My 2016 Tournament Rundown, plus Bonus 2015 Additions!

I have long considered doing tournament rundowns, just sort of my take on the events I go to. If this is a tournament I’ve been to more than once, I’ll note it. I’m adding external links, but you can also find most, if not all, of these events on Facebook. We’re going chronologically through the year, I’m trying to stick to tournaments I know are repeated (and this list is not exhaustive), and keep the details easy to digest.

If you are interested in adding your experiences, I can consider an addendum with your guest spot and attribution. Just follow my detail listing and send it over to julia.sleazer at the gmails.

Wild West Showdown: Bremerton, WA
Time: Late February-Early March Host: ? First Year: 2010
Length: 3 Days Type: WFTDA, MRDA (when available), JRDA
Wild West Showdown
Intro: I’ve been to WWS twice now, 2015 and 2016. This is a pretty neat tournament held at Kitsap Sun Pavilion in Bremerton, WA.
Tracks: There are two tracks going all the time.
All gender restrooms: Cannot recall.
Vendors: there are vendors for skate gear, clothing, and tournament merch.
Teams: I cannot recall the number of teams from 2015 (and don’t have my program here), but in 2016 there were 6 WFTDA, 6 JRDA Open, and 6 JRDA Women’s teams. I will note that in 2015, there were MRDA teams and there was supposed to be again, but it did not happen.
Live stats for announcers: No.
Venue details: The venue has polished concrete floors, bleacher seating along the long wall with additional seating trackside, and the announcers are on a stage that faces turns 3-4. 2015 featured in house only, while 2016 broadened their reach with hybrid streaming.

Skate to Thrill: St. Charles, MO
Time: Spring Host: St Chux Derby Chix First Year: 2014
Length: 2 Days Type: WFTDA Recognized Event
Skate to Thrill
Intro: I was at the first two Skate to Thrills (NSO 2014, announcer 2015), and it was so exciting! A D1/D2 invitational in the Midwest? Yes!
Tracks: This is a single-tracked invitational, initially hosted in Wright City, MO and moved to SCDC’s main venue, Matteson Square Gardens, in 2015.
All gender restrooms: Cannot recall.
Vendors: there are generally local vendors, as there are a lot of great derby-based companies in the area, as well as equipment and clothing vendors and tournament merch.
Teams: A WFTDA-recognized event, it boasts 8 teams from various parts of the country, some really excellent local vendors, and is an all around good time.
Live stats for announcers: No.
Venue details: The venue (as I recall) has sport court floor, removable bleacher and chair seating, and announcers in 2015 were positioned around turn 4. 2014-2016 has featured in house only, but I feel like this tournament has a lot of promise and wouldn’t be surprised if they move to hybrid or independent stream in the future.

Big O: Eugene, OR
Time: Early May Host: Emerald City Roller Girls First Year: 2008
Length: 3 Days Type: WFTDA Recognized Event, MRDA, JRDA
Big O
Intro: I’ve been to Big O twice, also and this event absolutely stunned me the first time I went. With the size and success of this event attracting more international leagues and leagues further from the West Coast/PNW, I can only imagine 2017 is going to be mind-blowing.
Tracks: Located at the Lane County Events Center, the venue holds three tracks! There’s even plenty of space in between!
All gender restrooms: Yes.
Vendors: The vendors… oooohhhhhh the vendors! There are so many vendors and you can buy anything from league or event merchandise to kitty cat shaped handbags to skates. Everything in between is there, too, trust me. There’s also a nice area between tracks 1 and 2 to buy coffee and pastries, sit at tables, or watch the live stream on a TV. It’s really an amazing venue.
Teams: In 2015, there was 17 WFTDA teams (not counting additional B-teams), 10 MRDA teams, and 7 JRDA teams. 2016 featured 17 WFTDA teams (plus 4 B-teams), 9 MRDA teams, and 5 JRDA teams. 2 WFTDA teams were from Europe (Helsinki Roller Girls from Finland and Auld Reekie Roller Girls from Scotland), and 1 from Australia (Victorian Roller Derby League). The remainder of the WFTDA, as well as MRDA and JRDA teams (though the latter is more West Coast) hail from throughout the country.
Live stats for announcers: No.
Venue details: The venue is sport court floor, removable bleacher seating, and announcers are on a stage that faces turns 3-4. In 2015, two tracks had independent house and stream, with the third track as hybrid. In 2016, track 1 had independent house and stream, with 2 and 3 on hybrid. Two games from track 1 were featured live on ESPN 3 (which kept them off the normal stream).

Guest Addition: Holly Sheet for 2015 rundown; additional information on teams for 2015/2016 provided by Sleazer Googling

Flat Track Fever: Calgary, AB, Canada 
Time: May Host: Chinook City Roller Derby First Year: 2012
Length: 3 days Type: WFTDA, MRDA, JRDA exhibitions, and “drop-in” scrimmages
Flat Track Fever
Intro: 2015: The league have since hosted the MRDWC, and as such may have an advantage in preparation for announcers, equipment and set-up of venue logistics. Announcers were provided with NSO rosters prior to games, no pronouns in 2015, but teams were happy to talk to regarding pronunciation and pronouns. Well looked after, with food and drinks refreshments catered in the officials and volunteers separate room.
Tracks: Two tracks located at the Acadia Recreation Center (further description of venue/tracks)
All gender restrooms: Yes.
Vendors: there is a “vendor village.”
Teams: 2015: 10 WFTDA, 3 MRDA; 2016: 8 WFTDA, no MRDA
Live stats for announcers: ?
Venue Details: 2015: Track 1 was hybrid feed and in-house, which didn’t give the best audio quality, but with it being a larger hall allowed better connection to the audience. Track 2 was in-house only, set up at the far end of a hockey rink, so difficult to maintain energy and contact with the audience who were outside of the barriers.

Mayhem: Loveland, CO
Time: Spring Host: Slaughterhouse Derby Girls First Year: 2011
Length: 3 Days Type: WFTDA, MRDA, JRDA
Mayhem on Facebook
Intro: Formerly known as “Mayday Mayhem,” this tournament moved to June in 2016 and dropped the first part. I went to Mayhem in 2014 and 2015 and thought it was wonderfully produced.
Tracks: Hosted at The Ranch starting in 2014, they have two tracks going simultaneously and a great array of WFTDA, MRDA, and JRDA teams.
All gender restrooms: Cannot recall.
Vendors: there are vendors for skate gear, clothing, and tournament merch.
Teams: In 2014, there were 12 WFTDA, 7 MRDA, and a few JRDA teams (I believe 2). In 2015, 14 WFTDA, 3 MRDA, and 4 JRDA teams. In 2016, 16 WFTDA, 6 MRDA teams, and I believe there was not a JRDA presence, but feel free to correct me (I do not see them on the schedule or FTS). Several international teams have come to this tournament, including (but not limited to) Paradise City (QLD, Australia), Leeds (UK), Winnipeg (MB, Canada), Royal City Roller Girls (ON, Canada), Glenmore Reservoir Dogs (AB, Canada), and Nidaros (Trondheim, Norway). Aside from the excellent international representation Mayhem has had over the years, the WFTDA and MRDA teams hail from all parts of the United States, so you can see some match ups here that you may not otherwise.
Live stats for announcers: Live stats are possible if you partner up with someone who will use Boom Kitty’s RollerStats from elsewhere (presumable around turn 4) to relay certain information to you.
Venue details: The venue floor is polished concrete, removable seating, with announcers positioned on a stage on track 1 at turn 1 and a table on track 2 at turn 1. Both tracks feature independent house and stream.

Men’s Roller Derby World Cup: Location Varies
Time: Varies within the Spring-Summer Host: Varies First Year: 2014
Length: 4 Days (as of 2016) Type: MRDA (regulation)
Intro: My first tournament as an announcer was MRDWC 2014 in Birmingham, England. It was also the first international trip I had taken to the First World, so it was exciting all around. 🙂 Something I love about this tournament is that you can see teams quickly pick up strategy during play and adapt on the spot to meet their opponents. In 2014, this was best shown by Ninjapan, who have lightning fast adaptation abilities. Another thing you can expect to see here is international comradery, even between the lowest and highest seeds. The energy is intense and very positive.
In 2014, it was a 3 day event, which turned into a 4 day event in 2016. The first day of 2014 and first 2 days of 2016 kicked off with 30-minute seed games for the pairings. During those games, the clock doesn’t stop for injuries, team time outs, or official time outs. Each team gets one time out for the 30 minute period and no reviews. A great display of this happened in 2014, when a young man was injured early in a game and the remainder of the clock counted down while everyone awaited medical attention, as the EMTs deemed it unsafe to move him from the track without outside medical assistance. They really do mean 30 minutes. After all the seeding is finished, normal lengths of play with regular clock-stopping events resumes for the rest of the tournament.
Tracks: So far, each MRDWC has had two simultaneous tracks with staggered times.
All gender restrooms: Yes.
Vendors: there are vendors for skate gear, clothing, and tournament merch, as well as international team merch (some of which sells out very quickly, so hurry!). 2016 had an on-site heat press, so you could customize your gear.
Teams: In 2014, there were 15 teams competing. In 2016, the number increased to 20.
Live stats for announcers: No.
Venue details vary by year: Initially held at @Futsal in the UK, a short rundown of that venue, in case you find yourself there, is: futsal grade sport court flooring (it’s not terribly different than the sport court you’re used to, but I wanted to point out it is not the same type), removable bleacher seating, and announcers positioned either standing (house) or at a table (stream) facing turns 1-2.
2016 was hosted at Acadia Recreational Complex in Calgary, AB. One rink is hockey and the other curling. Both feature polished concrete flooring. Track one has bleachers behind hockey protective plexiglass, chair seating near turns 2-3, and a lot of people found standing room near turn 4. Announcers were positoned at a table (house) or dais (stream) facing turn 4. Track two has removable bleacher seating and the announcers are at a table (house) or on a stage (stream) facing turn 4. The biggest difference I felt between the two tracks (I was track manager of track 2, so I spent most of my time there) was that the curling rink (track 2) seemed to heat up quickly and Calgary can be quite balmy. Also, if you were an announcer or seated NSO trying to get to your area, track 2 gave a straight shot with not problems, while at track 1 you might have to take a long route around the hockey protective walls. Both 2014 and 2016 featured independent house and stream calls.

Rust Riot: Shoreline, WA
Time: August Host: Rat City Roller Girls First Year: 2008, discontinued until 2015
Length: 2 Days Type: WFTDA, MRDA (when available)
Rust Riot
Intro: Rust Riot had a few years gap before it came back in 2015, but it is a small tournament held at Rat City Roller Girls venue, the Rat’s Nest. It’s a small round-robin style tournament, but still very fun.
Tracks: The venue is single-track.
All gender restrooms: The signs on the doors are not gendered. One shows toilets, and the other shows urinals, so the choice is yours (I’m under the impression the one with urinals likely has toilets as well).
Vendors: mostly team and tournament merch, with some equipment mixed in.
Teams: In 2015, it was set as a B-team tournament, featuring Rat City, Windy City, Philly, and Denver. They also had one MRDA bout of Puget Sound Outcasts v Vancouver Murder. In 2016, they added in A teams, and the combined line up includes Rat City Roller Girls: All Stars, Rat City Roller Girls: Rain of Terror, Terminal City: All Stars, Terminal City: B-Side, Rose City: Axles of Annihilation, Montreal: Sexpos and Rocky Mountain: Contenders.
Live stats for announcers: No.
Venue details: The venue has sport court flooring, removable bleacher and chair seating, and announcers are on a stage facing turns 3-4. 2015 featured in house only, but 2016 made use of hybrid for most calls, with one independent house and stream call for the RCRG v TC All Stars game. RCRG has been doing a great deal of streaming this year, and I imagine that will continue into 2017 (shout out to Mod and the volunteers that make this happen).

MRDA Championships: Location Varies
Time: October Host: Varies (2016 is Texas Men’s Roller Derby) First Year: 2011
Length: 2 Days Type: MRDA
Intro: My very first tournament ever was NSOing Gateway to the Best: MRDA Championships 2012, hosted by the St. Louis Gatekeepers. It was my second year in derby, and when I really began to get into men’s roller derby. This event will always be special to me. My past experience with MRDA Championships (2 as NSO, 2 as announcer) has been great. I look forward to this one every year!
Tracks: This has so far been a single track event.
All gender restrooms: Varies by year.
Vendors: There aren’t usually a huge number of vendors, but you can find just about any skate gear you’d like. Grnmnstr always has a booth, and you will generally also find Atom, Mota, etc. there, as well. There will always be at least one vendor for derby clothes, sometimes there’s an on-the-spot-press to put your name on your shirts, and the teams have booths, as well. Some of them (I remember at least 2012 and 2015) have an on-site heat press to customize your gear.
Teams: A rundown of the team count over time (it should be the top 10, but variances happen because of travel, etc.): 2011- 6; 2012- 8; 2013- 8; 2014- 8; 2015- 10; 2016- TBA. Since 2014, this event has become international, with the inclusion of London’s Southern Discomfort Roller Derby.
Live stats for announcers: MRDA Champs has used Rinxter every time I have attended (4/5 times).
Venue details vary by year: In 2015, the Gatekeepers hosted again at the Midwest Sport and Hockey Complex of Balwin, MO. A short rundown on that venue for the curious: sport court flooring, bleacher seating behind hockey protective plexiglass, independent house and stream announcing with announcers positioned on a stage facing turns 1-2. A note to skaters about this venue: the penalty box chairs will snap shut like something out of Harry Potter if you sit with too much force, which may erroneously look like you’ve come in too hot. Slow down early. The four I have attended have had independent house and stream. Floor, etc. varies by venue, clearly, so I will update after Lonestar Showdown.

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