Pulling out as many stops as Saturday night’s opponent would permit, not even the most athletic move seen in the bout was enough to rally the Durango Roller Girls to victory in their 2019 home finale at Chapman Hill Ice Arena.
After taking their first lead early in the first half at 29-15 via a 14-point jam, Duke City only expanded the margin – to 70-32 at intermission, then 90-46 early in the second half after an 11-point effort, and to as great as 50 points (131-81) – en route to a 131-101 victory.
“When I switched to a jammer, there was times when I was just like, ‘Oh my goodness! How am I going to get through?’” said DRG stalwart Denae ‘Dolly Benally’ Stucka-Benally, whose apex jump between the first and second turns — a move most associated with teammate Kelsey ‘Eager Beaver’ Beaver – plus a tightrope-esque, 180-degree landing with minimal loss of speed not only reaped four points midway through the second half, but also received the fans’ greatest reaction.
“We were just looking for any opportunity we had to poke holes in their walls, to get our jammer through – either to get lead (jammer) or score some points,” said Stephanie ‘Quad-ess of Pain’ Roberts. “They were very good opponents – probably one of the stronger teams we’ve played recently. It was super physical.”
And that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing at all; fans were treated to a display of roller derby in a hyper-competitive form, in which several ‘jam’ sessions either lasted close to, or even hit the two-minute limit with no points scored by either the DRG or the visiting DoomsDames of Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Duke City Roller Derby.
“There was definitely a lot of heavy hitting, I think, compared to last bout,” said Stucka-Benally. “They had really solid walls so it was more of a push trying to get through. And our jammers could feel it, for sure.”
Unfortunately, Beaver felt it most in the end, blasted backwards onto the track and onto her helmet, in this case – by a foe with ‘Killer Queen’ spelled out on her shirt’s reverse, while attempting to squeeze through a small gap to the blocking pack’s inside.
“Yeah, it took me a little while to get up from that one,” said Beaver, who ended the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association clash needing to rack up 42 points in the final – barring penalty – jam just to pull the Roller Girls level with the Dames’ 131. Able to gradually lap the field three times, earning a dozen slow-brewed points, Beaver ultimately called off the session herself with regulation time having expired and the jam clock showing less than 60 ticks remaining.
“Even the score, with what it was, it could have turned around in one or two jams or power-jams,” Roberts said. “At any time the lead could have switched; you just keep your head down and play every time like you have a chance to win. We were borrowing some skaters from some other leagues. So for us to not have all skated together all season I really think we pulled it together. And really put on a good event.”
Calling all prospectsFor all interested parties, whether skaters and/or volunteers, the Durango Roller Girls will be holding a ‘Derby 101’ introduction to the sport Monday night, Sept. 16, at Chapman Hill from 6:45 to 9:30 p.m.
Did you know?Part of the international-caliber Team Indigenous as well as the DRG, Stucka-Benally will be among those competing at the 2019 International WFTDA Championships, Nov. 15-17 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.