Breaking News: All meet to work together to assure future of Roller Derby


I never thought it would happen, and I don’t know how they managed to keep it quiet…..there were so many involved.

It was at the Palmer House in Chicago Saturday and Sunday.

There were the heads of WFTDA, USARS, MADE, MRDA, JRDA (including Claire Ashcroft from the UK!), and a rep from Renegade Derby. And reps from Roller Derby in Australia, Canada, UK, Brazil, Mexico, Sweden and I am not sure where else. And of course April Ritzenhaler from TXRD and Demolicious from LADD.

Val wasn’t there, but I saw Juanna Rumbel; Jane Hammer and Demanda Riot; Suzy; Lara Irons (Hot Wheels); Sandi Mustang Johnson (the troublemaker): Elle Hoar (who has put together a regional league in Canada); Tony Muse; Justice Feelgood Marshall; Szerdi Nagy(South Africa); Angie Kls from France; Elektra Q Tion; Ivanna S Pankin; Brandy Rettig; Teresa TC Miller; Carly Marie; from original Derby: Loretta Behrens, Judy Arnold, Cliff Butler, John Hall, all of whom have worked in training modern Derby skaters (I guess Buddy Atkinson, Jr couldn’t make it); Debbie Rice, Mark Weber, and Quadzilla from Rollerjam and today, and more….sorry I can’t list you all.

and the purpose of the conference (believe it or not!): to all work together to present a combined front in 2015 so that the Game would work for all; leagues big and small, the fans, and of course, the skaters.

On hand to serve as chairwoman and chairperson: Mia Hamm and Andy Dolich. Mia of course brought women athletes to the forefront with her abilities in the Olympics (and did a lot for sports bras also). Andy, the former marketing and operating head for the Oakland Athletics, Golden State Warriors, and consultant to the 49ers now heads his own sports firm and has always recognized the potential of Roller Derby. And Marsha Jordan from ABC TV Chicago and other members of the press were there, including Robin Graves, Vic “Moxie”, Five on Five, and Hit and Miss, and Rollin’ News.

Also there as observers and possible contributors, Windyman, Bob Noxious, Judi Flowers,Erin “Lucy dynamite” Loggia, Donna “The Hot Flash” Kay,  Bill Yates, Frank Deford and others.

there was a general session on Saturday morning, defining the areas to be covered: rules, operating standards, marketing, officiating, and more. Then there were breakout sessions: Rules to try to combine the best (from the skaters and fans view) rules to make the game more accessible: should jams be 1 minute, 90 seconds, 2 minutes long? Should all skaters be permitted to block at all times? how could the rules be simplified for less penalties, should there be a limit on scoring an any play? Should there be different levels of rules depending on the quality of the leagues? As you can see, a very difficult agenda.

One group was dealing with the problem of supersaturation in market areas: could leagues be combined? should there be mini leagues in geographical areas to increase fan interest? and of course more.

Another was focused on marketing, ticket sales, and merchandising, with Bob Noxious and Judi Flowers and Andy Dolich lending their expertise.

There was a wonderful dinner in the Empire Room Saturday night, sponsored of course by Scott Riegelman of Riedell…..and everyone got along so well…there appeared to be great progress. There were to be two more breakout sessions on Sunday, and then the final gathering Sunday afternoon to try to present and vote on actual procedures to be put in place.

I was seated between Hot Wheels and Szerdi Nagy; suddently I couldn’t hear anything because of the incessant barking.

And that damn Bishop woke me up….

an unknown story, why blood transfusions may be the reason Roller Derby is here today.


Brown Paper Tickets Blog.

When you click the link above, you will get the information you need about the blood drives in Northern Califrnia that start this week. And just added, September 6 in San Jose with SVRG.

But what you don’t know is the reason the drives are so important to me personally……and how it could have affected you.

Back before Roller Derby was created by my father I became very ill with violent dysentery, at just 6 months of age.

The doctors were puzzled….no treatment seemed to work.

Obviously no computers, centralized data……I was dying and they didn’t know why.

Dr. Bilderback checked all the symptons and came up with the correct analysis: I had somehow contracted the only recorded case of cholera in Portland, Oregon, in the past 50 years. Antibiotics were not in general use, and one treatment that was necessary was blood transfusions. Well, unlike today the only method was directly from one person to another (thank you, Red Cross and other blood banks). They searched frantically for a match, and it turned out to be Buster, the son of my dad’s partner in movie theaters in Portland.

I recovered of course. They weren’t certain how my life expectancy would be affected (Ha, lol). My father who had flown to Portland from Chicago was able to return, and I will post on my facebook page a photo of the telegrams that my uncle sent to my father about my continuing progress.

So, if I died, would my father have stayed on the road with Walkathons and eventually created the skating game? I honestly doubt it…. and carrything the thought further, if he had, and I wasn’t around to continue it in 1959, would enough people have even been aware to think it would be a wonderful thing to be what it is today for both women and men.

If you are in the Bay Area I want you to choose one of the dates above, register and give this life-saving gift; over 660 lives saved last year when Brown Paper Tickets, The Amercian Red Cross and Roller Derby came together to start these drives. I can honestly say, there has never been a company like Brown Paper Tickets and thank William Jordan, Steve Butcher and all for their commitment to the good of the community.

And at Rollercon over 80 leagues indicated their desire to extend this program nationally…..and you all will hear from us to get even more involved (something you may not know: over 750 leagues used Brown Paper Tickets in the last two years, and the company could care less if you use us or not when it comes to helping our communities).

The story does not have a completely happy ending; Dr. Bilderback misdiagnosed my mother the same year and did not recognize breast cancer. In spite of my father’s efforts, taking her to the Mayo clinic and elsewhere for treatment, she died in March 1942. Sorry, I would have rather she survived than Roller Derby.

Pleae register today, at http://www.redcross.org, keyword “Derby”.

Introducing Roller Derby wife #4


Carly Marie – Cover Photos.

So many great things about Roller Derby: one of the most fun – yet very real – the “tradition” of Derby wives.

I didn’t skate in Derby but have been fortunate enough to have “married” three very wonderful and inspirational women.

Each has very special place in the Game.

#1 The legendary Val Capone. She skated for the Windy City Rollers for 10 years, currently skates for the Chicago Red Hots. She supports, announces, coaches, and is chief cook and bottle washer for all things Derby….she goes anywhere in the world to support the game and its participants. She introduced me to modern Derby in 2005, we were married in 2011.

#2 Lori Milkers (Limb’r Timb’r). An innocent victim of horrible domestic abuse and beating that almost killed her. She has recovered, recently received her Master’s degree at virtually the same time her daughter was receiving her BA. Her courage has been an inspiration to Derbyites worldwide. She still has three more restorative surgeries ahead; she won’t be able to attend Rollercon this year. She was a reason that Derby against domestic violence was formed, now with over 2600 members. Our ceremony was in 2012.

#3 Donna “thehotflash” Kay. She returned to skating at 52, trained and formed no-drama leagues in Seattle and consulted elsewhere. beat breast cancer two years ago (two mastectomies) and came back to skating. She was instrumental in the formation of Derby over 40, now with over 4200 members worldwide. Our nuptials were last year.

So I have asked, and she has accepted: Domin8tricks to become Derby wife #4.

She is reflective of what many of you have had to overcome to join this worldwide venture; she has really done it to the extreme.

Because of family abandonment she took to the streets at a very young age, facing a terrible and virtually life ending existence for three years. She went from 230 pounds to a little over 80, and in a recovery room in the emergency ward of a hospital made the decision to live. She has changed her life with the assistance of her boyfriend and loving grandparents.

She is young and recently passed her skills tests with the Soonami Slammers in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada.

She is now in extreme fitness training (for competition) and is so devoted to Derby that she journeyed to Los Angeles to skate one afternoon on the LA Derby Dolls banked track and to Chicago to meet with Val, Fernando, and Deanna of the Chicago Red Hots.

She is an amazing determined young woman, and a credit to the game she is just entering. You may meet her at the Brown Paper Tickets booth on Thursday morning or at our ceremony (with 500 other couples) Saturday night, July 26th, at the top of the Riv. And to see her photo, click on the link at the top of the page.

And I can’t say that I won’t do it again next year……so many wonderful women out there.

Modern Roller Derby not limited to the game.


I am not certain if Derby today is a microcosm of society or a different world of its own.

I am what would be called at fraternities and sororities,  a legacy.

My father invented the game, I promoted it, so I have some kind of association with the 2000 leagues and the people in them.

There are some who feel I really don’t have any,  but we are ignoring them for today.

so I have the unofficial title of The Commissioner, and when I show up at most games, tournaments, I am greeted warmly because to many I represent the history of one of America’s 3 sports, created by an American.  And I feel that I try to live up to the respect shown.

I have been part of the creation and/or development of sites that are helping many who need help; I am so delighted to be with Brown Paper Tickets, a company that is more interested in creating interest and developing clients than mere profit.

And they have supported the American Red Cross/Brown Paper Tickets/Roller Derby blood drives that we hope to expand across the country (see us at Rollercon); no profit there except saving hundreds of lives, and the leagues have responded so wonderfully.

I also when I can try to mentor those who contact me when appropriate.  I have so many close friends in so many parts of the world that I am in touch with on a regular basis  (my own time, not BPT’s).  Some have to do with skating, a lot doesn’t.

I kind of hate it when my role with them is ended; they can move on with their lives, but it is inevitable.

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And this is what modern Derby has given to me:  the very human touch of being part of something at far beyond the time one would expect.

I hope to see you at Rollercon, or the World Cup in Dallas, or wherever we meet.  I probably have more Derby love than anyone has a right to expect.