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St. Louis roller derby league laces up for international competition

Left, Sarah “Bricktator” Arnosky and Brooke “Vicious van Gogo” Clark are the co-captains of Arch Rival Roller Derby.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio
Left, Sarah “Bricktator” Arnosky and Brooke “Vicious van Gogo” Clark are the co-captains of Arch Rival Roller Derby.";s:3:"u

Ranking fifth out of 400 leagues in the world is St. Louis’ own Arch Rival Roller Derby.

Established in 2005 and now reaching numbers near 100, this league has made a name for itself locally, but the skaters are ready to take that to the next level.

“We compete across the state [and country], and now we get an opportunity to compete internationally,” Brooke “Vicious van Gogo” Clark said on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Recently, the Arch Rival All-Stars qualified to compete at the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Playoffs in A Coruña, Spain from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2. Host Don Marsh spoke with the co-captains of the league, Clark and Sarah “Bricktator” Arnosky, about the sport and their upcoming competition.

“There are five skaters from each team on the track at a time, and the objective is to get your ‘jammer’ – the person who’s scoring the points – through the pack as many times as possible. So there’s a lot of offense and defense strategy,” Clark explained. “They win points by passing their opponents’ hips.”

After putting hours of hard work and dedication into practice at the Skatium in the Carondolet neighborhood, Clark said the All-Stars, the St. Louis league’s competitive team, has secured the top seed in the playoffs.

“The last five years or so, the team out of St. Louis has continued to climb in the rankings, so we’re at the highest we’ve ever been … and we’re not done,” Arnosky added. “Having that gold medal around our neck[s] would be more than anything we can dream of right now.”

The skaters estimate a total of $50,000 would make it possible to get 20 players to the Spanish track. While they’re more than half way to their goal, fundraising efforts are still in full-swing.

“I think there’s an element of roller derby that’s meant to be underground, so trying to really lean into that but also really get our name out there has this interesting tension,” Arnosky said.

For more information, visit archrivalrollerderby.com.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex HeuerEvie Hemphill and Caitlin Lally give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.


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Caitlin Lally is thrilled to join St. Louis Public Radio as the summer production intern for "St. Louis on the Air." With a bachelor's degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Caitlin also freelances for area publications like Sauce Magazine and the Belleville News-Democrat. In her career, she's covered topics such as Trump's travel ban, political protests and community activism. When she's not producing audio segments or transcribing interviews, Caitlin enjoys practicing yoga, seeing live music, and cooking plant-based meals.

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