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2012 MRDA Championships Preview: #2 St. Louis GateKeepers

2012 MRDA Championships Preview: #2 St. Louis GateKeepers

By James Brains

The hosts for the 2012 MRDA Championships, the St. Louis GateKeepers, are one of men’s roller derby’s most successful teams. Founded in 2009 and MRDA members since September of 2010, the GateKeepers have a large pool of talent to draw from boasting three full home teams, an all-star travel team, and a b-team. They are labeled “blue collar” because of their work ethic and no-nonsense style of play. And, despite their #2 seed coming into the Championships tournament, the GateKeepers will likely be the team to beat based on recent performances.

In 2012, with a brutal schedule including bouts against four teams qualifying for Championships, the GateKeepers only lost one game. Their loss came in May at Spring Roll to the New York Shock Exchange in a controversial bout in which the Shock Exchange came back on the final jam to win by six. The GateKeepers avenged that loss in New York in August with a decisive 197-141 victory. “MY FAVORITE MOMENT OF 2012 HAS TO BE GOING INTO NEW YORK AND BEATING THE SHOCK EXCHANGE AT HOME,” St. Louis blocker extraordinaire Wrecking Bill said. Wrecking Bill wanted his quotes to be in all uppercase. It is not wise to argue with such a scary blocker St. Louis all-around great skater Magnum PIMP echoed Wrecking Bill’s sentiment: “Traveling to NY to play the Shock Exchange then taking on the Connecticut Death Quads and Gotham Roller Girls in back-
to-back hangover bouts was a great experience. Being able to play that much high level derby in one weekend was a blast.”

After the end-of-season rankings were released and the seeding set for Championships, the GateKeepers played #1 Your Mom Men’s Derby. The GateKeepers destroyed the short-handed Your Mom team, 330-78, to give Your Mom their only loss of the season. This catapulted the GateKeepers to #1 on Flat Track Stats.

“I am most interested in skating against Des Moines (Your Mom) at Championships. They have an aura about them now,” Magnum PIMP said. “They used to be just a bunch of hot shot skaters, but now they have the strategy down too. I would love to face them in the Championship bout and have a legendary showdown.”

Wrecking Bill is more interested in setting straight the GateKeepers’ losses at last year’s Championships, where they finished in fourth. “I LOVE SKATING AGAINST EVERYBODY, BUT I HOPE WE GET A CHANCE TO RECOUP OUR LOSES AGAINST PUGET AND MAGIC CITY.”

The GateKeepers take on the Dallas Deception in the first round of Championships in a rematch of a June bout, which the GateKeepers won 340-83. The Deception will likely put up more of a fight this time around as they’ve continued to develop as a team. You can expect high-level team play from both teams.

“We play a straight-forward game. We play derby how it was intended to be played. We don’t rely on rule loopholes or shenanigans to win bouts,” Magnum PIMP said. “We don’t have any satellite skaters or ringers. If someone wants to skate for the GateKeepers, they have to make a commitment to our team and make practices regularly.”

Wrecking Bill agreed: “THE GATEKEEPERS HAVE A GREAT TEAM CONCEPT AND RELATIONSHIP THAT IS UNMATCHED. WE HAVE PLAYED AND TRAINED TOGETHER FOR MANY YEARS. WE DO THINGS THE RIGHT WAY. WE PLAY HARD, TOUGH, AND FAST WITH SOME GREAT INDIVIDUAL SKATERS THAT HAVE ALL BOUGHT INTO THE TEAM.”

Tickets are still available for the MRDA Championships “Gateway to the Best,” taking place October 20-21 in St. Louis, Missouri. Visit Brown Paper Tickets for more information. And, keep your browser refreshed at MRDA for more team profiles and interviews.

Other Previews:

#3 New York Shock Exchange

#4 Magic City Misfits

#5 Puget Sound Outcast Derby

#6 Portland Men’s Roller Derby

#7 Dallas Deception

#8 Mass Maelstrom