The second-ever Blood & Thunder Women’s Roller Derby World Cup is headed for the Dallas Convention Center this December 4-7. If you’re new to the roller derby scene, Emily Rawdon, the event’s media director, says to expect lots of competitive gameplay, All-Star bouts (derby language for games) from world-famous groups, and some killer after parties. According to Rawdon, derby gals like to dance.
After dominating in Toronto last year, number-one ranked USA is again the team to beat, but with a pool of 13 returning teams and 17 newcomers, there’s always room for surprises. Whether you’re pulling for the stars and stripes or an international favorite, take a sneak peek as Rawdon guides us through some of the key players to root for.
Fifi Nomenon (Penelope Nederander), Team USA. Named after the Yeah Yeah Yeahs song “Phenomena,” firecracker Fifi is known for her completely dominating blocking skills. She’s also a master jammer, derby language for the opportunity to score points during the two-minute action periods. This star player for the Texas Rollergirls should be a fast favorite for the locals. (Also watch out for Smarty Pants, another powerful Texas Rollergirls teammate playing for team USA.)
Bonnie Thunders, Team USA. If there’s one name that rings a bell in the women’s roller derby scene, it’s probably Bonnie Thunders. Dubbed the LeBron James of the sport by ESPN, Thunders has been a major player since 2006. She regularly plays for The Gotham Girls in NYC, the top roller derby team in the world. (Also watch out for Suzie Hotrod, another featured Gotham teammate playing for Team USA.)
Vanessa “V. Diva” Sites, Team USA. With a background in softball, speed skating, volleyball, cross country, and more, this Philadelphia Liberty Belles player is a force to be reckoned with in the rink. With her fearless, diva attitude, V lives up to her name and is always a crowd pleaser.
Sarah “KillBox” Hipel, Team Canada. Though she’s representing Canada in the World Cup, Hipel is another Texas Rollergirls favorite. Her jamming skills are something to be reckoned with: Another player once broke her sternum with a single hit, but she went on to finish the jam before heading to the hospital. Where the nickname came from? We don’t want to know.
Master Blaster, Team Germany. A star player for Bear City Roller Derby in Berlin, Blaster broke into the international derby scene this year at Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Championships and immediately became a popular Division II player. “She was virtually unstoppable as a jammer,” says Rawdon. “Plus her agility and dexterity on her feet are truly amazing.”
Stefanie Mainey, Team England. When it comes to skaters from across the pond, Mainey is by far one of the most well known. A team captain for London Rollergirls’ travel team, London Brawling, Mainey is especially notorious for her ability to transition from a controlling blocking game to a jammer with tremendous of strength. (Also watch out for Rogue Runner & Kamikaze Kitten, other England teammates and headliners for London Brawling.)
For event tickets and information, go to www.rollerderbyworldcup.com.