The Big O Tournament Officially Retires
The Big O Tournament started from a desire to provide more opportunities for roller derby teams to play sanctioned games at a time when there just weren’t enough. It started out small, hosted at Emerald Roller Derby’s practice venue, with two sanctioned tracks and a challenge bout track. The Big O Committee had really big dreams about what a tournament could turn into if it was crafted for the skaters, by the skaters. After that first year, The Big O Tournament moved to the Lane Event Center which allowed us to run more than 30 sanctioned games on 3 tracks over 3 days.
The tournament took almost a full calendar year of planning to be sure the Big O provided the best game match-ups, officials, sponsorship opportunities to share our favorite derby brands, social media coverage for in the moment updates, a killer Vendor Village, online streaming of the games, an announcer crew, and a fun fan experience for those that got to come and share the magic in person in Eugene, Oregon. Over the years, the tournament had amazing highlights like being featured by ESPN, hosting Team USA, and even having a surprise wedding proposal (or two). After nine years, the Big O Committee had become a well-oiled machine of solid leaders who had each developed skills and expertise in their tournament ‘specialties’ and led with an unabated passion to improve each year and to make a more flawless experience than the previous year. That ninth year, 2019, the Committee agreed that the tournament was the smoothest production we had ever pulled off; we watched the final game that year on Track One with tears of pride in our eyes. As we wrapped up the 2019 tournament, we began to plan the 2020 Big O with ambitious ideas to fully celebrate our 10th anniversary!
Sadly, as the final preparations for the 10th year anniversary Big O were about to begin, the reality of the pandemic sank in. The Committee came together (virtually) to make the painful decision to cancel the 2020 tournament. Then in 2021, the Committee hosted a Virtual tournament, The Big “No”, as a way to keep in touch with the fans and hold space for a very special event for many people in the derby community. As we considered the Big O for 2022, roller derby, like much of the world, had not fully recovered from the shut down and the time did not feel right to resume the tournament. And given how far in advance it took to put together the Big O, it was difficult to anticipate when the right circumstances for such a global event would return.
So, after almost a decade of working to bring the best tournament on the planet, the Big O Committee has made the difficult decision to retire the tournament. We were honored to serve the roller derby community with this event and are forever grateful to the amazing production staff, volunteers, officials, skaters, teams & fans who supported the tournament over the years.
Thank you for coming!