2014 MRDA Champs: #4 Puget Sound Outcast Derby

You cannot ignore Puget Sound Outcast Derby. Mostly because their uniforms demand your attention, but also because that jersey is probably going by you at Mock 5.


The Outcasts are a team of World Class level roller sport athletes that have come together for the love of derby. Ball and cane, speed skating, hockey, artistic, aggressive inline, downhill racing – these are all the sports (and I may have missed some) that the men of Puget Sound have competed in. When you watch them play, you can’t help but notice their sheer skating talent and balance; they do not fall. They are hard to push out of bounds. They are hard to out skate.

Puget 5

The longest-establish West Coast men’s derby team, Puget Sound is no stranger to the Championship tournament. They have qualified for Champs each year (and even finished #2 in 2011 against New York Shock Exchange), and plan on making a rise above their #4 seeding by the end of this weekend. As host of the tournament, Puget Sound seems to be trembling with excitement to show the world that they have been focusing on their weaknesses and developing game plans for each opponent they face.

Puget 1

In the past, Puget has seemed to rely on their straight-up talent to win their bouts. They are so much fun to watch, but when I have seen them play (Mohawk Valley Cup in 2013 and then streaming at Champs), I have noticed a ‘superstar’ style of play. They have relied less on walls and tightly-bound defense, and more on big, driving hits, pulling cut tracks, quick bursts of speed, and out-skating the opposition in the past. To continue to dominate, Puget knows they must shift into a team-based style of play.

Puget 4

Scott Slamilton’s artistic background make him nearly impossible to capture. Blockers like Bonus Jonas and Dilly Dally are small and unassuming to look at, but their agility on wheels only enhances their ability to pop into larger opponents to stop or redirect an opponent’s momentum. (small blockers – watch these two this weekend. Take notes. Learn things.) With such a variety of sizes on the bench, Puget can really tailor their lines to take on individual jammers to play to strengths. Need pure power and size? Put out Big Bill and Radiallac. Need stronger walls and communication? Put out Quadzilla, Low Rider, and Thunderstruck. If you need blockers who can chase and re-capture a wiley jammer, you put out Cory Pain and Chuck Hendrick.

Puget 2

In the first round of play this weekend, Puget Sound gets to face their little brother, Bridgetown Menace. Bridgetown has been steadily closing the point gap between PSOD and themselves each time they play. Puget needs to focus on communication and containment against Menace if they want to continue their winning streak. Both teams are very fast and very sharp, neither waste energy in their hits or skating. No more can Puget rely on being a team of simply more talented skaters. Menace is coming in with a point to prove, and Puget Sound has an opportunity to show that they have learned from their past match-ups. Puget has a chance to finally solidify being a collective team of insanely talented skaters that know how to read each other and trust each other. Puget has a chance to show the world that they are here not just to play. They have a chance, and a desire to walk away as the host of the Championship tournament where they will leave with more gold around their neck than just what is on their uniform.

Puget 3

Check out Puget Sound’s Facebook for updates and awesomeness. Thank you, Eric Lyons for use of ALL the photos in the article. Tune into WFTDA.tv at 3p PST to watch Puget Sound work their fancy feet magic against Bridgetown Menace.

2014 MRDA Champs Preview: #5 Bridgetown Menace

You know your quiet friend? That one that hangs out, but doesn’t say too much, but just when you start wondering why they haven’t spoken they say something hilarious that reminds you why you are friends. Weird comparison maybe, but this is how I feel about Bridgetown Menace. You’re never sure what they’ve been up to, or if they’ll be able to handle the bout you’re about to watch. And then when they step onto the track, you’re reminded: “Holy sh*t, these guys don’t f**k around.” I also think, “Wow. Look at those beards.”


I first saw Bridgetown play at Spring Roll 2013, and fell in love with their hard hitting style of smash ‘em up roller derby. Every Menace player skates like they’re 6’2” and 220 pounds of pure muscle and agility. They made a very good showing at Champs last year, muscling through opponents and letting Shreddy Mercury dance around the opposition. You could tell their wall work needed some time, and that there were some overall trust issues on the floor that did not play to their advantage against Puget in the 5th place game.

Unleashing the power of the beards. Photo by Brangwyn Jones.
Unleashing the power of the beards.
Photo by Brangwyn Jones.

Fast forward to RollerCon.

I was super stoked to see Bridgetown play live again. I am a fan, it’s absolutely true. Cozmo Damage is a monster blocker who always seems to be one step ahead of the jammer, Juke Blocks Hero is a force of reckoning in a pack, and Don Juan the Devaskater is just pure fun to watch with his power-jam skating maneuvers (he and No Big Deal of Maelstrom have a very similar strength-jam style).

What I had noticed in their bouts against the GateKeepers and NYSE is that their teamwork and trust has increased unbelievably since the last time I saw them play. They always had good teamwork, but they actually seemed to move as one unit in their fluid diamonds. Also, I was reminded of HOW HARD AND FAST AND SHARP every skater on the team is. Her-man Munster said of Menace’s experience at RC:

Having a packed audience of people who are all derby literate is the best live experience you could ask for. It’s awesome knowing that the RC volunteers are turning people away at the door because they can’t fit any more people in that room. It was a good thing for men’s derby because so many people got to witness some really competitive match ups. It was a good opportunity for people who might not normally watch men’s bouts to see how great it can be at a high level.  Playing against the #2 and #3 teams as the #6 team is a win-win situation. We have nothing to lose there, and get a chance to see where we fall against the best teams. It’s a bonus that we get to play against people that we like. It was great to feel where we excelled and nice to have St Louis exploit a weakness with a couple months to fix it. The timing of those competitive bouts were invaluable in preparing for Champs.

Putting on the defense at RollerCon. Photo by Brangwyn Jones
Putting on the defense at RollerCon. Photo by Brangwyn Jones

For me. jammer Elysium made a huge impression with his maneuverability and endurance in both bouts. He was able to crack walls and twist around the super-strength of the GateKeepers. Rob Lobster, who had only recently returned to derby, looked like he hadn’t been out on injury at all (much less something draining like chemotherapy). His non-verbal communication and trust in his teammates meant that when a wall had him in it, the opposing jammers had to work much harder. Side note: Rob’s actually receiving chemo treatment THIS WEEK, and will still play at Champs this weekend. For more info on all of that, please go and join the #TeamLobster Facebook group and then visit Left Turn Clothing to order Team Lobster shirts.

Cosmo Damage makes himself even bigger to stop NYSE. Photo by Brangwyn Jones.
Cosmo Damage makes himself even bigger to stop NYSE. Photo by Brangwyn Jones.

The first round of Championships finds Bridgetown facing an old friend: Puget Sound Outcast Derby. Like NYSE and Maelstrom on the east coast, Menace and the Outcasts have found themselves toeing up several times a season for a few years. This year these two met at the Big O and at the Rat’s Nest, after having finished the season 2013 in the battle for 5th place at MRDA Championships.

So far, the Outcasts have come out victorious in each battle, but their margin of win is diminishing. At champs in Sioux City, Menace lost by 35 points. At the Big O, they lost by 21 points. At the Rat’s Nest in August, Menace lost by TWO POINTS.

Bendy Jamming. Photo by Brangwyn Jones.
Bendy Jamming.
Photo by Brangwyn Jones.

Bridgetown Menace is hungry. Many of their skaters have only been playing derby for two or three years, so each time they come out to play, they learn more about themselves and their teammates. Each time they face off against a stronger opponent, they leave the other team gasping for air and showing off new bruises. This time at Champs, we could see the little brother finally win. For new fans of men’s derby, or if you haven’t seen the team play before, Munster says there are some you should look out for:

Shreddy Mercury is the first. He’s absolutely one of the best jammers in Roller Derby. I believe Cozmo Damage has elevated to an all-American blocking level. He has some of the best blocking technique in men’s derby. Sam Miller of course is always so fun to watch. He has a style unlike anybody else, and makes our team very dynamic.Some other fan favorites are Juke Blocks Hero and Demolition Man. So much charisma there. However, the real star of our team is our teamwork. If there is any reason to be a fan of Menace, it is the way we play together. I think we have the strongest team-play among the top teams.

Cozmo Damage. Photo by Masonite Burn.
Cozmo Damage. Photo by Masonite Burn.

Check out the Bridgetown Menace facebook to keep up to date with them, and to request to buy some of the merch that they are (apparently) going to be selling hella cheap this weekend at Champs!! If you’re not going to be at the Tacoma Armory for the event, make sure you tune into WFTDA.tv at 3p PST to watch the epic battle between Bridgetown and Puget Sound!

Thank you to photographers Brangwyn Jones, Masonite Burn Photography, and Shutter Up – Joel Glitner Photography for the photos used in this blog! And thank you Her-Man Munster for sending me some gem photos (Cozmo, Shreddy – you have him to blame.)

Shreddy Mercury doing his best Flipper Impression. Thank you, Shutter Up Photography
Shreddy Mercury doing his best Flipper Impression. Thank you, Shutter Up Photography

MRDA Champs 2014 Preview: #8 Denton County Outlaws

It’s almost here: The 2014 MRDA Championships. This week, skaters, officials, announcers, and fans will descend Tacoma, Washington for Maritime Mayhem, hosted by Puget Sound Outcast Derby. I figured that I should do a preview of the teams, like last year, to get us all amped up about the tournament.  Coming in as the Eighth Seed is a new team (to the MRDA and the tournament): The Denton County Outlaws.


Fun fact: Denton County is debuting in the Top 8. A feat not easy now that there are so many member leagues. BOOM. Nice work, fellas.

I got to watch DCO play at Spring Roll this season. Truth be told, most of us watched their bouts because they (as well as the Cincinnatti Battering Rams and Southern Discomfort) were giant wild cards in the MRDA at that point. Most of us fans had not seen any of the teams play and we were curious at the showing they would make. Denton was of particular interest, since many of us had watched some of their vets play on Dallas Deception, Magic City Misfits, and Team USA previously.

DCO definitely came out swinging. They played the Carolina Wreckingballs (ranked 16th at that time) first. They came out with a definitive strength and speed that the Balls just couldn’t handle. Game 2 of Spring Roll brought them against a different kind of Wreckingball: the lads from London, Southern Discomfort.

Side Note: After the game against the Carolina Wreckingballs, the lady fans of the Balls decided that Denton won the “Team Sexy” award for 2014. “Bout Sexy” of Spring Roll went to the Denton County Outlaws v Southern Discomfort. (For those who have been reading my writing, you may recall that 2013’s SR winner was Bridgetown Menace v Mass Maelstrom.)


So Disco was able to [mostly] capture the jukes and ducks of DCO jammers (it was a blast watching Haterade give them a hard time though). The walls of Denton blockers just didn’t have the same experience as their competition, but it was a phenomenal bout. DCO only lost by 99 points (super impressive considering So Disco had lost to #4 Mass Maelstrom by only 53 points the night before). DCO rounded out their Spring Roll with a definitive win against the Canadian powerhouses on the Mont Royals.

You're not seeing double. That's Haterade and TJ Binkley showing off their Spring Roll MVP bandannas.
You’re not seeing double. That’s Haterade and TJ Binkley showing off their Spring Roll MVP bandannas.

The Outlaws have only been together since March of 2012. They skate out of the House of Quad (just north of Dallas), and get to share the space with North Texas Derby Revolution and the Rolling Rebellions, a junior league. While they have picked up vet skaters, newbies to derby like Keith Rucker are making their mark on DCO. Vet TJ Binkley says:

“Keith is our under-rated jammer. He is a rink rat but fairly new to derby. [He] has some moves …that he shouldn’t be able to. The guy is fearless.”

When mid-season rankings came out, DCO was still unranked, since they had not played their 5 sanctioned MRDA bouts. The world of men’s derby (ok, maybe just me and a few other people who are rankings nerds) were waiting with baited breath to see how DCO did at the Arizona Rattleskates’ Southwest Sausage Fest.

At Southwest Sausagefest. Photo by Jennifer Abdulla.
At Southwest Sausagefest. Photo by Jennifer Abdulla.


Well let’s talk rankings for a second. In the WFTDA there is a fancy new equation that helps the organization calculate rankings. In the MRDA they’re still doing things a little old school. So the member teams vote. That being said, if a team has established wins that calculate out properly, they tend to move upward. Here’s what we need to look at:

Southern Discomfort played 3 of the 4 top teams in the MRDA and lost to them, but … only lost to Maelstrom by 50 points (almost a tie in derby standards). Denton lost to So Disco by 99 points. DCO was slated to play Deep Valley Belligerents at SW Sausagefest. DVB was ranked #8 at mid-terms. Right. So if DCO could beat DVB, that would mean that they were better than the #8 ranking and since So Disco had beaten DCO by a larger margin, it would mean they were at least better than at least the 8 seed. (Ok, so maybe me and So Disco were waiting with baited breath for Sausagefest).

Sorry. Back to writing about derby now.  //EndRankingNerdMoment

Everyone is looking for the cut [that didn't happen]. At Southwest Sausagefest. Photo by Jennifer Abdulla.
Everyone is looking for Lucky Charmer to cut… yea, he didn’t. At Southwest Sausagefest. Photo by Jennifer Abdulla.
As you may have figured out, DCO DID beat Deep Valley. The walls of DCO had strengthened since I watched them play at Spring Roll (through the magic of the interwebs, I got to watch the stream of Sausagefest). The walls were more fluid and worked as a unit to contain, play offense as they were playing defense (yay!), and kill penalties. Deep Valley simply couldn’t contain the DCO jammers. I wish I could give you stats on this one, but it seems that the stats package hasn’t been uploaded to FTS. Womp Womp. I will say that I particularly enjoy watching Lucky Charmer magically break through packs and Phillip Stout working with his team mates to destroy opponents.

Ladies and gentlemen: Phillip Stout at work. At Southwest Sausagefest. Photo by Jennifer Abdulla.
Ladies and gentlemen: Phillip Stout at work.
At Southwest Sausagefest. Photo by Jennifer Abdulla.

So let’s talk Champs. Denton is facing off in the first round against Your Mom Men’s Roller Derby. To say they’re the underdog is a bit of an understatement. Especially since one of their primary jammers, aforementioned Haterade, is out recovering from surgery. Binkley says the guys aren’t looking at their underdog status as a negative stance though:

“Our main goal is to have fun and learn from each game. We just want to the rest of MRDA that we belong here. Whatever place we finish in at the end of the tournament accomplishment since this is our first time being ranked. I know the DCO guys will soak everything in and come out of this tournament that much stronger. [Denton County is] extremely excited to be a part of the years champs. It’s every team’s goal to make it to champs. I’m just happy to see our goal come to life!”

Regardless of how this weekend turns out for Denton, you can be sure they are going to come out with fast feet, spins, hops, and powerful blocking.

Streaming information is forthcoming from the MRDA. Keep your eyes peeled on the MRDA Championship Facebook Event for up to date information. If you want to support the Denton County Outlaws, check out their Facebook Fundraiser page for merch!

Beards doing work! At Southwest Sausagefest. Photo by Jennifer Abdulla.
Beards doing work! At Southwest Sausagefest. Photo by Jennifer Abdulla.