Do You Roller Derby?
Roller derby was created in 1935 by Leo Seltzer, a Chicago promoter who was looking to increase business for the Chicago Coliseum.
Roller derby is one of only two sports to be created by an American, the other being basketball. At its height in the early 1970s,
roller derby was played to sold-out crowds at stadiums across the U.S. Roller Derby has been continued its' popularity over the
years and is an event that continually thrills and delights audiences. If you are not familiar with roller derby, well, it is
probaly time you should be. This rough and tumble action involves roller skaters, predominantly female, competing on an oval track
at break-neck speeds. What better way to spend your evening than to watch gorgeous, athletic girls crashing into one another at
A roller derby match is comprised of two teams normally of five players each: four blockers and one jammer. Points are scored when the jammer breaks through the rest of the pack, skates ahead to rejoin the back of the pack, then attempts to jam through once again scoring a point for each opponent passed. The jammer has 60 seconds to score. The game consists normally of two halves, each half has two 12-minute periods. The Blockers skate together in a formation known as a Pack. The Blockers' job is to stop, obstruct or force the opposing Jammer out of play to prevent her from scoring, while at the same time assisting their own Jammer. Play begins when one of the refs signals the Pack to begin moving. Once the last Pack member travels 20 feet from the starting line, another signal is whistled to start the Jammers. This is when the official Jam begins and the action heats up quickly.
The Los Angeles circuit is one of the most notable in the country and is comprised of several all-girl teams with their own unique brands of mischief. The L.A. Derby Dolls are Los Angeles' original women's quad-skate roller derby league. Founded in October 2003 by Rebecca Ninburg (a.k.a. Demolicious) and Wendy Templeton (a.k.a. Thora Zeen), the L.A. Derby Dolls are a league of more than 60 women divided into four teams who enjoy administering pain on a regular basis throughout the year. The four teams are Fight Crew led by Captain Myna Threat, Sirens Roller Derby Squad led by Puncherello, Tough Cookies led by Iron Maiven and the Varsity Brawlers led by Juana Beat'n. The matches are very popular amoung Angelinos. Catching one these brawls is an event that should not be missed. This weekend, January 24, Fight Crew goes head to head with the Tough Cookies in what will surely be an unforgetable bout. The matches are held in the Doll Factory in Thai Town just outside of Downtown LA. The events are for 21 and over.
The OC Roller Girls, based in Orange County, is another bone-crushing roller derby league to be aware of. Founded by Heather Shelton (aka Disco Dervish), OC Roller Girls are skater-owned and operated, dedicated to leading the growing sport of women's flat track roller derby. This league also consists of four teams: The Back Bay Bombshells, Huntington Heartbreakers, Psycho-Ex Girlfriends and the Anaheim Aces. The season opener on January 31, pits the Back Bay Bombshells against the Psycho-Ex Girlfriends.
January 2005 saw the rise in Houston of women's genuine flat track roller derby. Run for the skaters by skaters, the Houston Roller Derby, a league consisting of four teams as well. The Burlesque Brawlers, Psych Ward Sirens, Machete Betties and the Bayou City Bosses. The leages was inspired by the nation-wide revival of roller derby as an athletic sport. The ladies of Houston Roller Derby spent the year of 2005 training hard providing Houstonians with there first glimpse of roller derby demolition bouts. The girls are now embarking on their fourth season with great anticipation from locals. They will also be touring the country, Atlanta, Kansas, Austin, New Orleans and Philadelphia, administering their unique brand of pain on other leagues.
The gates of hell opened in November 2004 when The Dallas Derby Devils hit the Dallas scene. This group of bad-ass roller derby females are the original DFW roller derby league with a current roster of 90 or so active skaters, making them the largest flat track derby league in the South; currently there are more than 206 leagues around the world. When the Devils play, it's a full-contact, hard-core extravaganza; with a focus on athleticism, sportsmanship, and community involvement. Along with their regular home season, the Dallas Derby Devils All-Star Travel Team has hosted numerous interleague bouts between the Angel City Derby Girls (Los Angeles, CA), Duke City Derby (Albuquerque, NM), Rocky Mountain Rollergirls (Denver, CO), Green County Rollergirls (Tulsa, OK), Tornado Alley Rollergirls (Oklahoma City, OK), North West Arkansas Rollergirls (Fayetteville, AR), Texas Rollergirls (Austin, TX), and Houston Roller Derby (Houston, TX). The Devils also took their game on the road and traveled outside of Texas to Baltimore, MD to take on the Charm City Rollergirls and to Boston, MA to bout against the Boston Derby Dames.
If you have never experienced a flat track roller derby bout, now is the time. Check online from time to time at StubDog.com for discounted tickets to bouts in Dallas/Ft Worth, Houston and Los Angeles. You will never look at roller skating the same way again.