Holy mother of guacamole—last Saturday's Rose City Rollers championships were intense. Like kinda scary intense. The Season 8 double header was a face-off between the Heartless Heathers and the Break Neck Betties for third place, while the main event was the undefeated Guns N Rollers going hip-to-hip with the High Rollers. Both games ended with upsets: the Betties and High Rollers both landing on top. Final: Break Neck Betties 172, Heartless Heathers 159. And your champions for a whole year: High Rollers 140 to Guns N Rollers 130. But what those numbers don't reflect is the last-minute (literally) drama of both games, with the Rose Garden erupting in jeers and boos during the final championship jam. Roller derby fans aren't much for jeers and boos during home-team games—they're usually a friendly bunch (unless Portland is playing Olympia or Bay Area or some such rival). Then there was the brutal play between the Betties and Heathers. No holds were barred, or beared or bared, for that matter. Shit was feisty.
Hit the jump for recaps.
Heartless Heathers vs. Break Neck Betties
The Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers were the rallying preamble to the Rose Garden's first-ever roller derby event. (Wooo! This roller derby craze is for reals.) But the crowd seemed a little subdued in my opinion—maybe everyone was saving their strength for the evening's World Naked Bike Ride.
There was no laidback naked hippy vibe to be found in the aggressive Betties vs. Heathers game though. The Betties' Mutch Mayhem drew first blood. Several jams later, Heathers jammer the Blast Unicorn racked up 35 points, quickly followed by oodles more points (oodles = 24) by Scratcher in the Eye of the Heathers. The Betties consistently won lead jammer after that, but never managed to cash in their winnings on the scoreboard—combine that with some penalty problems and the Betties were down by nearly 50 points at halftime.
I'm not sure what rousing words were said to the Betties in the locker room (Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose?), but they creamed it in the second half. Jammer Licker N Split, a brick powerhouse on eight wheels, and her compadre Mutch Mayhem took full advantage of several power jams to get the lead change, and the Heathers kept within striking distance with a last-ditch 20 points by Scratcher in the Eye. But great defense by the Heathers' Hard Dash, Mistress of the Knife, and Mel Mangles wasn't enough to stop the Betties from grabbing the game in a tight finish, a finish that saw an amazing bit of offensive play by the Betties' Scrappy Go Lucky.
Guns N Rollers vs. High Rollers
Then the finale. Woo... this game really made some Guns N Rollers fans hot under their tattered Ts. It all came down to the last jam with a seesawing power-jam situation. The High Rollers' jammer, Avalanche, took her sweet time getting to the penalty box, where her arrival would've released GNR's jammer, Untamed Shrew. Avalanche was strategically dilly-dallying because the score was High Rollers 137, Guns N Rollers 125, but running down the clock was a move the crowd considered unsportsmanlike, ensuring GNR couldn't score more points. It wasn't just the GNR fans who felt the heat, GNR's Frank N Hurter, wielder of lethal and casual power, skated by and knocked Avalanche into her seat in the icebox. Not sure how legal that was, but Frank sure got her point across.
Some clock-burning aside, the game was white hot: Guns N Rollers went into the game undefeated, winners of their last game against the High Rollers. The butt-rockers had never won the championships, so their trophy-want was palpable. But I think the High Rollers watched some game tape, because they sure had GNR's number. The High Rollers took the reins, GNR briefly stole it back, then flip-flopped it a few more times for good measure. A couple point-runs by the High Rollers gave them a sizable lead, which they held onto through the second half. Slowly, the tides turned for GNR and they caught up, down by only 37 points in the last three minutes of the game. Bolstered by a power jam, jammer Scald Eagle swooped up 25 points to bring the score to High Rollers 137, GNR 125. And that's when the shizzle hit the fizzle. Watch the video up there at the top! It's intense.
As the dust settled, the High Rollers took the game with 10 points and were crowned 2013 champions.