Rollercon 2015: banked track, 3 birthdays, ending Roller Derby Wars


I have really been remiss in posting here….but so much going on.

Going to my seventh Rollercon, certainly a highlight of the year. It is no secret I loved banked track Derby; after all my family started it, I grew up with it and it was the game when we became a national favorite, sneaking up on established sports with over 15 million watching on television weekly, and over 3,000,000 attending games yearly.

All Leo Seltzer wanted was his game to survive, become a nationally played sport, and be in the Olympics. When he died in 1978 he no longer even talked about it. His creation had disappeared.

And then you all came around…..starting from one league in Texas (that word is kind of misused; they actually had, and still do, 4 teams in TXRD), and transferred to flat track by one very creative league (Texas Rollergirls) till today when there are 1853 listed leagues in the world. (check out the amazing website by Sam Santos, http://www.derbylisting.com).

So that brings us to Rollercon, which has to be the mecca for everyone in the game to journey at least once…..over 5000 from virtually everywhere will cram the Westgate in Las Vegas July 22 till 26, all created by Ivanna S. Pankin and friends. (get down on your knees and give thanks). And check out the master schedule at Rollercon.com for whatever you want to do.

9 tracks this year for training and games and one banked track! And the most amazing games ever are scheduled…..most are created for the event, and you might learn a lot from that fact alone. Skaters regardless of rule set, age, or geography playing for fun. Have you lost the fun in the game? Is it less fun for spectators to pay and watch? That may be one of the most important considerations for your team, league, whatever.

Bob Noxious and I will go there in our marketing seminar Friday at 1:30 at Rollercon….not just advertising, promotion, ticketing, but making your games events…..and fun!

And there really are more than three birthdays, but the especially noticeable ones are Rollercon and WFTDA’s 10th year, and the 80th birthday of the game itself. We will celebrate it at the Brown Paper Ticket booth on Thursday the 23rd at 3:30 with cake and juice, and stars of the past: Judy Arnold, Frank Macedo, and Hiroshi Koizumi on hand, and some stars of today: the immortal Merby Dick Roche, who at 75 is in his fifth year with his team (league?). There will be some surprises on hand also.

The game is thriving, but in reality the world doesn’t know or fully accept it. Instead of fighting amongst the rule sets, why not all join in figuring a way to really broaden the base to the general public and make certain that what you are presenting can be appealing to a non-derby affiliated audience. Unfortunately, when you are charging admission, you are competing with other forms of entertainment, and to survive you have to keep the fans you have and grow the attendees. as I said, Bob and I will address that as part of the larger picture.

This is more than a game to the majority of you; you are not paid, you sacrifice your time and money. But the huge reward is a world that most do not know or understand, a kinship that extends far beyond the game, team or league. Somehow you must let the world see that.

And please come by the booth and give The Commissioner a hug. It is what keeps me going and coming back.

It is blood drive season for Roller Derby….initial dates and leagues!


This year it will be Northern California and the Northeast.

Following is unofficial list of scheduled Brown Paper Tickets/American Red Cross/Roller Derby blood drives…..and at least 4 more Massachusetts dates will be added….keep checking:

August 2, Worcester (Ma) Roller Derby; August 8 Sonoma County Roller Derby, Santa Rosa; August 10 Santa Cruz Derby Girls; August 21, Quad City Derby Bombshells (Livermore); Aug 30, Connecticut Roller Girls (Trumbull); Sept 5 Resurrection Derby Girls (Rohnert Park); Sept 5 Peninsula Roller Girls (Redwood City), Sept 12 Undead Bettys (Antioch); September 19 /B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls, San Francisco.

Check with the league closest to you and please donate; every donation can save up to 3 lives.

for updates on infromation and locations and leagues that will be added, please go to http://www.community.brownpapertickets.com/MakeEmBleed. And redcross.org

Can Northern California or New England get the most donors? Stay tuned.

About Suzy Hotrod


Jerry Seltzer:

This is just as true today (and maybe more so) as when it was written two and a half years ago…..your sport is competing for the entertainment dollar, and just maybe you should do what is suggested.

Originally posted on RollerDerbyJesus.com:

I really don’t know Suzy that well.  We have met and talked on several occasions but are not really close friends.  But there is really something about her that portends well for the future of the game (and obviously I am not the only one to see that.)

Suzy is taller than you think, obviously very strong, and a hell of a skater and, very importantly, very charismatic.  If I were to compare her to skaters of my day, you would automatically think of  Ann Calvello because of the aura around her.   However, she is a much better athlete than Ann, and remember that showmanship was a big part of our game  –  and Ann portrayed it to the max.  Probably the one woman skater I admired the most for her agility and physicality was Judy Arnold, and she didn’t stay with us that long.ann

It is hard to…

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