The 2011 South Central Region tournament, “Show Me Der-B-Q” will take place in Kansas City, Missouri from September 30-October 2. All live streaming coverage of the 2011 Big 5 tournaments will be provided by Blaze Streaming Media and the WFTDA.- RDIT Editors.

(Author’s note: All mentions of won-loss records, number of bouts held, and of winning or losing streaks were based on records at the end of the weekend of August 12th-August 14th.  A few of the teams in this region will compete in WFTDA-Sanctioned bouts prior to the tournament, which may affect some of these numbers.  Thank you, and please read responsibly.)

Ever since WFTDA went to four regional tournaments in 2009, much of the attention given to the South Central Tournament has been on familiar faces fighting for first and second place.  While the championship bout is the natural focus of any tournament, this caused some of the battles for third place to get to Championships to be overshadowed, despite those battles for third place being just as (if not more) compelling than the championship bouts.  At Southern Fried Smackdown in Atlanta in 2009, the Texas Rollergirls defeated the Kansas City Roller Warriors en route to their (only) South Central Championship, while Houston Roller Derby edged the Dallas Derby Devils for the third spot.  The following year, Kansas City claimed victory over Texas, and the Nashville Rollergirls Music City All-Stars overcame two seasons’ worth of defeats by Atlanta’s Dirty South Derby Girls to go to Championships in Chicago.  For this year’s SC tournament (or is it a convention?), Show Me Der-B-Q, look for some new faces to be added to the usual suspects, and for a wide-open battle for that third spot for Championships: Continental Divide and Conquer.

New Expectations, Moments In The Sun

For the first time in the South Central Region’s history, neither the Dallas Derby Devils nor Memphis Roller Derby qualified for this year’s regionals.  The rotating spot that went to the West Texas Roller Dollz in 2009 and the Hard Knox Roller Girls in 2010 goes to a new face, as well.  For 2011, Green Country Roller Girls, Gold Coast Derby Grrls, and Omaha Rollergirls all make their SC Regional debuts.

Of these three teams, Green Country Roller Girls remains the biggest mystery to me.  7 of their 15 sanctioned bouts this year came courtesy of Clover Cup and Rocket City Rumble, during which they defeated Duke City and Memphis, but were also trounced by Houston and Texas.  I assume their ranking and invitation was due mainly to their won-loss record in 2011, 11-and-4, as well as a win over Omaha in May.  They will arrive in Kansas City with the eighth seed, but how high can they go in Kansas City?

After a long apprenticeship, the** Gold Coast Derby Grrls** became a full-fledged member league on March 1st, and made the most of their opportunities.  They spent 2010 playing B-teams from leagues including Rose City and Steel City, and had an impressive challenge bout showing at East Coast Derby Extravaganza.  This year they managed a win over Tampa Bay’s B-Team (after previously failing to beat any team from Tampa Bay) and Atlanta’s B-Team, as well as wins over Hard Knox and Dallas when both leagues were still competitively ranked in the South Central Region.  Despite their narrow defeat by Ohio and their trouncing at the hands of Houston in March at Franky Panky, the biggest question about how far Gold Coast can go remains their loss to Tallahassee’s Capital Punishment back on July 23rd.  Is this a team ready to climb higher in the SC rankings, or have they stalled at their current 9th-place position?

Omaha is the only new team that comes into Kansas City with previous experience at a regional tournament, having competed last year at Thunda on the Tundra in Green Bay.  From September 10th through September 12th, they skated against Minnesota and Brew City, and eventually finished 9th by defeating the Arch Rival Roller Girls.  By way of contrast, however, Omaha also comes to the tournament with the worst win-loss record for the year (3-and-8), and the longest losing streak (6 in a row).  Furthermore, Omaha holds the distinction of being the only team invited to Show Me Der-B-Q who failed to defeat a single playoff-bound team this season.

Some may question how Omaha made it into Show Me Der-B-Q over teams like Memphis and Hard Knox who had been invited to previous regional tournaments.  While Memphis managed as many wins as Omaha has so far this year, they also had two fewer losses.  Furthermore, the total margin of victory in two of Omaha’s three wins (over the Sioux Falls Roller Dollz and the Oklahoma Victory Dolls) was 15 points, whereas Memphis’s closest margin of victory this season (over Jacksonville) was 11 points.  Hard Knox may have a stronger argument for the 10th seed, as they now sit at 6-and-5 for the year, having defeated 9th seed Gold Coast on August 13th (though they lost to Gold Coast back in May).  Regardless, Omaha will make its second consecutive appearance in a regional tournament and will have a chance to silence its critics, starting with their bout against No Coast on Friday, September 30th.

We Won’t Be Denied

Once again, the usual suspects stand at the top of the class of the South Central.  The Kansas City Roller Warriors will host Show Me Der-B-Q, and they currently maintain a 7-and-1 record (possibly as high as 8-and-1 by tournament time, if they’re able to defeat Windy City on September 10th).  Their only loss this season was to the Oly Rollers, who are once again ranked #1 in the West.  Before that loss, the Roller Warriors started the year on a five-bout win streak, soundly defeating Nashville, Atlanta, Boston, Jet City, and Rat City.  Kansas City’s smallest margin of victory this season was their 32-point win over Rat City, one day after their loss to Oly and their third bout in a weekend Northwest Death March. In the history of regional and national/championship tournaments, no host team has ever won the tournament, but the Roller Warriors skate poised to become the first-ever WFTDA league to accomplish that feat.

…no host team has ever won the tournament, but the Roller Warriors skate poised to become the first-ever WFTDA league to accomplish that feat.

Their probable opponents for the championship bout remain the Texas Rollergirls.  Should the Texecutioners make it to the championship bout, this will be the third consecutive SC Regional Championship bout to feature Kansas City vs. Texas.  Texas will arrive in Kansas City with a better regular season record (9-and-8) than they had last year (4-and-6).  However, until their defeat of Detroit on August 12th, the Texecutioners were riding a five-bout losing streak (Rose City, Oly, Rat City, Denver, and Montreal).  Texas is also 2-and-8 in its last 10 bouts.  With that said, they’ve also never lost to any SC team not named the Kansas City Roller Warriors, so it won’t be a shock to see them defeat whoever wins the No Coast/Omaha and Tampa Bay/Nashville bouts.

I Want To Count Myself Among The Fortunate Ones

Perhaps the most intriguing story going into Show Me Der-B-Q is the fight to take the third spot to go to WFTDA Championships: Continental Divide and Conquer (A November to Remember in Denver).  More teams have a legitimate chance to take third this year than any other time in the South Central Region’s short history.  For 2011, no less than five teams have a legitimate shot at taking that spot on Sunday, October 2nd.

The Nashville Rollergirls‘ Music City All-Stars finished Amber Waves of Pain last October by defeating the Atlanta Rollergirls and taking the third spot for WFTDA Championships: Uproar on the Lakeshore in Chicago.  To their credit, they’ve held onto the 3rd spot since then, and managed to defeat both Jet City and the rising Chicago Outfit this year.  Nashville must defeat Tampa Bay to retain their third spot and to go to Denver.

The Atlanta Rollergirls‘ Dirth Souty Derby Girls rode streaks all season long.  Their longest winning streak matched their longest losing streak at three bouts each.  They surprised some by defeating Houston to win this year’s Rocket City Rumble, but also held on to barely defeat Tampa Bay and Brew City in the final jam by a combined 6 points.  They trounced Memphis, Gold Coast, Tallahassee, and Hard Knox, but were trounced by Philly, Kansas City, and Oly.  Atlanta will need to once again defeat Houston to vie for the third seed to Continental Divide and Conquer and to make their first-ever Championship tournament.

Houston Roller Derby’s HaRD Knocks spent half of their 18 bouts this season skating against the Texas Rollergirls, the Dallas Derby Devils, and the Green Country Roller Girls.  They swept all three of their bouts at Franky Panky, dominating Tampa Bay defensively in the second half and then crushing Ohio and Gold Coast, but were later upset by Atlanta’s Dirty South Derby Girls at Rocket City Rumble and lost three in a row to Boston, Windy City, and Montreal.  To Houston’s credit, their combined margins of loss to Boston and Montreal were 11 points, but that calls into question just what happened to that dominant defense (when not facing Texas) we saw in the first quarter of 2011.  HaRD Knocks must defeat the Dirty South Derby Girls (a team they have not defeated since May 2, 2009) to remain eligible for third place.

The Tampa Bay Derby Darlins’ all-star Tampa Tantrums 2011 season so far is a story in three chapters: In February and March, they were competitive, but just couldn’t win.  In April and May, they came oh-so-close, only to fall in the final jam to Atlanta and Carolina by a combined 15 points.  Then, East Coast Derby Extravaganza happened, and somehow, the Tantrums put it all together.  The Tantrums won in a landslide over DC, then skated a masterpiece over Boston in what many described as the most-exciting bout of the entire weekend.  With their win over Santa Cruz’s Boardwalk Bombshells on August 6th, the Tantrums take their first-ever three-bout win streak into Regionals for momentum.  To make it to Denver, the Tantrums must defeat Nashville’s Music City All-Stars, who they have not faced since July 18, 2009, during the inaugural Rocket City Rumble.  Nashville currently leads the all-time series between the two leagues, 2-to-1.

The No Coast Derby Girls’ Mad Maxines face the most difficult route to a Championships invite.  Unlike their four counterparts who will need to win two of three bouts to get to Denver, the Mad Maxines will need to win three of four bouts.  Furthermore, should they win in their preliminary round bout, they get to face the Texecutioners.  However, No Coast’s preliminary round opponent is the Omaha Rollergirls, whom not only they defeated back in March, but also to whom they have not lost since July 11, 2009.  No Coast also swept their three bouts in two days at Franky Panky, defeating Ohio, Duke City, and Tampa Bay, to say nothing of their three wins in four bouts at Amber Waves of Pain last October.  On an interesting note, No Coast’s only loss at Amber Waves of Pain was to Texas.

In 2010, the South Central Regional tournament, Amber Waves of Pain, was the last of the regional tournaments, and had tough acts to follow after Thunda on the Tundra (North Central Regional Convention, er, Tournament) and Rollin’ on the River (Western Regional Tournament).  This year, Show Me Der-B-Q‘s stories of the new faces, another possible Kansas City vs. Texas championship, and the wide-open battle for the third seed may very well make it a tough act for Monumental Mayhem to follow.  Be there in Kansas City from September 30th through October 2nd to see it live, or watch it online.

Image courtesy of Kansas City Roller Warriors