Preview: The Derby Ink Invitational
Modern roller derby history is happening this weekend in Harrisburg, PA. Starting Friday, the Modern Athletic Derby Endeavor (MADE), Love City Roller Derby, and the South Jersey Derby Girls are hosting the Derby Ink Invitational banked track roller derby tournament.
One of three parts of a larger tattoo/music/derby convention, Derby Ink is a three-day test featuring some of the most experienced men’s and women’s roller derby players, including many skaters that normally play in the WFTDA and MRDA. The inclusion of the men’s competition earns the Derby Ink the distinction of being the first major banked track open tournament featuring men, which will run in parallel with the women’s tournament.
The Derby Ink Invitational will also make history by featuring the largest overall cash purse for the winners. A total of $20,000 will be distributed to the four teams making finals. (This beats the $15,000 purse by the Pro Roller Derby Chicago Invitational in November 2011.) The winning men’s and women’s teams will each take home $8,000.
The event will also mark a milestone for MADE, as Derby Ink is the first banked track tournament they will be sanctioning in their history.
If you’re not familiar with MADE roller derby, here’s a quick history lesson: In 2006, not long after modern roller derby began to organize, players from the WFTDA and those playing old-school (OSDA) flat-track derby began to hook up, finding the more traditional way of playing the game to be a fun alternative. For the next few years, their numbers grew, and more scrimmages, mixers, and flat-track tournaments took place. In 2009, the group came together and formally created the Modern Athletic Derby Endeavor.
Being a MADE-sanctioned tournament, the Derby Ink Invitational will be played using MADE banked track rules. Weighing in at an astonishingly light five pages long, MADE rules describe gameplay that mirrors the style of roller derby played in the 1960s and 1970s, updated for modern play and aiming to highlight athleticism. (Hence the 'Modern' and 'Athletic' parts of the moniker.)
Here are some of the major points of MADE roller derby rules:
Jammers blocked out of bounds on the initial pass must recycle behind the pack to legally resume the pass
The format of the tournament will be two days of qualifying pool play, with each team playing in two 40-minute games. The four men’s and women’s teams with the best records will move on to the semis and finals on Sunday, where games will be the full 60 minutes.
Derby Ink organizers had initially announced that the finals of the tournament would be televised on Pay-Per-View, but those plans fell through. Instead, the entire tournament will be pay-streamed through Roller Derby Nation. A one-day streaming pass will be made available for $10, and the full three-day 17-game tournament can be accessed for $25. Friday games start at 12 PM EDT, weekend games at 11 AM EDT, with the final games starting at 5:15 PM EDT on Sunday.
Five men’s teams and six women’s teams have entered the Derby Ink Invitational. The participants are a mix of the most experienced and established MADE/OSDA leagues in the east, and a very impressive list of WFTDA and MRDA mixer teams—including Harm City, a Quadzilla-led MRDA all-star team, and everyone’s favorite banked track superteam, Team Bionic.