Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Nailbiting Action at Sold-Out Season Opener

Houston Roller Derby promised exciting flat-track thrills at its season opener bout, and the league delivered with an intense four-point Brawlers win against the Bayou City Bosses coupled with a blowout victory for the Psych Ward Sirens against Baton Rouge, La.'s Red Stick Roller Derby All-Stars team.

The Sirens played first for the sell-out crowd that filled Kick's Indoor Soccer and Gym on Saturday night. The team established a 26:7 lead against Red Stick by the end of the fourth jam thanks to high scoring jammers Jekyll and Heidi and Mistilla The Killa. Red Stick struggled, unable to keep top jammers Wicket Sweet, BrandAid and Mistilla from scoring for the rest of the first half, which ended at 128:19 in the home team's favor.

According to Examiner reporter Phil Arnold, Red Stick tied the Sirens in the first jam of the second half, and took a 4-2 score in the second jam with Tricky La Rouge jamming. Tricky La Rouge gained a 3-0 score in a later jam, and Zarathrustya narrowed the point deficit further with a 5-0 jam. Turbo Tyke performed the highest-scoring jam of the night for Red Stick with seven points. But the Louisiana team's efforts were not enough to close in on the Sirens' more-than 100 point lead, which grew steadily throughout the second half. The final score ended with the Sirens winning 205 to 51.

The Sirens bout included impressive jamming by rookie Wicked Sweet, who garnered 36 points for her team throughout the game against Red Stick. This season, the Sirens retained the highest number of veteran skaters in comparison to the other two Houston home teams, adding five new skaters to their team roster.

Home teams The Brawlers and The Bayou City Bosses took the track next for what would become an intensely close game that had fans of both teams on the edges of their seats. A four-point jam by Speed-O and a five-point jam by Miss Lead, both Brawlers, contributed to the team securing a 22-6 lead against the Bosses by the end of the ninth jam. The Bosses countered with an 8-0 jam by Baby Face Assassin and a 9-0 jam by Bobituary, giving the team a slim lead over the Brawlers at 27-25.

The score see-sawed yet again as high scoring from Speed-O and Miss Lead brought them the lead at 37-27. A handful of impressive jams by Bobituary and Baby Face Assassin brought points to the Bosses and none to the Brawlers, helping the Bosses scratch their way back to the top at 49:38. Brawlers jammer Tammityville Horror narrowed that lead with a nine-point jam, leaving Bosses a slim lead at 49:47 at the end of the first half.

The two teams continued to edge up on each other throughout the second half of the game, with the Bosses holding onto their lead until a 10-8 jam by The Prosecutor of The Brawlers tipped things to their favor at 64:63. As Bobituary of the Bosses and Miss Lead of the Brawlers traded high-scoring jams, the teams tied at 77:77 by the end of the 12th jam. A 4-0 jam by Speed-O gave a momentary lead to the Brawlers, only to be erased by Bosses jammer Beverly Kills' subsequent 9-3 jam, leaving the teams tied yet again at 90 points each. In the following three jams, the Brawlers climbed their way to a 95:91 lead.

With only eight seconds left in the bout, Bosses Captain Rebel Ann called a timeout to ensure one more jam. Beverly Kills and Speed-O lined up against each other. As Bosses jammer Beverly Kills was sent to the box for a major penalty, Speed-O achieved lead jammer status for the Brawlers following a difficult first pass through the pack, and ended the jam without scoring in order to maintain her team's four-point lead and win at 95:91.

In addition to providing some close-scoring flat track derby intensity, the home team bout also provided a surprise when rookie Bosses jammer Cynder Hell Yeah got lead jammer status in opposition to veteran jammer and crowd favorite Speed-O. Speed-O overtook Cynder during their first lap out of the pack, prompting her to call the jam off before either could score any points. Cynder is one of seven rookie skaters to be added to the Bosses this season. The Brawlers have six new skaters on their team roster.

Friday, March 19, 2010

HRD Featured on CW39 5 p.m. News


Online ticket sales are now closed. Buy your tickets at Kick's Indoor Soccer and Gym, located at 611 N. Shepherd Drive in The Heights, tomorrow! Doors open at 6 p.m.!

Bout Afterparty at Big Star Bar in the Heights

You know how the ending of “Fight Club” is so explosive, literally and figuratively, that it just makes you want more? Watching all of those skyscrapers implode while The Pixies song “Where is My Mind” wails in the background is not the kind of experience that gets you ready for a nap; you’re even more pumped than you were when Edward Norton was wiping the floor with Jared Leto’s face.

That’s what it feels like to watch the end of a Houston Roller Derby bout. You’ve watched intense, hard-hitting flat track action for the past few hours and have seen more than a handful of your favorite derby skaters peel themselves up off the floor. You can’t just swallow all that pent-up energy – not unless it’s chased by a beer, that is.

Enter: the afterparty. The season opener bout on Saturday (3/20) will be followed by hearty food, strong drinks and obligatory carousing at Big Star Bar (1005 W. 19th) in the Heights, a place that has quickly and quietly become “the place to be” among downtown Houston locals. In this story, Houston Press reporter Shea Serrano said that Big Star's vibe radiates a studiously unkempt indifference, “a logical conclusion given its decor, locale and crowd.”

What originally sold me on Big Star was this quote from a regular who was interviewed by Serrano: “We have only one rule. Don’t be a douche. We hate douche-y bars and douchiness in general. This is not a douche-y place.” Duly noted! Put down the Summer’s Eve and visit their website here.

To sweeten the pot, Houston StrEATs will also be on hand to make sure you don’t party on an empty stomach. Co-founder and chef Jason Hill, known as Big Sexy to the roller derby crowd, said the menu will include monte cristo balls with local strawberry jam, Texas frito pie and bacon-wrapped hot dogs with kim chi relish, among other delectable treats.

Chefs and co-founders Hill (formerly of Café Brasil and Gravitas), Jason Gould (also of Gravitas) and Matt Opaleski (formerly of Aries) started the company in June 2009 and are working on making StrEATs into a chef-driven food truck business to provide gourmet lunch offerings at ever-changing locales inside the loop. Until that day, they’re providing catering services to get their name out there. Food sales will be cash only. Visit their Facebook page here.

Have you bought your bout tickets yet? Tickets are still available at the advance $12 price until 5 p.m. today at www.houstonrollerderby.com.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

In the News

The Houston Chronicle posted this story about the Houston Roller Derby's season opener bout today. Houston Community Newspapers' Greater Houston Weekly edition published this story earlier this week.

A reporter from The Houston Chronicle blog 29-95 is also currently working a story on many of our skaters' impressive tattoos. Look for more media coverage of HRD and the bout in the weeks to come.

HRD Goes to the Dogs

Houston Roller Derby chose Friends of Moose to be the official charity of the 2010 season opener bout. The unique nonprofit accepts donations in order to assist pet owners who cannot afford expensive emergency veterinarian examinations or treatments.

Gwen Flager founded the charity in honor of Moose, pictured at left, who was euthanized days after being diagnosed with a painful cancer that had severely damaged the blood vessels surrounding his heart.

"To arrive at this diagnosis and monitor Moose's response to emergency treatment was expensive," Flager states in the nonprofit's mission statement. "What happens to the animals whose owners don't have the money to pay for emergency consultation? What happens when the treatment becomes too expensive? I wondered what I could do to help."

Now, thanks to Flager's vision, those who cannot afford expensive veterinary treatments in the greater Houston area can get assistance from Friends of Moose.

Houston Roller Derby skaters LOVE their pets! Just to name a few, Carmen Geddit of the Pysch Ward Sirens has two adorable dachshunds named Rockett and Bullett, pictured
at right. Bobituary of the Bayou City Bosses has a cute rescue mutt named Waylon, and Sexy Sniper of the Brawlers has a handsome boxer mix named Zorro. Since we all know what it's like to fall in puppy love, we're donating a portion of the proceeds from Saturday's bout to Friends of Moose.

To donate or get more information, visit www.friendsofmoose.org.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The American Heist Playing Season Opener Halftime

Local Houston punk band The American Heist will play a set during half time at Houston Roller Derby's season opener bout this Saturday. In a review for the Houston Press, Rocks Off blogger Craig Hlavaty described their sound as "booze-fueled Springsteen-esque street-punk" that reminds the listener of Mike Ness, Rancid and Hot Water Music. You can check out their sound yourself on their MySpace page.

Buy your bout tickets today at www.houstonrollerderby.com or from any skater! Tickets cost $12 in advance or $15 at the door.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Come Hang With Us

Wondering what your favorite derby skater has on her mind ahead of this weekend's bout? Find out tonight at Derby Tuesday, Houston Roller Derby's bout pre-party! Merchandise to wear to the bout and advance tickets will be available for purchase. Don't miss out!

Season Opener this Saturday!

(Click image to see a larger version)

The season opener bout for 2010 is this Saturday March 20. Do you have your ticket yet?

Houston Roller Derby 2010 Season Promises Thrills, Competitive Action

HOUSTON – Houston Roller Derby has been training diligently to prepare for an electrifying fifth season, which will officially start March 20 with the league’s season opener bout.
“The 2010 season is going to be exciting,” said Carmen Geddit, HaRD Knocks travel team captain and member of home team The Psych Ward Sirens. “All three home teams are working hard and there will be some amazing competition on the track.”
The Red Stick Roller Derby’s All-Stars travel team from Baton Rouge, La. will travel to Houston to play the Psych Ward Sirens at the season opener bout. Sirens Captain Mistilla the Killa said she is confident of her team’s ability to win against Red Stick.
“The Sirens roster boasts the highest number of veteran skaters that excel at all elements of the game,” she said. “This team is known for their speed, agility, and an uncanny ability to make their way through the smallest of holes in a pack.”
The bout will start at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m. at Kick’s, 611 N. Shepherd in the Heights neighborhood of Houston and will also feature a match-up between HRD home teams The Bayou City Bosses and The Brawlers.
“The Bosses are looking forward to a new season of fun and knocking ladies on their asses,” said Bayou City Bosses Captain Rebel Ann. The Bosses were named 2009 League Champions last year after a nail-biting season-closer game against the Sirens.
After missing out on a spot in the championship competition last year, The Brawlers have undertaken some tough training during the off-season, said Miss Lead, Co-Captain.
“When training gets tough we tell our skaters ‘we’ll suffer now and we’ll live the rest of the season as winners,’” she said.
After more than 20 skaters retired at the end of the 2009 season, HRD has recruited and trained 23 talented rookies to fill its ranks.
“Unfortunately, our league did lose some seasoned vets, but we gained some amazing rookies who our fans will fall in love with,” Geddit said.
Three promising new skaters, Sexy Sniper, Dutch Destroyer and Cynder Hellyeah, were drafted to the HaRD Knocks team this season. HaRD Knocks also added returning skaters Beverly Kills and The Prosecutor, who came out of retirement this season.
Another change this season is the bout format. HRD has adjusted the scheduling so that each game will be played straight through to its completion, as opposed to alternating the first and second halves of both games. The new format will keep the adrenaline thrill at its maximum level as fans follow their favorite team’s game directly from start to finish.
There’s a lot to look forward to for the league’s fifth season. HRD has scheduled out-of-town teams to come play at every single home bout, meaning that roller derby fans will get treated to highly competitive flat-track action at every game.
“After four seasons HRD has proven to work together flawlessly for the good of the league,” said Mistilla the Killa, who is also a member of the HaRD Knocks team. “We’ve worked on teamwork and communication that produces a dense, intimidating pack, combined with aggressive, nimble jammers. History undeniably favors that HRD is an incredible matchup for any league in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA).”
As a relatively new sport following its resurgence in the late 1990s, roller derby has evolved from season to season, becoming more competitive and athletic as its skaters further hone their skills and develop new strategies.
“It's not a T&A show on wheels,” said Corbin Cojones, the league’s head referee. “These women are real, strong, athletic, and revolutionary. It is worth people's time because they are supporting sports in the truest sense - not the sports organization, but the players themselves. It is a truly grass roots event.”
Since organizing in 2005, Houston Roller Derby has grown into a league of 50 skaters that sells more than 1,000 tickets for each bout. HRD is one of 78 member leagues that make up the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. HRD is ranked third in the WFTDA Southwest Region and was one of the top 12 teams in the nation to compete at the WFTDA national championships in November 2009.
Tickets cost $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Visit www.houstonrollerderby.com.
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