Junction City Aftershocks vs. Hilltop Aces. Photo: Chris Bojanower
As anybody in the derby world will tell you, roller derby is 75% sport, 10% perspiration, and 15% beer. It’s what we drink to celebrate victories, to mourn losses, to wash down our ibuprofen, and it always tastes better in the shower before a game. Unfortunately, the rest of the world usually frowns upon our healthy drinking habit, with one exception: St. Patrick’s Day, when derby folks can go hard as fuck and face absolutely no repercussions.
I spent my St. Patrick’s Day on or around skates, starting out in the parade and ending at the Davis Conference Center, for the home team bout between Junction City’s Aftershocks and Hilltop Aces. It was their first game since the big merge with O-Town, lending plenty of skaters to the track who once met as rivals. Honestly, I had hoped for a few dirty moves, like a couple of low blocks or maybe a broken ankle. I saw none of that, but just as a drinking buddy can quickly turn enemy, so too can the teams within a league turn against one another. After a brutal bash like this one, I wouldn’t be surprised if some real Tonya Harding shit gets pulled right before the next bout.
The Hilltop Aces sealed their lead from the start, mainly using their blockers as defense against the Aftershocks’ jammer and controlling the pack with a wall at the front and back. Their strategy played to the strengths of the Aces’ jammers, Pickle and Malibu Harpy, who both dodged offensive hits with ease and needed hardly any real assistance from their team. Meanwhile, the Aftershocks often got caught up with other blockers, and Josie Cansockaho had to fight through the Aces’ barrage before she could make a scoring pass. The Aftershocks finally caught a break when Malibu Harpy was sent to the box for a track cut, giving them a power jam, but as Josie herself was called out on a major cut penalty, the Aces took the opportunity to score another 10 points, ending the first half with a 38-point lead.
After everyone had gotten a fresh beer, and one lucky lady won a bicycle from Junction’s sponsor, PBR (seriously), the game started back up. The Aftershocks returned with a vengeance, though they simply couldn’t push against the sheer might of the Aces’ powerhouse blockers, Cherry Von Sin and Howie Jam. Soon, the Hilltop Aces were landing one power jam after another and only increasing their lead over the Aftershocks. It was clear from the amount of penalties being called that both teams were tired. As the game drew to a close, the Aftershocks caught a second wind and, with help from team captain Tough Titty Yeoman, Canadian Bacon finally made it through the pack as lead jammer, scoring 10 points. With one minute left in the game, Bacon started another jam and was able to make three passes for 15 points, practically doubling the Aftershocks’ score. At that point, absolutely everyone in the building was screaming for her. However, it wasn’t enough to turn the table. The Hilltop Aces won the game with a score of 139-45.
With Junction City growing in size and skill with the addition of the O-Town Derby Dames, and playing tougher than ever, it’ll be an exciting 2012 season. Their next game pits the A-team against several teams across the West, at the Dustbowl Invitational in Bakersfield, CA. To keep up with the Junction City Roller Dolls, get their season schedule and buy them a drink, visit junctioncityrollerdolls.com, or check out their Facebook. Find more photos by Chris Bojanower here.