nickel City was not to be discounted.
Shortly thereafter B.J. Harmstrong returned to the line – this time against Pearl Jammer. What a match up! These two girls have an uncanny ability to sprint on skates. This time around, B.J. got the upper hand. B.J. snagged 5 quick points, but with Pearl on her tail after her first pass she had to quit while she was ahead.
This bout was very give and take. Nearly all the points were extremely hard fought. We had brilliantly fast sprints and some ferocious blocks. As the minutes ticked by, the teams were trading the lead back and forth.
Finally the Brutals pulled ahead. Ramona Rotten, Pearl Jammer, and Shiny Toy Buns took control for three consecutive jams with 4, 3, and 12 points respectively (great skating, girls!). It was enough to give the Yankee Brutals a 18 point lead going into the second half.
It has been truly interesting to observe different skating strategies over the years that I’ve been watching Roller Derby. One strategy that still baffles me a bit is the super slow pack that crawls forward at the first whistle instead of furiously skating ahead. Presumably the slower speed gives their sprint skaters a shorter break and perhaps a slightly greater likelihood for more points. But as a fan, I can attest to the fact that this isn’t quite as exciting as full speed skating brutality.
Thankfully, the second half had far fewer dragging starts than the first half. In fact, the first four jams of the second half were some of the best fast paced action I’ve seen. It all started with a rematch of Murphy’s Outlaw and B.J. Headstrong. This time, on the successful blocks of Black Cherry and Bonnie Voyage, Murphy was able to skate ahead and earn five more points for the Brutals.
Next, Ether helped clear a path for Dee Nasty who pulled in five points. Black Cherry kept it alive with three more after a beautiful sprint through the pack. And then, Pearl did it again.
Once again Pearl was standing across from B.J. Headstrong. The whistle blew and B.J. and Pearl were head to head. B.J. squeezed the outside of the track around the first corner and snaked by the blockers in red. She thus secured lead jammer status – the Connecticut crowd was crushed!
But then! Out of nowhere, Pearl exploded through the pack and out sprinted B.J. Headstrong. B.J. was forced to end the jam early! It’s true that no points were scored, but sometimes the most exciting jams are those with no score at all. This time around, disaster was averted courtesy of Pearl Jammer’s quads.
Still, NCKO was far from knocked out.
B.J. Headstrong IMMEDIATELY returned to the jammer line. Showing her remarkable endurance, B.J. furiously skated against Dee Nasty and earned 8 more points. Crazy Legs returned to the line next and breathed more life into the stalled New Yorkers. She took advantage of a penalty and took in 18 points (dang!).
Within just a few minutes the score went from a comfortable CT lead 74 to 40 to an edge of your seat thriller at 79 to 76. The Crowd provided incredible encouragement to both teams. Ramona finally broke ahead taking advantage of a penalty by Ruby Revenge. Ramona pulled in fifteen points and there was no turning back.
The bout came to a close with Connecticut leading Buffalo 127 to 84.
Pearl Jammer with 49 points
Ramona Rotton with 24 points
Shiny Toy Buns with 20 points
Nickel City Knock Outs:
Crazy Legs with 40 points
B.J. Harmstrong with 29 points
Notorious V.A.G. with 10 points
Sadly, no MVPs were officially awarded for this bout. So, I’ll go ahead and award some unofficially.
For the Yankee Brutals it’s easy to see glory in the incredible sprints of Pearl Jammer and the consistent pivot work of Ether Bunny and Black Cherry, but in my humble opinion the prize for the night should go to Shiny Toy Buns who put it all on the track while on the jammer line. It’s great to see some strong talent in the up and coming skaters!
For the Nickel City Knock Outs, there were two girls in particular who seemed to take the hits again and again without ever giving in: Lamb Chop and Ace Bandage. These two were forces to be reckoned with and deserve great credit for their work on wheels. Awesome!
Total minors: 40
Total majors: 16
Penalty Queen: Black Cherry
Nickel City Knock Outs
Total minors: 22
Total majors: 19
Penalty Queen: R. Rose Selavy
Special thanks to all those involved in the running of these events. They are a joy to watch. If you’d like more information on Connecticut Roller Derby, including tickets to their next bout, I encourage you to swing by their website here.
The next bout will be taking place on October 16th against Providence’s Killah Bees.
Great job Roller Girls!