Dead Girl Derby was founded in September of 2009 by two former WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association) skaters who saw a need for a different kind of derby.
These ladies decided to join OSDA (Old School Derby Association) because they felt this rule set was closer to the roller derby days of old. There were about four members at the start, but word spread quickly and the numbers jumped to 20, then 30. At the high point there were 35-plus, active skaters.
Season One was actualized expeditiously with only two teams; Gang Green and Black Plague. Each month, names were randomly drawn out of a hat to decide which skaters would be on which team. Dead Girl Derby played one game per month, advertised by word of mouth, and still averaged 300 fans per game.
After a rough end of the inaugural season, new management was put in place and the next month or so was spent with a few league members working to get the business aspect setup correctly and to negotiate increased benefits from other rinks in the greater Kansas City area.
A more centralized rink was located for practice. This venue offered better benefits for the league, including a better deal on the game-day split. The rink operator worked with the league in setting up basic skate training and packaged “derby” deals to help save the skaters’ money.
In an effort to create four teams for the new season, the league hit the streets for new recruits. At the end of Season One, there were about 30 skaters in the league, some of which were out on injury from the previous season. At least 70 were needed to fulfill the goal of four teams. After some great work from the league and a really big push, 75 slots were filled with skaters eager to play.
It was another big rush to get everyone trained and able to pass a mandatory skills test before the sophomore season. All the work was well worth the effort when in February 2011, the first game under the newly reorganized Dead Girl Derby started the season with a bang. Over 600 fans attended that first game. Everyone in the league was excited about this huge accomplishment.
On the cusp of finishing their second season, Dead Girl Derby is still averaging over 500 fans per game. Some believe the appeal lies with the OSDA rules; the games tend to be faster and the hits a little harder than the WFTDA league in Kansas City. Gearing up for the next season of recruiting, Dead Girl Derby has had an extremely high response rate and is expecting to have over 100 skaters to start the new training program.
As we enter Season Three as a MADE league, it already promises to be larger and more exciting with the addition of a dedicated travel team. It will be comprised of twenty or so skaters, some of which are retired from league play and some who wish to play on both sides. The affiliation for the travel league is still in the air, but will most likely switch to the MADE (Modern Athletic Derby Endeavor) rule set, which closely resembles that of OSDA.
SUNNY DEE #64 oz.
By Jeff McKee—I think she rather epitomizes the spirit of derby and especially our league. She was knocked out of last season with a broken collar bone (in two spots) during one of our final practices before a game. She spent almost a year recovering from the injury having to have multiple surgeries with complications, including a drill bit breaking off in her bone!. She never gave up once. She took a position on our Board of Directors during her recovery and practiced as often as she was allowed. In addition, her son just turned two, so despite dealing with all the derby stuff, the injury and having a new born child, she still manages to keep a smile on her face.