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World Cup Team USA Tryouts Continue

  • Buster Cheatin holds The Hydra after coaching the Gotham Girls to the 2008 WFTDA title. Photo: Tom Igoe
  • Leading Team USA to the World Cup with Buster Cheatin is San Diego Derby Dolls founder Bonnie D. Stroir. Photo: Joe Rollerfan

In 2004, Buster Cheatin fell in love with roller derby, along with his wife, Gotham Girls All-Star skater Donna Matrix. Buster was an NSO for Gotham Girls Roller Derby’s first 2005 season opener bout. He went on to referee for the league soon after, and became the manager of the Queens of Pain that season, helping to guide the team to 3 home season championships. In August of 2005, Buster was a part of history when he managed Gotham in their first ever interleague bout. He refereed at the fist ever WFTDA tournament, Dust Devil 2006, and was on the bench with Gotham Girls All-Stars as manager for the first ever WFTDA East Region Tournament championship win. He has since managed Gotham through 3 more East Region championship wins, as well as one National Championship win in 2008.

In 2008, Blood and Thunder magazine founder Dale Rio aka Black Dahlia and some talented friends began leading roller derby boot camps all over the world. In the fall of 2010, Blood and Thunder announced that it would sponsor the world’s first international flat-track roller derby World Cup in Toronto on December 1-4, 2011.

On finding the announcement for World Cup, Gotham co-staffer Endless Justin showed it to Buster and recommended that he apply to coach Team USA. Like many other roller derby staffers worldwide, Buster Cheatin was inspired by the idea of being a part of this historic event and submitted an application to be Head Coach.

Buster was selected to be Head Coach of Team USA. Shortly thereafter, legendary skater and league founder Bonnie D. Stroir, the brains behind the world’s first hybrid banked/flat track roller derby league San Diego Derby Dolls, was selected to be his Assistant Coach. Bonnie has skated and coached roller derby since 2004, starting as a skater with the L.A. Derby Dolls. She has built a reputation worldwide as a coach and advisor of young leagues.

The two coaches have had little opportunity to work together in person thus far, but they're enjoying the process of creating this superteam together, says Buster. They are looking forward to the work that lies ahead, as well as more opportunity to share the unique skills each brings to the table. Bringing together the manager of what has long been one of the top 3 flat-track roller derby teams worldwide, and the former captain of the only team in modern roller derby to win 2 consecutive banked track roller derby titles, Team USA already has a foundation in coaching success.

The selection process for a team comprising the best skaters available today in the entire US roller derby community is a daunting one, but Buster Cheatin and Bonnie D. Stroir are invigorated by the challenge. They have arrived at what they consider to be the fairest possible methods that give opportunity not only to the top skaters in competition in WFTDA, but any up and coming skaters in the US derby community that have the drive and ambition to compete. Inclusion and fairness are the top goals in the tryout process, and the coaches are dedicated to opening this rare opportunity to any and all comers.


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no one's really trying out

no one's really trying out for this thing right?


Wouldn't this be like the US getting booted from the olympics?


Being first

I would imagine being the first World Cup type event should make US skaters want to win even more. Dominance is perceived but not yet proven (although I'd be stupid to bet against the US team), even a team of super all-stars can fall to a team that plays well together, like the 2004 basketball dream team http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/olympics/2004/basketball/08/27/usa...

I could be wrong...

...but I would think that some smaller countries with fewer skaters and a shorter selection process will have more opportunity to practice together this year, and could come with amazing teamwork. I wouldn't count anyone out, especially after seeing how quickly London adapted over 3 games in one weekend. Not to mention all the amazing bootcamps and visiting skaters Australia and Brazil and other countries are getting this year from Rat City, Gotham, Montreal, San Diego, Charm, Steel, Fast Girl U, Quadzilla, etc. I think we could see some surprising levels of skill in December.

so much negativity

i think this is a cool thing to happen.
Although the USA is kind of like CCCP hockey at this point, but there's a certain buzz in that too.

gotta start some place

This is great and can only make this sport grow and be shown to more people all over . I think this an awesome oppertunity to show case derby to the world :)
When are these try outs ? or have they happened already ?

Page 2

Of the article has all the tryout and registration information. Today the Denver, CO tryout is happening, but there are 3 more, then a final in Tampa, FL.

this is not a competition as

this is not a competition as everyone in the world already knows who's gonna win and has a good idea who will be runner up and third place as well
also if you think that any of the teams will have any real time to practise together beforehand you a being a bit naive, this is just going to be an international pick up scrimmage no more no less, luckily outside the states we are not forced to attend a B&T bootcamp to try out so at least thats some consolation, there will be some very one sided scores at this event and i don't think it will really help derby either

Trying things: officially condemned.

Well, thank God someone's here to tell us what's good for derby and what isn't. Pack up the tents, B&T; beertester says go home.

where have i tried to tell

where have i tried to tell anyone what's good for derby??

come on now.

beertester wrote:

where have i tried to tell anyone what's good for derby??

well, there was that part there where you said

beertester wrote:

i don't think it will really help derby either

so, there's that.

You know, a little over five years ago, a few hundred of us went to Tucson for an event that was pretty clearly gonna be a Texecutioner coronation, with a whole lot of inexperienced skating, and a bunch of blowouts... and yet, also, pretty clearly was gonna be an extraordinary opportunity for learning, and networking, and making what would become essential friendships.

And, hey, Tucson made the Texies work pretty hard for it, and would go on to serve them their first defeat less than a year later.

thats why i said think in

thats why i said think in that quote as it is just my opinion, i think what a lot of you are missing is the massive gulf between the standard of derby in north america and the rest of the world and thats even if other countries send their best players and they get to train together beforehand, but waht in reality will happen is you will get the best that can afford to travel to canada attending and they will have had the very minimum of training time together.
i'll also be willing to put £50 in an envelope with the top 4 sides in order with anyoe who fancies it

I picked the entire 2010 Champs bracket correctly

with the exception of the one Texas/ Bay Area outcome. Did that make it not a competition? I didn't find any of it a waste of my time as a fan, given that I already knew the outcome of every game but one in the whole weekend, personally. The whole tournament was thrilling. I sincerely doubt anyone who competed that weekend felt like it was a waste of their time, just because most of us who were paying attention could predict the outcomes of the games. But, like you said, to each his own, everyone's welcome to an opinion.

Furthermore: on class.

Derby has always historically favored skaters and officials who are privileged enough to travel and participate in tournaments. Affording to be able to play is not a challenge unique to World Cup. Even on a team that can afford to pay for skaters' or officials' travel and hotel through fundraising, one still has to be privileged enough to miss work for a few days, have enough childcare to leave town for a few days, afford to pay for your food and other travel expenses, etc.

More than one WFTDA team has forfeited a spot in regional tournaments due in part to not being able to afford to travel a full roster to a tournament. More than one WFTDA team has done a mad scramble to beg, borrow and fundraise when they earn a surprise trip to Champs, with only weeks to come up with enough funds to travel 20 people to another tourney.

Let's not pretend that this is the first event where who can afford to go is who makes the roster...there has never been complete class equity in interleague play or tournament in this sport, when it comes to this subject. Equity usually comes in the form of a teammate putting your tickets on her credit card, or teammates agreeing to buy someone's food all weekend, in reality.

the difference is though that

the difference is though that they are real teams that train together all the time, most attending this event will have had little or no time together so will not be playing as individuals, also there will be teams attending that would not pass tryouts for many teams in the states and i for one would not want to watch a bout that is gonna end up 320-4, yes i know you can learn by being beaten by better teams but you learn nothing by being completely annihilated, to me the biggest benefit of this competition will be meeting people from other teams and maybe inviting them back to coach your team

What about Team Legit or Team Awesome?

Or Team SeXY? Or Sharkasaurus? These teams don't play together regularly, they don't get to practice before they bout, and usually their teams are made up of whoever of their skaters can make it to tournaments/events. And you know what? They are awesome teams that play hard and work well together. The key to a good derby player is that they know the game and can work together with whomever they are playing with. I think, with the caliber of skaters who will most likely make up these teams, we will see great bouts and each gal- no matter what country she is skating for- will go back to their home teams with lots to teach their teams. Also, many of the non-American countries have been benefiting from amazing derby boot camps in their home countries run by some of the best skaters and coaches from all over the world. So, just because they don't have as much experience playing teams from other countries, doesn't mean they won't kick ass. Just look at Montreal's first games against West Coast (US) teams.

True Enough

I actually agree with you as to how this might turn out. But just because it's not conducted with parity doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile.

That's how ice hockey started 100 years ago, with bankrolled teams travelling to play other bankrolled teams. Thing is, everyone in Canada loved the sport so much they started about a million local leagues until everyone could play at the level they wanted to aspire to. Internationally, it was a 3-team race for a very long time until the rest of the world watched what the NHL and Soviet teams were doing, and also played against them in tournaments they really had no business being at (except to learn, and learn they did). Now hockey has a much better level of international parity. Women's hockey went through the same process (and growing pains) and is now at the stage where the IIHF is wondering whether to put their weight behind a 3-nation sport. Giving up now would be the worst thing they could do - given room to breathe it will break wide open just like the men's game.

What does this have to do with derby? Let it breathe. Let there be ill-advised international tournaments, arguments over rule sets, friction between flat and banked. Let there be a bazillion rec leagues to tell the sponsored leagues how they're doing it wrong while seeking sponsorship themselves.

All I'm saying is never, ever tell anyone that their roller derby tournament isn't good for derby. They're all good - the super slick ones, the wobbly first-time international ones, even the corporate lets-panic-about-the-DIY-spirit-of-the-game ones.

A correction

It is not necessary to attend a boot camp in order to take part in any of the qualifiers. The qualifiers and final try-out are all stand alone events. One of them happens to take place at a B&T boot camp but another takes place at ECE.

Ya know, nobody thought an

Ya know, nobody thought an international basketball tournament would have much point either. Then i went to the 2002 FIBA world basketball championships in Indianapolis, where Yugoslavia took first, Argentina took second, and the hometown US team limped home with sixth place. If you'd care to note the amount of European, ((and to a lesser extent, South American)) players who've played in the NBA over the course of the last decade or so, it would be fairly apparent that the whole concept of taking an American sport overseas, the sport getting up to speed there, then the overseas folks coming back over and contributing in a very substantial way to the sport in the US isn't some loony pipe dream, it is clearly a very real and somewhat quantifiable thing.

i really do not have a clue

i really do not have a clue what point you are trying to make

That's ok, i get that a lot.

That's ok, i get that a lot.

ha ha yeah me too

ha ha yeah me too

Thank you!

Thanks to all who tried out this weekend in Denver. Not only are you all talented skaters but also true patriots!


So who would I contact for more info or q's? I looked on the site n still got more stuff floating around in here.


I thought I'd read somewhere

I thought I'd read somewhere that there might be workshops happening for skaters who will be attending as spectators but now I can't seem to find that info. Maybe I was imagining it???

Sweet N. Lowdown

Not your imagination.

There's something posted on the B&T site that says depending on schedule and availability, there might be some training or class opportunities over the course of the weekend, but it's not confirmed yet. I imagine we'll hear more details about whether it's possible in the fall.

How Exciting

I sure hope my schedule allows for me to try out, even though the competition to land a spot might be a little over my head I super support a worldwide initiative. I wonder how many thousands of fans from around the world will tune in to watch the games?

i love this

...i mean how could gathering people from across the planet to immerse themselves in derby be anything but a fantastic experience for EVERYONE involved...

more interest? more competition? better bouts?

Just an idea about the possible benefits of each WFTDA region having their own team representing their region in the US on an international level instead of just one team representing the entire US:

1. It might provide more competition, interest, and inclusion of the best skaters in the nation. There are presently too many well-known superstars to choose from and many many more not yet recognized or simply overlooked on a national scale to whittle it down to 20 players. Some great players may not bother because there are so few spots, etc.

2. It might allow the selection of skaters to be based more on SKILL rather than the funds they would need in order to travel further distances (rather than by car, for example, which with current gas prices is still pretty exorbitant), thus leaving more dough to buy uniforms, take time off from work, find and pay babysitters, etc. Of course, skilled players will need lots of funding, too, but it may be easier for them to receive it from other skaters in their region, fans that recognize them from attending regional bouts, etc.

3. Having four teams would also help ensure that skaters are chosen by SKILL, once again, instead of an idea (if there is one) that the entire (geographically-speaking) USA should be represented in just one team (by choosing 'decent' players from different areas of the country instead of choosing 'great' players that may turn out to be nestled in one geographic area); or, conversely, that it would be easier to select players within a certain geographical region (if that idea is being tossed around) with respect to conducting practices, etc.

{I'm not saying that these ideas are currently being considered or could be considered in the future but, in my experience, there has been no stone left unturned with respect to skaters' crying foul and/or insinuating that there is unfair treatment towards them or their league; no matter how much the derby world likes to believe derby girls are empowered by their sport, they can still argue about some seriously petty situations. Lessening the chance of any sort of ill will from anyone involved in derby is a better way to spread the love to not-knowers of derby}

That being said, however, one would hope that if 15 of the 20 best skaters trying out ARE all from one league, then those 15 would be chosen. I imagine many skaters who didn't make the roster from other leagues might be irritated by this but if, in fact, the best are to be chosen then it shouldn't matter. Maybe this seems to contradict the above statements but in this situation I'm talking about selecting skaters for just ONE team and not four. I understand breaking it down into four geographic regions wouldn't make a damn bit of difference if this DID turn out to be the scenario (at least in the region with the 15 players).

4. It would have a positive impact on international teams, too, I believe, for them to know that there isn't one big bad USA team that will dominate.

5. Maybe could allow ANY skater (i.e. no restrictions that are currently placed on some players) to be able to try out. Can anyone enlighten me as to why these restrictions are in place?

6. More skaters and derby fans would feel involved and excited if they could recognize players they have either skated against or have watched skate. Getting fans excited about more 'local' teams with several skaters they are familiar with instead of just 1 or 2 they may have only heard of could/would have a huge impact on the success of this idea, increase loyalty to more skaters and the success of derby because we all know how competitive derby fans are.


Maybe in the future?

oh dear

in all honesty that is one of the stupidest ideas i have heard in a long time, yeah lets take the strongest nation and let them enter 4 times as many teams as anyone else, that way we can keep all the trophy's

well, i aim to please. and

well, i aim to please. and blowouts ARE fun.


"5. Maybe could allow ANY skater (i.e. no restrictions that are currently placed on some players) to be able to try out. Can anyone enlighten me as to why these restrictions are in place?"

What restrictions do you mean? Any skater is eligible to try out at one of the qualifiers; flat track, bank track, WFTDA, OSDA, retired, unaffiliated or otherwise.