This weekend in St. Paul, the best of the best in the derby world are convening at the 2015 WFTDA Championships. There will be sales of the newest skate boots, fresh elbow pads and quippy T-shirts. At the end, through all of it, one team will take home the Hydra – the ultimate accomplishment in the D1 derbyverse.

And as these top competitors are coming together, so are the top officials. The best referees, non-skating officials and stats junkies are taking the floor with stopwatches poised and pencils at the ready. Without them, there would be no championships.

Joining (and leading) those ranks are some of the Cincinnati Rollergirls’ fearless veteran members of Officials Union Local 513: Stabby McNeedles (left), Sod Off (below right) and Rabid Derby Fan (below left).
At the helm of the tournament is Stabby, a Level 5 WFTDA-certified NSO with countless games under her belt. Everywhere she goes, you’ll find a flurry of (perfectly organized) paperwork. She powers her crews with mouthwatering baked goods and delivers her pre-game meetings with a dry sarcasm edged with unmatched wit.

Hitting the floor as well is Sod Off, a Level 4-certified NSO whose relentless pursuit of bettering standards and improving communication helped her rise to the position of the 513’s Co-Head NSO, and Rabid Derby Fan, a Level 2-certified NSO with an impressively vast knowledge of derby history.
Sod Off and Rabid Derby Fan are almost never seen apart. Married for years, they’re hilarious off the track, but once the first whistle blows, they’re all business until the final second.

These are only three of a bevy of individuals who stand watch over all WFTDA-sanctioned games, fighting for accuracy and accountability. But when it comes to the Super Bowl of roller derby, nothing less than the best will do.
As computers and televisions all across the world stream what is to be another buzzed-about derby game, those who know these officials will be looking for their familiar faces. After all, excellence at all levels will be front and center.
“Stabby and Sod have had quite an impact in my time as an NSO. Their training and vast knowledge of the sport has molded me into the NSO I am today and has made me truly consider trying to become certified by WFTDA,” said 513 NSO Moxy Powers.
It’s not uncommon to hear that the dedication of these two women in particular has changed someone’s course as an official. Rabid Derby Fan expanded on his sentiments toward Stabby:
“In the last couple years, she has made a huge effort whenever possible to staff me in positions for practices and games that are strategic and help me reach the goals I’ve set. Sometimes she even pushes me a little to stretch and, although uncomfortable at first, it has really helped me get better. It means a lot to have someone thinking about you, supporting, coaching and helping along the way.”
Big Tasty, Head NSO of the Cincinnati Junior Rollergirls, also credits his involvement to Stabby and Sod.
“When I first decided to become an official, it was primarily to help my daughter’s junior derby team. I figured I’d assist with a few games here and there and that would be it,” he said. “When I got to the first practice with Stabby and Sod, I was amazed at how serious they were about being NSOs. I never realized how much care and preparation went in to making a practice or game day successful.
“From Sod’s seemingly bottomless never-ending bag of supplies (sure, I have an extra whiteboard you can use) to Stabby’s patient explanations on how a specific rule applies in a specific situation (overtime jams, anyone?), I quickly realized that these two were something special. Their obvious professionalism forced me to want to be better at what I do. Cincinnati has the best officiating crew I’ve encountered in the last few years. Hands down, that is attributed to Sod and Stabby.”
That steady kind of patience is what has catapulted these officials to the top. But unlike the new faces that take the track every year, they will only continue to improve upon their knowledge and move forward. There are no strategical errors in sight.
“Sod and Stabby are both Hall of Fame-level officials,” said Head Announcer and Production Director Thadd Scott. Their professionalism in every aspect of their game-day duties is second to absolutely no one. CRG is privileged to have them.”
Click here for more information on how to watch the final day of WFTDA Championships (Sunday, Nov. 8) on ESPN3.
For more information about the Officials Union Local 513, visit their Facebook page or email [email protected].
-Karli Hustle
Photo credits: Jeff Sevier and Jason Bechtel