The Kansas City Roller Warriors wrap up their 11th season this weekend with a double-dose of derby: a doubleheader called Rink of Fire that will determine the best flat-track squad in the city.
The brawl begins at 5 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan., with a consolation bout between the Dreadnought Dorothys and the Knockouts. After that, the Victory Vixens take on the Black-eye Susans for the championship.
The names are a hoot ... and so is the action.
“It’s a weird sport, but it’s pretty fun to watch,” skater and spokeswoman Melody Alexander said.
Roller derby pits one team against another in an hour-long game, or bout. As the competition unfolds, the arena buzzes with whistles and penalty calls and pulses with the cheers of anxious fans.
There are two types of roller derby: banked, which takes place on a banked track, and flat-track. The KCRWs play the more common flat-track derby. Each game includes two periods and a 10-minute halftime.
Teams have five women on the track at any given time: four blockers and one jammer. The blockers form what is called the pack and travel together for most of the game. The jammer starts at the back of the pack. She scores a point by passing a player on the opposing team.
The trickiest part, Alexander said, is that “there’s offense and defense at the same time.”
The pack works to block the opposing jammer from passing and whip its own jammer through the cluster of skater. The pack runs plays as a group, but individual blockers break off, too, hip-checking other skaters to the floor.
Shouldering and shoving are legal, which makes for frequent sounds of skin slapping floor.
Tickets to tonight’s action are available online at kcrollerwarriors.com. Members of the armed services, police officers, firefighters and EMTs with proper identification can purchase tickets at a discount.