On one of the hottest nights in the Keweenaw, 27 skater’s from 7 leagues came together in Hancock, Michigan to take on one another in the 3rd Annual Solar System Smackdown. The Smackdown was KRG’s first ever roller derby event held in August of 2013, and has since become a well known gathering for meeting up with old derby friends, and making new ones.
Skaters from the Keweenaw Roller Girls, Mad Rollin’ Dolls, Chippewa Valley Roller Girls, Dead River Derby, Paper Valley Roller Girls, Rockford Rage, and the Lansing Derby Vixens were all represented Saturday evening, supported by an excellent officiating crew from Lansing, Dead River, Chippewa Valley and KRG.
The Venus Vixens got off to a heck of a start with a massive lead obtained by skater, Yoop #22, of Dead River Derby. Fierce and strong, she pulled off a 30-something point jam with the help of some brutal defense, leaving Uranus United working hard to catch up in the first half.
The second half was much like the first, with some glimmers of hope for Uranus United, as their blocking lines began to work more seamlessly, utilizing diamond formations to their advantage they were able to keep hold. However, the Venus Vixen’s defense was just a power house and left many of Uranus United’s jammers fighting in the pack, allowing the Vixen’s jammers to rack up the points.
Camaraderie was present from all on the track despite the point spread; fist bumps on the jam line, laughter, and playful mocking was seen throughout the night. Great gameplay and showmanship from both sides made it an exciting game to watch, causing many crowd “Ooooos” and “Ahhhhhs” as skaters collided and displayed fancy foot work.
The game ended in favor of the Vixens, with a 129 point lead over Uranus. After the game, each team huddled separately to select an MVP for the opposing team based on not only skill, but also attitude and spirit. The recipients of the very special, galactic Solar System Smackdown MVP awards: Phee Nix of the Venus Vixens and Glory Sparks of Uranus United – both members of Marquette’s Dead River Derby!
Who will the Vixen’s take on next year, and can they hold on to the title? We’ll have to wait and see.
For more pictures from the event, please check out Jim Pintar’s flickr gallery here.