Roller derby’s origins date back to the 1930’s, beginning with bank track roller skating marathons, which were modified by promoter Leo Seltzman in the latter 1930’s to attract a larger crowd by including more skater contact. In the 1940’s professional roller derby had became wildly popular with its scripted bouts and flamboyant theatrics, but its popularity eventually waned. In the early 2000’s a derby revival took place and since then, it has become one of America’s fastest growing sports.
In 2004, 10 local women established the Atlanta Rollergirls, Atlanta’s only nationally competitive women’s flat track roller derby league, and they have sold out every bout since 2008. Modern roller derby is never staged as its vintage predecessor was, but it still retains the over the top personas and themed competitions that attracted so many fans in the past.
The Atlanta Rollergirls have four home teams, Apocalypstix, Denim Demons, Toxic Shocks and Sake Tuyas, a WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association) ranked all star team, the Dirty South Derby Girls which competes against the best roller derby teams in the nation and a developmental team called the Rumble B’s.
Atlanta’s roller derby offers something for everyone, from the hardcore derby fan to those looking for something different to experience. Each family friendly bout combines aspects of traditional sporting events like tailgating with half-time shows by local bands, alternative arts and crafts vendors, and door prizes.
The next Atlanta Rollergirls double header bout is July 21st at their home track located at the Yaarab Shrine Center, 400 Ponce De Leon Ave., Atlanta 30308. Doors open at 4:00 p.m., the first bout begins at 5:00 p.m., and the second bout starts at 7:30 p.m. There is plenty of free gated parking at the Yaarab Shrine Center and an overflow lot is located across the street. For more information and to purchase tickets go to www.atlantarollergirls.com.