February 1, 2014
The Slaughter County Roller Vixens will host the fifth annual installment of their Wild West Showdown tournament in 2014. As they prepare for this staple event of the derby calendar, the league is also preparing for a breakout year with some major changes: twelve returning skaters and a number of fresh meat skaters completing boot camp in January. Read on to learn more about how Slaughter County plans to tackle their biggest event of the season, and the competitive season ahead!
What city are you based in? We are based in Bremerton, Washington, United States.
Slaughter County sounds dangerous! What is the origin of your league’s name?
Slaughter County is actually the original name for the county we call home – Kitsap County. In the late 1850s King County (now the Seattle area) encompassed most of the Puget Sound region. About half the population of the region resided across the Puget Sound on a peninsula that was home to booming industry including five lumber mills. So it was decided to make the peninsula a separate county, and it was named after Lieutenant William Alloway Slaughter who had been killed a couple of years earlier during a firefight with Yakama Indians. We love the name as it is a great piece of history for our county and honors a tough soldier who had been deployed to the Pacific Northwest, which is a beautiful and sometimes dangerous place to live! …We also don’t mind that it does sound pretty bad ass.
What are the closest WFTDA leagues to you?
We share the Western region of Washington State with the Dockyard Derby Dames in Tacoma, Oly Rollers in Olympia, Rainy City Roller Dolls in Centralia, Rat City Rollergirls in Seattle, Jet City Rollergirls in Everett, Bellingham Roller Betties in Bellingham, and Port Scandalous Roller Derby in Port Angeles.
How many skaters/teams do you have?
We’ve made some pretty drastic changes recently and have twelve returning skaters this season. However, we’re not letting it stop us. Fans will be seeing several new additions on the track and, as a whole, a team that has worked very hard to operate as a cohesive unit. We’ve got plans to build the Slaughter County Roller Vixens into a stronger, even better league than before. We’ve also got a Fresh Meat Boot Camp starting at the end of January and we’re excited to meet a new set of girls.
How does your season run?
Slaughter County holds six home bouts each season and multiple away bouts as we are invited. The first bout of the season is in October. It’s a fun kick-off event and is usually not sanctioned, as we prefer to wear costumes for Halloween. It’s always amazing to see what people come up with to skate in. Due to holidays, our next bout is either in January or February and then one a month through June.
How is your league structured (home teams, travel team, management)?
Our league currently has one team. We’re A/B. The skaters compete for a spot on the Saints of Slaughter (travel team) roster and work together to build a Sisters of Slaughter (home team) roster. Our league management consists of five governing members: President, VP Marketing, Treasurer, Events and Planning, and Skater Representative. Each governing member builds and maintains committees as needed to complete the tasks designated to their position. We have one non-skater member of the management team.
According to your league’s website, the Slaughter County Roller Vixens have gone “old school” by choosing an 80s theme for your 7th season. Fun! How did you choose this season’s theme? Have you had themes for previous seasons? How will you use the theme throughout the season?
Unfortunately, the league announcer somehow attained admin rights over the website. As he has refused to accept the passage of time over the last 30 years, it has been his dream for a while to have 80s themed events. When he uses words such as “kajagoogoo” and “Oingo Boingo” it frightens us, but we’re going to make the best of it. We have never had a theme for an entire season. We have a Halloween bout every year with a horror themed production, but that’s been it. We’re excited about running with our theme this whole season. The team uniform will be drastically changed to resemble something more like an outfit Chrissy from Three’s Company would wear (if you’re younger than 30 you’ll probably have to Google that). The music played during the bouts will be pure 80s as well. During the bouts we will be quizzing the audience about their 80s pop culture knowledge. We’d like to say we’ll see a difference in our announcer too, but he’s already 80s themed.
Who is your biggest rival? And have you had any outstanding, memorable moments against them when you bouted?
We don't think we can pick a biggest rival, but our best rival is Dockyard Derby Dames, hands down. We won’t say biggest, because we truly enjoy and appreciate every member of their league. It’s a supportive community and we love scrimmaging, bouting, and supporting them in any way we can. We’re grateful for their support throughout the years. A great memorable moment was being able to bout with them in the Tacoma Dome last year. It was a good event and a fun bout.
What are the individual challenges of your city?
The Kitsap Peninsula is an isolated location. Add the fact that we are surrounded by amazing roller derby teams and our biggest challenge is membership. There are multiple recreational leagues in the area, as well as WFTDA leagues. We are also a Navy town so there is a lot of turnover with a number of our skaters who are either in the military or who have spouses in the military. When they receive orders and get shipped elsewhere, we lose them, so that can definitely be a pretty big challenge for us. It’s great to have them as part of the team for even a short while, though, and we all still keep in touch. Ultimately we’re working on making SCRV the best and the most fun, so we can compete for members as well as on the track.
What are your biggest training challenges?
Our league stresses endurance. We’ve found that if we are able to keep our energy to the end of the bout, we can keep our heads as well. After that, we try to find a balance of agility, strategy, and core strengthening. That balance is difficult to keep up with the varied levels of girls as they enter the league. Hence the Boot Camp to have several girls enter at the same time.
What kind of training/bouting facilities do you have?
We are incredibly lucky with our facility. We practice at Skateland in Bremerton. It has a large wood floor and the best management. We run Wild West Showdown and larger bouts at the Pavilion in Bremerton as well.
Do you have any sister leagues you’d like to give a shout out to?
We love the Dockyard Derby Dames!
How many days a week do you practice? How are your practices divided/organized among your teams/skaters?
We regularly run three league practices a week open to all skaters, in addition to our Fresh Meat program. Closed team practices are often added on bout weeks. The first half hour of most of our practices is usually dedicated to a variety of off-skates cardio. Mondays are usually the nights we scrimmage. Many of our long-time skaters often volunteer their time to run individual practices when our coach is not available to do so, which is nice as we receive a variety of new drills from different perspectives that help to keep things fresh. In addition to Fresh Meat, newer skaters are invited to attend league practices but do other drills or exercises on their own once we begin any contact drills.
Who are some “behind the scenes” skaters/members who really help your league run?
We have a fantastic core group of skaters, lead by Cindyloo SmackYou, Medusya, Bonnie Beatdown, and Ursula Z, behind the scenes that help our league operations run as smoothly as possible. All of the refs, NSOs, and other officials that help out whenever they can are so appreciated. We are so grateful too for all of the volunteer medics and others who dedicate their time making it possible for us to bout. The staff of our home rink, Skateland, are always very accommodating and wonderfully supportive. One of our team’s biggest unsung heroes is .00 Buck. He wears so many hats and is a total behind-the-scenes go-getter. He is an announcer at our bouts, our website/literature designer, and PR man extraordinaire, and that is just naming a handful of the things he is actively involved in. We are so fortunate to have him there always helping to keep us on-track, when we are both on and off the track. You might have heard he’s an okay dancer, too. Seriously, the guy can cut a rug like no one else!
Who are some of your star skaters on the track, and why?
We try to make sure that every skater is a star on bout day, but our featured skater right now is Bonnie Beatdown! We love her on and off the track. She has a wild streak and an infectious sense of humor that keeps everyone in high spirits when we need it most. Her ability to take command in clutch situations has also made her an invaluable member of the league. She’s also pretty hot!
We understand that Slaughter County is gearing up to host the 5th annual Wild West Showdown tournament on February 28th to March 2nd. Wow. What are some of the biggest benefits and challenges associated with planning this event? What keeps your league committed to organizing a tournament like this for the derby community?
We always loved the idea of a big tournament in the Puget Sound and we were all inspired by the Rust Riot hosted by one of our neighboring leagues – the Rat City Rollergirls – in 2008. It sounded like a pretty good idea so we ran with it! As corny as this may sound, the biggest benefit to us is probably the opportunity to introduce other leagues to the Kitsap County area. We love bringing in skaters and fans to check out everything we (as a community) have to offer. Also, it gives us something to brag about.
On the flipside, the challenges of running a tournament are too many to name here! For those that have done it, you know. The driving force that keeps us doing it every year is the inspiration we get from all of these visiting leagues. We love everything you all bring in and we can’t wait to do it again this year in a little more than a month!
The Wild West Showdown tournament has increasingly featured junior roller derby, and everyone is excited to see what the juniors will bring this year. What junior roller derby teams will this year’s tournament showcase? What made you decide to include the juniors at Wild West Showdown in the first place?
We love juniors. Let us say that again – WE LOVE JUNIORS! And as creepy as that may sound everywhere else, in the derby world it’s always a good thing. It sounds cliché to say that juniors are the future of roller derby, but it’s one of those statements that’s hard not to make. Around here though, they’re not the future. They are right now! If you haven’t experienced junior roller derby in the Pacific Northwest you are truly missing out. It is terrifying to watch these bouts and realize that they are so young. Most of these skaters could easily compete in adult leagues were they old enough. For this reason we’re trying to get them the same opportunities for bouts and exposure that the adults have.
This year watch out for the Northwest teams, of course. The I-5 Rollergirls are a juggernaut league that everyone will be gunning for. San Fernando Valley Junior Derby has caused quite a stir as well, and all of the local teams are excited to see what these visitors can bring to the flat track.
How does your league prepare for Wild West Showdown? What are the benefits and challenges of being both skaters and hosts at this event?
Preparing for the Wild West Showdown is an intense process. Some of the skaters dance naked during the full moon in a prayer to the derby gods… at least that’s why we tell everyone they do it. For the rest of us it takes months of planning and preparation only to end up in a panic the month before the event itself. We wouldn’t want it any other way! Although we have skated during the event in years past, we will be taking a knee this time. It is extremely hectic trying to prepare for bouts while tending to the administration tasks of a tournament this size. We love getting our bouts in, but we also love our sanity (what little of it we have). Don’t worry. There’s still a good chance you’ll be able to see SCRV skaters during some exhibition skating in the after hours.
How does your league give back to the community?
Evida Loca oversees our outreach and community involvement and has seen to it that the league is great when it comes to giving back to the community. Each bout or event like our annual Wild West Showdown has a designated charity for which we help to raise funds or collect items, such as food for our local food banks. This past December, several league members volunteered to help collect food and funding for Northwest Harvest, a state-wide hunger relief agency. Our skaters braved cold temperatures in the teens for hours to help fill the cupboards of individuals and families in crisis throughout the state of Washington. Previous charities our league has helped to benefit include: Kitsap Rescue Mission, Georgia’s House (a shelter for homeless women), the South Kitsap Helpline Food Bank, and the North Mason Food Bank to name just a few.
At this year’s Wild West Showdown, we are highlighting a charity that supports grant opportunities for the homeless in Kitsap County called the Sally Santana Fund for the Homeless. This fund was recently started by our local United Way as a way to honor a long-time homeless advocate in our community who passed away unexpectedly last year. We are excited to designate a portion of the funds raised at the 2014 WWS to this worthy cause that will help make life better for so many homeless children, adults, and senior citizens in our community. We are all proud to be a part of a league that is full of people with big hearts who always want to help however they can.
Do you have any big fundraisers coming up?
Wild West Showdown is our biggest fundraiser, so we aren't focusing on much else at the moment. We are excited for this year and can’t wait to see all the teams, officials, volunteers, and fans.
Who are some of your favorite sponsors?
We are truly blessed to have such excellent sponsors – Clearwater Casino & Resort is a Vegas style casino in the area and we enjoy the nightlife there immensely. Arena Sports Bar & Grille is our newest sponsor and they have as much love for local sports as we do. They are even dedicating one of their displays to one of our retired skaters! Last but not least – what would any Puget Sound area team be without Fast Girl Skates as a sponsor? The first brick and mortar derby store is owned and operated by skaters who know exactly what kind of gear and apparel we all need.
Do you have a special message for your fans?
Attention SCRV fans! Get ready for our funnest season yet! We understand that “funnest” may not be an actual word, but if you show up on bout day just to see us spell words correctly you will probably be disappointed. Seriously though, we want to thank each and every one of you who continue to pay your hard earned cash at the door and watch us do what we love. The energy you bring to the flat track is felt throughout the league and we appreciate it more than a cold beer after a hot bout! …still if you want to buy us a beer at the after party, that’s cool too.
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Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.