ANCHORAGE, AK — In front of a sold-out crowd of more than 1,000 fans (shhhh, donâ€™t tell the fire marshal!), womenâ€™s flat-track roller derby made a smashing Alaska debut on a warm Saturday night at the Cellular One Sports Center in Anchorage.
The Rage City Rollergirls, Alaskaâ€™s premier flat track league playing by WFTDA rules, hosted their inaugural â€œRollinâ€™ Out Boutâ€ between the Sockeye Sallys and the Black Ice Brawlers on May 17, to the ear-splitting cheers of a raucous, electrified capacity crowd. The bout pulled in an audience from near and far, including fans from Fairbanks, Soldotna and even as far away as Spokane, WA.
Saturday’s 60-minute event was a rousing success by any measure. The Brawlers jumped to an early lead on the first two jams, but the Sallys quickly struck back. Boosted by an early double grand-slam jam by Twelve Gage, the Sallys took a 45-33 lead into halftime. In the second half, the intensity picked up and points became harder to come by as both teams dug deep for the win. The teams waged a see-saw battle for twenty minutes, until Hit Her Harter led the Brawlers within five points of the Sallys on a pair of expertly-played lead jams.
The final ten minutes were tense and tough, with the pace quickening, the hits coming harder, and the bodies hitting the floor with abandon. Fixated on the track, the crowdâ€™s cheers ebbed and flowed with the action, with everyone aware that every point was crucial to the final outcome.
With just under two minutes on the clock, the teams lined up for what would be the final jam of the night. The Sallys, having led since early in the first half, were clinging to a 3-point lead. AK Cupcake lined up for the Sallys against Killa Magilla for the Brawlers as the arena held its collective breath. Determined blockers held strong as both jammers struggled mightily to fight their way through. As the clock ticked down, Killa Magilla finally broke out for the go-ahead points as the crowd erupted. The final score was Brawlers 92, Sallys 89. In the spirit of derby, both teams took a victory lap hand in hand, soaking in the love from the satisfied fans.
The bout was a success in the local media as well as in the venue, receiving pre-bout coverage on all three local TV outlets, the weekly and daily papers, and radio. The dominant local TV station, Channel 2, did extensive bout coverage under the sports beat.
Action was brilliantly announced by Max Power and ably refereed by The Constable, The Penalizer, Terra Bitchup, Derby Dad and Mr. Furious. The Gypsy Underground wowed the crowd with belly dancing at halftime, and the kickinâ€™ after-party music was delivered by Evil Ted and the Thick Pink Antiseptic, Sargasm, and Dirty Thirty, with DJâ€™s Timmy A. and Wrick Luv.
Rage City’s first season is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2008 — you can keep up with Rage City at www.ragecityrollergirls.org.
Photo: Matt Gilman