How The West Was Won

Well, it’s officially official! The West Coast Dust Up tournament has announced their venue and competing teams! The event will be hosted at the Cloverdale Curling Rink in Surrey, BC and will feature the Anarchy Angels, the Terminal City Roller Derby All-Stars, and the Red Deer Roller Derby Association’s Belladonnas (who recently won the Women’s Competition at Flat Track Fever 2013). Also, making their roller derby debut is the Thompson Okanagan All-Star Team (T.O.A.S.T.), which features talented skaters from the Okanagan-Shuswap Roller Derby Association, the South Okanagan Roller Derby Association, the Okanagan Roller Derby Association, Revelstoke Roller Derby, and the Tournament City Derby Dolls.

With the West Coast Dust Up only 2 weeks away, Derby Frontier was fortunate enough to speak with Jeff Tichbourne, aka Noah Backtalk, the driving force behind the this exciting new event. Unlike other tournaments we have covered, through talking with Noah we discovered that this particular competition had a rather endearing story behind it.

Backtalk is a derby juggernaught of sorts. Not only has he experienced an incredibly rewarding career as a skating and non-skating official but he also plays for the extremely successful Vancouver Murder men’s team and he is currently coach of the Mainland Misfit derby league’s travel team, the Anarchy Angels (alongside his colleagues Stan DaSide and Gord Walker). It is no secret that many leagues were disappointed by the cancellation of the RDAC Western and Central Regional competitions, but for Noah it hit home particularly hard. He had spent a great deal of time preparing the Anarchy Angels for the tournament and the team had poured their hearts and souls into training. “Anyone that’s been watching the Angels for the past year will know the fast track they are on to success and it’s a hard road to travel down, but we’ve got the right women on the team and the right coaches in place,” Coach Backtalk explained. With the Anarchy Angel’s dreams of becoming 2013 National champions dashed, Noah quickly went into negotiations with Gundpowder Gertie of the RDRDA, who was itching to have the Belladonnas test their mettle against the Angels, in the hopes the two could at least set up a match between their clubs. As conversation ensued, one simply comment from Gertie changed everything: “Do you think we could get more than one game in while we’re in town?

Dust Up Poster

Thus the West Coast Dust Up was born! An impressive 2-day contest, featuring four Western Canada based leagues, organized by a passionate coach who simply wanted to give his team a truly memorable and enriching experience on the flat track. “Every action that led me to organize this tournament was for them,” said Backtalk. “It’s all so the Angels can learn and grow and take on the best and strongest teams around. I didn’t intend to replace the Western tournament but rather save my team from disappointment.” With the Belladonnas committing to a multi-game event, Backtalk quickly went about contacting some of the best competitors British Columbia could pit against their out of province guests. “I wanted to give the Belladonnas the best damn games I could. So TCRG was the obvious choice and through talks with Jo Lefluffy and Stephanie Dusel of OSRDA the whole idea of T.O.A.S.T. was brought to life.”  Aside from bringing together all of these leagues, and receiving tremendous support from a variety of individuals in the Western Canada derby community, Backtalk and the other organizers are thrilled to see both AMJ Productions and Canuck Derby TV getting involved in the tournament as well.

When all is said and done though, the real drive behind everything was a love for the sport. “It all came down to people wanting to play competitive derby,” said Backtalk. “Every team was willing to do this even if it meant no cameras, no audience, no frills. It’s really all about the sport, and maybe that’s where RDAC went wrong.”

If you are interested in volunteering, announcing, or getting a table for your business during the tournament contact Noah via email through noahbacktalk@gmail.com.

To get involved as a skating official, fill out the Google form HERE.

To get involved as a Non-Skating Official, sign up HERE.

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