North American Qualifiers: Denver Ground Control


By: Bryan Mcwilliam aka Killman

During the weekend of Aug 4-5 the North American Qualifier of the Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA) will take place in Fitchburg, MA to help determine the competitors in the organization’s championship playoff finals in Portland, OR from Oct 12-14.

The event, which is set to take place at the Wallace Civic Center on the grounds of Fitchburg State University, will be hosted by MRDA member and playoff contender, the Mass Maelstrom.

Eight teams will vie for a championship bid.

Leading into the event the MRDA will take an inside look at some of the attending teams to learn more about members from its squad.

Today, we speak with skaters Esquivel, Ferguson and Reno Schneider of Denver Ground Control, the No. 2 seed at the NAQ qualifier.

Esquivel, a jammer with Denver skates under No. 5. He’s been playing derby for 1.5 years, all with the Ground Control.

Ferguson, also a jammer, has been with Denver since Feb of 2018 and has spent his entire derby skating career with them aside from one game with Oklahoma Men’s Roller Derby.

Reno Schneider, who plays everywhere but mainly pivots, wears No. 257 and has played 5 years. After aging out as a junior with Foco Junior Roller Derby Schneider joined the Ground Control.


Killman: Are you excited about playoffs? Tell me what being at playoffs means to you?

Esquivel: To showcase Denver Roller Derby and being able to play with some of the nations’ best.

Ferguson: I can’t wait to play teams where I can’t predict who will win or what the score might be. My team and I have worked hard to jump in the rankings, playoffs and hopefully champs will be the direct result of us leaving everything out on the track and at practice every single time.

Reno Schneider: It means a lot to be able to work with my teammates that have worked hard all season to get to this point.  I am excited to take the track with the best bunch of teammates a guy could ask for.


K: What would it mean for you to come out of this event as a qualifying team for champs?

E: The world.

F: Honestly I might cry, I get very emotional when playing and if we qualify for champs it means that my team has gotten better, I’ve gotten better and the only direction we can go from there is up.

RS: It would be a great feeling to know we had come together as a team, and the work put in has paid off.


K: Is there anyone you look up to on your team or in the sport of roller derby?

E: Our coaches, Raebies and Disco.

F: I really look up to my coach Tracy Akers and Rachel Blackman, not only are they beasts on the track but without them giving me the confidence I need to play I know I wouldn’t be able to perform up to and beyond my potential. Every time I’ve been down on myself because I don’t think I did well enough they have been there to make me realize who I am and how I fit in this amazing team that I have the good fortune to skate with.

RS: Tracy “Disco” Akers.  She’s one of the best skaters and is so derby smart. Her skills on the track, and her off-the-track coaching is unbeatable. To have her as a coach of Ground Control allows my team to learn from one of the best. She also has dedicated herself to promoting and bettering derby for all skaters, from juniors to WFTDA and MRDA.


K: If you could be one superhero, who would it be and why?

E: The day walker, Blade. Because he never loses a fight or his sunglasses.

F: Green Lantern. I love green and the only limit of your power is your imagination. Plus, I get to be Ryan Reynolds.


K: If you were asked to travel back in time and play in Rollerjam, would you? If yes, what would be the attraction?

E: 100%. Make cable television great again! Something fun for the whole family to watch during dinner. My family did!

F: I would, and I would be Gumby, but like a mean one.


K: Do you have a favorite dad joke?

F: Mom: Why is there a strange baby in the crib?

Dad: Because you told me to change the baby.


K: Provide me an inspirational quote that you live by.

E: “I’ve got one hand in my pocket, and the other one is giving a high five.” – Alanis Morissette

F: I honestly do live by these two words, “Why not?”

RS: “If you are going to do something half assed don’t bother doing it at all.”


K: Tell me anything else that’s on your mind if you have more to say.

E: Big shoutout to everyone who has supported Ground Control, especially DDay. Love you all and many thanks.

F: My goal for my team is to take us to champs and eventually become the No. 1 team in the MRDA. My personal goal is to make it on to Team USA with my best friend Lenzo, No. 36. That would be the highlight of my skating career.