Before I dive head first into this recap, I need to make an important note. It temperature fell below freezing on Thursday night– about 20 degrees to be exact (according to multiple sources, including the 11pm nightly news, and my sad, numb, body). So definite street cred goes to all the participants for braving the weather–and to the crowd for being amazing troopers.

Let the recap begin.

With the cold weather came lots and lots of ice. Dangerous ice if you’re supposed to be doing anything on it other than avoiding it–and so much of the set up began on slippery ground with lots and lots of salt and the hope that it’d melt away our troubles quickly. It didn’t. Right before the battle began, we had not one, not two, but three short power outages. Maybe the Double Dutch gods were testing our commitment…but we showed them, quickly got the power back (all three times) and commenced the 2nd Annual Double Dutch Street Battle!

With MC JT and Ref Ryan Stark smoothing out the kinks, the judges and the teams were introduced. Judge Tim Healion, Judge Marji, Judge Clint, and Judge David got serious and down to business as all five competing teams were introduced–Animal Liberation Jump, Quantum Leapers, Bandidas, Miracle Rodeo Princesses, and the reigning champs, The Tight Ropes.

Holy Cow. Let me just say Animal Liberation Jump upped the ante this year and started the battle off right. All dressed in black and ready to intimidate, the Liberation Jumpers had many a worthy trick, including various jump rope within the jump ropes (always a crowd pleaser and very tricky to master). The also conquered the only “push-up” trick in the whole competition—and they did it twice, with two different jumpers. Incredible? Oh yes. But they didn’t stop there—and their next trick melted the hearts of everyone there—as 4 month-old Baby Danger was gently helped over the ropes, accomplishing a first in the history of the entire world. Someone check this out, but I’ll stand by it until proven otherwise—as I’m pretty dang sure that Baby D is the first person ever to double dutch before learning how to walk or talk, quite a feat.

Next up were the extremely qualified and quick-footed Quantum Leapers. Emerging from the crowd dressed like wonderful circus freaks, they crept on to the center stage to charm the ropes into existence. Full of energy and hype, highlights included the self-titled tricks—360 Cannonball and the Radical Badical Rad Dad—in addition to the Double-time Double-Jump and the leap over the twirler’s head into the ropes trick. But the absolute smash was presented in the form of a surprise banana attack, as a jumper changed into a banana costume IN THE ROPES and danced and jumped his little banana heart out. That one should be talked about for years to come. Then, if that wasn’t surprise enough, half of the Quantum Leapers formed an impromptu drum-line and rat-a-tat-tatted their way to the finish.

On deck were the Bandidas. The stretched out ropes became railroad tracks as two menacing bandits trotted from the crowd carrying a poor tied-up western lass over their shoulders and draped her over the tracks to meet her fate. Luckily (and cue the awesome ragtime music), she was rescued by some true Virginia City lookin’ folk—and the rad jumping began. With pistols and amazing outfits, the Bandidas re-created exactly what a Double Dutch battle at the Bucket o’ Blood Saloon circa 1850 might have looked like. Because all photographic evidence of these early battles have been lost, the Bandidas stellar performance is as close as we’ll ever come to those wild west jump rope showdowns.

Segueing perfectly, the Miracle Rodeo Princesses were up next. As a jumper in a sequin-bedecked white jumpsuit grabbed the mic and asked if we were ready to RODEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOO, the crowd whooped and hollered with glee. Galloping out of the crowd with stick horses, they got down to business. Line dance moves like you’ve never seen before, kicks and tricks, and pure unbridled energy. With awesome music—reminding us there’s a little country in us all—mixed with some Ghetto Superstar, these Rodeo Princesses pulled off the Texas Star, multiple gymnastic moves (I think I saw both a round-off and an handspring into the ropes), some yee-haw moves you’re sure were invented on a dude ranch in west Texas, the jumprope in the jumprope trick-BACKWARDS!, and much, much more. White jumpsuit jumper provided insane spectacle and many kept their eyes glued on him as he danced and strutted and screeched his way through the wonderful routine.

With bated breath (that upon exhale was seen clearly in the 15 degree weather), we awaited the reigning champs—The Tight Ropes. Bursting through a spray painted Tight Ropes paper sign (picture your favorite football movies here), they again showed us the crazy skills that made them last year’s battle winners. Making double dutch look almost too easy, they executed some brand new tricks that got the crowd cheering wildly. My favorites included Pea’s jump under K-dron while in the ropes, the jump rope in the jump rope trick–WITH TWO JUMPERS, and the fancy footwork that each of the Tight Ropes seem to possess naturally. Jumper Glint did the fake arm trick in the ropes—an old party trick of eleven year olds everywhere—and later lead an 80s-style dance routine featuring all the Tight Ropes in formation showcasing some awesome aerobics-style dance moves.

And with that the half-time show ensued featuring the tough as nails all-girl roller derby squad—the Battle Born Derby Demons. The did a mini-bout and there was definitely some blood shed on the track. The teams this time were Naughty and Nice, and word has it Naughty won.

After half-time, the Miracle Rodeo Princesses and the Tight Ropes squared off in a Double Dutch Dual. They had two minutes to give their all and convince both the crowd and the judges to award them the Golden Ropes. The Miracle Rodeo Princesses pulled off more wonderful line-dance inspired moves while the White Jumpsuited jumper took the opportunity to distract the judges by stripping down to his underwear and climbing onto the judges table—only to jump off into the ropes! A worthy distraction indeed. The Tight Ropes, ever precise, landed more of their carefully executed tricks and moves—keeping the ropes moving and jumpers moving in and out the entire time.

After the judges conferred and listened carefully to audience response, a representative from each team met Judge Healion in the middle. He raised an arm from each of representatives up in victory—there was a TIE! Which means, of course, Double Dutch Showdown Tie-breaker Battle in spring.

Emic and Locus closed the night in style. And everyone went home to get warm. Nice work jumpers, judges, MC JT, Ref Ryan Stark, DJ J. Lee Vineyard. See you next year.

Check out some video footage from ClarissaLeon here: 2007 Double Dutch Battle