December 2010 Featured League: Rocky Mountain Rollergirls

December 2, 2010

The 5280 Fight Club of the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls are your 2010 WFTDA Champions. With six teams, this growing and competitive league keeps getting better with 24/7 access to their practice facility and huge fan support. Find out more about how this team came together at 2010 West Region Playoffs, took that momentum with them to the Championship tournament, Uproar on the Lakeshore, and played an extremely memorable one-point game that had the entire WFTDA community on the edge of their seats.

Photo by Jules Doyle

Denver, Colorado

How does your season run?
RMRG skates pretty much year round. We don’t have attendance requirements in December, so that is basically our off season (although most of us still skate). With three home teams, two travel teams, new recruits, and a junior league, we need to have as many bouts as possible throughout the year. Plus, we all just love to play!

Are you close to any other WFTDA leagues?
Our closest neighbors practice literally blocks away from us: the Denver Roller Dolls. Our other WFTDA neighbors include the Pikes Peak Derby Dames in Colorado Springs, CO; FoCo Girls Gone Derby in Fort Collins, CO; the Slaughterhouse Derby Girls in Greeley, CO; and the Pueblo Derby Devil Dollz in Pueblo, CO. There's also two current Apprentice Leagues in Colorado we'd like to give a shout out to: the Castle Rock ‘n’ Rollers from Monument, CO and the Choice City Rebels from Fort Collins, CO.

How many skaters/teams do you have?
RMRG features six teams, including the all-star 5280 Fight Club; the B-squad Contenders; three home teams, the Red Ridin' Hoods, the Sugar Kill Gang, and the Dooms Daisies; and a rookie squad, the Kill Scouts. In 2010, we also founded a junior league called the Rocky Mountain Rollerpunks, which features our teen squad called the 5280 Might Club and two children's teams called the Lil' Red Ridin' Hoods and the Sugar High Gang.

How is your league structured (home teams, travel team, management)?
RMRG is run by committees that focus on their own departments, like bout production, public relations, training, sponsorship, skater relations, etc. The 5280 Fight Club is our all-star travel team, which represents the league for our rankings. However, we also have a travel B-squad, three local teams, and a rookie squad. Voting members meet as necessary to vote on league business decisions. Otherwise, the committees complete their own work to keep the league growing.

How many days a week do you practice?
The full league practices three times weekly together; newbies practice twice a week and work their way into the full league practices; and teams practice together as needed to work together. RMRG leases a warehouse and owns a skate court, so we have the ability to skate as often as necessary.

Who is Rocky Mountain's biggest rival? And have you had any outstanding, memorable moments against them when you bouted?
The intercity Rocky Mountain Rollergirls—Denver Roller Dolls rivalry is one of the best known and watched in modern roller derby. The leagues have met in bouts only a few times, but bouted for the first time in the 2009 Western Regional Tournament in Denver, which the two leagues co-hosted. With so many fans invested in the two local teams, the venue was rocking as DRD and RMRG fought hard for the win. The leagues, of course, met for the second time during Nationals in 2009. We have found that having two leagues in the city only encourages each to play harder and smarter. The competition is really breeding excellence.

What are the individual challenges of your city?
Denver is a major sports town and it has been confusing for the fan base to have two major leagues competing in the market. Superfans often support both leagues and we are blessed to live in a metropolitan area that supports both.

What is it like having another major WFTDA league (DRD) in the same city as you?
Both RMRG and DRD are partnered with major promoters. Luckily our venues have considerable distance between them. RMRG bouts at the Fillmore Auditorium in downtown Denver, while DRD bouts in Broomfield, a Denver suburb. That helps us target some of our marketing and spread the derby love.

How do you deal with the competition for fans and sponsors?
We market the product we have and the fans and sponsors support it. RMRG is lucky to have a large fan base and a good mix of sponsors who find they benefit from the sponsorship. Each league is respectful of the other’s business and growth.

What are your biggest training challenges?
We have had an overwhelming influx of both brand new skaters and transfers in the last two years. Our biggest challenge has been providing quality training for more than 100 skaters with a variety of skill levels. Luckily, we have access to our warehouse 24/7, and we can have several different practices.

Who are the best "behind the scenes" skaters who make your league run?
This is a tough question. We have so many skaters who work really hard for RMRG and don’t get enough credit.

  • Assaultin’ Pepa is a cornerstone of RMRG. She has tremendous connections, institutional memory, and boundless energy for new projects that propel RMRG forward.
  • Our training committee, headed up by Frida Beater, is amazing and has helped our whole league get to that next level.

  • Our PR committee, headed up by Dangerous LeighA’zon, works so hard to make sure our message is conveyed correctly and that as many people as possible know about RMRG.

  • She Who Cannot Be Named is one of our founders and has been a WFTDA representative since Day One. If we ever have any questions regarding WFTDA, rules, sanctioning, etc, She Who is the one we go to.

That said, every committee head has loads of work and if the work isn’t handled the whole league would suffer. Instead, we benefit from the work of these tremendous women.

Who are some of your star on-track skaters and why?
If a skater is on Fight Club she is a star. RMRG is incredibly competitive on the track and we all benefit from skaters like DeRanged, PsychoBabble, Frida Beater, and others who teach everyone and push them to new levels. We have some notable talent coming up on our B-squad, too. May Q. Pay is a heavy hitter with a remarkable knowledge of the game. Betty White Knuckles is a 19-year-old skater with a ton of natural ability that is being sharpened (and controlled) in practice. She smiles and laughs while playing because she is having so much fun. Jammer Hot Ass Mess is also turning a lot of heads on the track. RMRG has a deep bench these days.

What kind of training/bouting facilities do you have?
We lease a warehouse in Denver and bought a skate court. The warehouse isn’t heated, so our winter months are chilly, but it doesn’t affect attendance. Coloradans are pretty tough in cold conditions. We have a kids’ corner to corral the kids and widows, and weight training equipment. Many homeless couches found their way to the warehouse to give visitors a cozy place to perch during practices. Thanks to league partner, Live Nation, we bout at Denver's beautiful Fillmore Auditorium. The venue, typically a concert venue, is perfect for roller derby and is a former skating rink. A wood floor is the center of a gorgeous building that allows us to have a couple thousand fans watch bouts comfortably.

Your league runs two party buses for your home bouts: the Denver PBR Party Bus and the Longmont Left Hand Brewing Party Bus. How did these relationships develop and how many fans participate in these party bus options?
We actually stole this idea from the Windy City Rollers years ago (thanks, WCR!). We read about their buses and thought it was a brilliant idea, especially because our old venue wasn’t the easiest to find and was a bit of a drive from central Denver. As soon as we started the buses, they were a hit! Each bus seats about 45 fans and we have three buses per bout. The Denver buses leave from the Skylark Lounge, while the Longmont bus leaves from Left Hand Brewery about 45 minutes north of Denver. This bus has allowed us to develop fans outside of the immediate metro area.

In October 2010 you took the Western Region Playoffs by storm, defeating Jet City by 139 points (final score 211-72), beating a very competitive Bay Area by 98 points (final score 142-44), and then polishing off last year's WFTDA Champions, the Oly Rollers in the final game, winning by 41 points (final score 127-86). Looking back at those bouts, what did the team learn on the track that helped you to be so successful at the 2010 WFTDA Championships?
Our bouts at Regionals helped solidify some strategies that we had been practicing and eventually used at Championships. We also continue to build teamwork and confidence in each other.

In your first bout at Championships against the Charm City Roller Girls, the lead changed four times in the first half, and the halftime score was Rocky Mountain 67 to Charm City's 52. What adjustments did the team make in order to win this bout by 62 points? How much of this bout's outcome do you feel was affected by Charm City's second half penalties?
Charm City had a great bout. They came out very focused and fully intending to win the bout. I think we might have underestimated them a bit going into the bout, but we sure had a ton of respect for them afterwards. In terms of adjustments, we had a good conversation at halftime and everyone got on the same page about what we needed to do to defeat them. We don’t believe the bout's outcome was affected by their penalties.

The second bout at Championships brought Rocky Mountain up against the Gotham Girls. This was also the first time you played against the Gotham Girls (2008 WFTDA Champions) this season and you held a solid lead throughout the game, with a few comeback moments from Gotham that never truly got them into the lead. Going into this bout what were the teams' expectations? What adjustments did you make to combat Gotham's six consecutive lead jammer wins to prevent them from taking the bout from you?
We really prepared for Gotham. We analyzed what Philly did not do to beat them at Eastern Regionals, and we structured our strategy to break down their style of play. It proved to us how effective preparation is to winning bouts. We went into the bout with a lot of respect for Gotham, but knew that we could beat them.

The final bout saw Rocky Mountain’s 5280 Fight Club taking on the reigning 2009 WFTDA Champions, the Oly Rollers' Cosa Nostra Donnas. These two teams played twice this season: on May 22nd in interleague play with a score of Rocky 101 and Oly 121, and then again at Western Regionals with a score of Rocky 127 and Oly 86. To say that this was the most anticipated match up of the weekend would be an understatement. What did you learn from that first bout all the way back in May? How did the WFTDA Championship bout compare to the bout at the Western Regional Playoffs?
Playing Oly in May gave us a good feel for the team. A lot of us were intimidated by them, but after playing them in May, we realized that we had a great shot at beating them. We also were able to fully appreciate their individual talents and we knew which parts we had to dismantle for a win.

Oly underestimated us a bit at Regionals and we came out swinging. Championships was different because Oly had a lot to prove. They are a very proud and competitive team and they really wanted to win. We are the same way, so in that game no one—on either team—left anything on the track. The outcome really could have gone either way. We were happy to play them because they gave us the most competitive game possible and made us dig deeper than we have ever had to in the past. That type of competition breeds excellence on all sides.

Photo by Jules Doyle

The final WFTDA Championship bout was decided in the last jam by one point. It's obvious that your jammer, Frida Beater, knew exactly what she was doing at the moment she called off that jam. But honestly, how many of you on the bench were unsure of the outcome at that final whistle?
We had confidence that if Frida was calling it off, it was the right thing to do and we had won the bout.

Do you have a special message to your fans?
The support of our fans has been tremendous these last few years. We don’t think they realize how much they have to do with our success—having supportive fans really pushes you to play harder. We love them all!

Is there any other information that you would like to share with
We can’t express enough how awesome our league is. Everyone is so supportive of each other and we truly all love each other like sisters. We are also blessed with a deep bench of volunteers, refs, NSOs and the best mascot in all of derby, Wolfie!

Would your league like to be the WFTDA Featured League of the month? Have you had an extraordinarily successful season that you'd like to share with the fans? If you are a full WFTDA member league and have the authorization to speak on behalf of your league, we'd love to hear from you! Please contact

Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.