first of all, Happy Holidays, i.e. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years, and Saturnalia


I have a lot to be thankful for in my life.

But today I will confine it to Roller Derby.

It has been a great thing for my life. I took over the game my father invented, and further developed it as a great entertainment for America, Canada, and Mexico. It was a business built to entertain the public, but along the way I met and employed some of the greatest men and women athletes that I could have known, was a real fan of the game and enjoyed with the audience the fury and excitement and speed of these great banked track skaters.

And I made a living! Actually not as good as when I became part of the ticketing industry, but at 26 I worked for myself and employed a hundred people, and saw America and met so many people in so many regions. Our games were seen on 110 tv stations, we played at (and sold out) all the major arenas and some of the major stadia. And I made one huge mistake: running this enterprise as a family business with no partners and when the economy sunk us, I had no one to turn to for additional resources, so I had to shut it down.

I am proud that all the skaters and employees were paid; we supplied all uniforms, skates, per diem and medical injuries coverage (paid while off), transportation and hotels when on the road….a decent salary for the 60’s and 70’s, and probably the first sport to have profit sharing for the employees…..when we shut down, the skaters and employees (to their surprise) received a payout of anywhere from $5000 to $60,000, depending on their pay scale and length of employment And our ticket prices: $1 to $3. Larry Smith started his business with his pay out…..some blew tens of thousands of dollars partying…and this was 1973.

So I went into the ticket distribution business (never scalping), and what I learned in promoting Roller Derby carried over into BASS Tickets and eventually Ticketmaster. And including Brown Paper Tickets (the best!), that covered the next 40 years of my work life.

So 10 years ago Gary Powers, after starting (and maintaining) the National Roller Derby Hall of Fame, hosted the 70th anniversary of Roller Derby dinner in Chicago, and who showed up for the evening but dewy-eyed Val Capone and the fledgling Windy City Rollers, and we all saw their game the next night, and that started a period of revitalization of my life and association with Roller Derby.

I felt so welcome and was invited to Rollercon in Las Vegas (and Judi provided over 300 pair of her Bonjour Fleurette flower slippers,featured on Sex and the City and Oprah), and Loretta Behrens and I addressed the attendees about the old and new days…..then I was invited to WFTDA nationals in Portland (my home and the home of my father, the creator of Derby and once again the welcome mat was out.

I was invited to the Bay Area Derby girls games and went when I could, and of course to Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Sacramento for area games. And the nationals in Chicago (where I had gone to college) were a real treat.

Then the bottom kind of dropped out with weird instances that I have no desire to relate. I found I was resented (and even hated) by some (most I didn’t know) because I represented THAT Roller Derby, I guess. When I got over the incident, I just continued on seeing and supporting the people in the game, and they know who I am and how I relate to today….I have over 12,000 friends and followers on facebook and twitter and many more on my blog.

But this is not about me and my travails. I have seen very specifically in the last few months statements by at least one person that I completely respect, that modern derby has no relationship to Leo or my game, and was created by the women as a flat track game that empowers women in sports…..and guess what, I have no argument with that. I have no claim on the game as it exists today. For whatever reason if that is important, then I gladly acknowledge what you believe……I guess I am surprised that the name Roller Derby was attached to the game.

But I am an individual who loves the sport my father created. I am a fan. If there are aspects I don’t enjoy, I will say them. Understand, I have no power to influence or change anything, but I do have the right to express myself.

roller derby is on the greatest growth spurt in recent years; the issue in many leagues appears to be decreasing attendance. I am not the enemy. I advise skaters. I would love to help everyone increase attendance and other aspects of the promotion of the leagues. That is one of my functions of work and the seminars at Rollercon. and why Brown Paper Tickets encourages me to work on community projects like the blood drives (in three major areas next year!).

You have every right to not like me or want to be a friend…but please make sure you are not tilting at windmills. I love you all.

rules of the game, 1970

Busiest Derby week of year, and Val on my mind


I have to say I will be pulling for the Bay Area Derby Girls in the Championships…..frankly, I don’t know if anyone can beat Gotham. It reminds me of what a prominent sportswriter said in the Sandy Koufax era: “He belongs in a higher league.”

As I gave blood Saturday at the BAD girls drive in San Francisco I was aware that they had a scrimmage that morning in Oakland in preparation for the regionals and wasn’t sure if they could make it; and they did, and we had a record amount of donations which put us over the top of last year with the help of the 9 Derby Leagues.

love them BAD girls: http://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=9XfEH4r8coE&u=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D_cAs891AD1s%26feature%3Dshare

BAD really came through, with appearances on CBS (if you missed them on channel 5, reporter Roberta Gonzales will be doing a special report on October 3, before our final drive date in Rohnert Park on October 18), and other promotions.

And last Saturday Val Capone was so much on my and everyone else’s mind as she continued her recovery from the horrible Crohns attack, but like the spoiled kid she is, she wanted to be at Riot Fest in Denver, and every other possible activity….good to hear she went to the Red Hots and Bruise Brothers scrimmage and did walking while there.

the one and only Val: https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/s640x640/10614265_840784379299560_389014403991346266_n.jpg?oh=04414350fa554c301e191b977dd7b63b&oe=54C94B3C&__gda__=1422091499_81baab9be07c12fc07a60b166c2c2446

I hope to see her at the men’s tourney in Seattle on October 17, if we both make it.

And I have to give Windy City great kudus for winning the most exciting game I have seen this year against a heavily favored Texas team, 176-173; and although they lost in the final game of the regional to London (what a powerhouse!), they and Texas will also be at the Championships…..don’t know if I will be going this year, I keep checking the mail.

And what a Roller Derby weekend coming up: On Saturday I am taking the publisher of the Petaluma Argus Courier (check out their website, quite an amazing publication) to see her first game, as the Resurrection Roller Girls take on Shasta from far northern California…..I was able to buy my tickets easily of course through Brown Paper Tickets.

And on Sunday, off to Stockton for the USARS Nationals……anxious to see Oly play again and the Pennsylvania all stars with V-Diva and, one of the most exciting teams I have ever seen in modern Derby. I will be presenting the Seltzer Cup (in honor of the man who invented this sport way back in 1935) to the eventual champion. And this may also be the first major exposure of coed play on live streaming.

They are probably the third choice, but my sentimental favorite has to be the Chicago Red Hots now with Kola Loka and Doc Josie…my friend D is on the squad and Fernando Regueiro is GM….but to me it is Val’s team…..I have to wear the Red Hot shirt so I am certain all will understand.

You all can watch on pay tv, check out the USARS page to find out the site…..for some reason, not a lot of free games on tv anymore…..you don’t appreciate what you have until you miss them.

Now someone tell me how I can get Leo to watch.

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.