Kansas, the Wheeled Giant Killers and More on the Texas Shootout

Kansas City Roller Warriors roll to victory at the world flat track championship.

They may not have won the championship, but it was an undoubted victory for the Texas Rollergirls when they hosted this weekend's Women's Flat Track Derby Association championship, the Texas Shootout, at the Austin Convention Center with it being a roaring success. With fans and teams flying in en masse from as far away as Seattle and New York (the Windy City Rollers cheering section blew in from Chicago late Friday in their hundreds), it's undoubted that the homegrown phenomenon has gone national.

Topping and tailing the weekend, the Kansas City Roller Warriors were the first on the track on Saturday morning, and the last off the track Sunday. The difference was, by then they were holding the national title.

Ranked No. 4 in the West, Kansas had pulled the surprise upset of the weekend on Saturday by taking a 116-101 win over Eastern top seed the Gotham Girls. They then pushed past the Carolina Roller Girls (who had their own first-round giant-killing moment with a seven-point victory over Tucson) for their place in the final against Seattle's Rat City.

Yes, no Texecutioners in the final. The current champs were relegated to third after taking a skin-of-the-teeth controversial loss to Seattle earlier that day. Much of the crowd thought the Rats had lived up to their name in a rougher-than-regular bout that saw Lady X sidelined with a pulled muscle after a hard impact. But there was also questionable ref'ing, and a clearly frustrated Texas team seemed to let the combination of elbows and missed calls get to them – so much so the coach was barred from trackside. Of course, this made it all the sweeter when they and Carolina duked it out clean and classy for third, and then when everyone in TXRG colors became honorary warriors for the last match-up.

The final was still close-run, since Seattle were a strong team: but sweeping personnel changes in the white-and-black, and an almost completely new set of refs' eyes, meant that Rat City started piling on almost as many penalties as they did points. With some very smart jamming and great calls, Kansas locked down their nail-biting four-point lead with less than a minute to go and cruised home 85-89.

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