Roller derby is as American as apple pie. Maybe that's why Comcast SportsNet
, the Pacific Northwest's regional sports channel, is dedicating an entire week (July 28-Aug. 3) of prime-time programming to the rough n' tumble rowdiness. Roller Derby Week will kickoff on July 28 with two of the most iconic roller derby matches caught on tape—the 1973 battle royal between the Midwest Pioneers and Western Renegades, and the 1960 tussle between the San Francisco Bay Bombers and New York Chiefs.
Also on the docket is Roller Derby 101
, an hourlong documentary made by Comcast SportsNet which gives an in-depth look into the sport's history, rules, terminology and personal player profiles. The film includes footage from Portland's roller derby league—Rose City Rollers
. Rose City Rollers is an umbrella organization that coordinates bouts, tryouts, etc. Portland teams include: Axles of Annihilation, Guns N Rollers, Heartless Heathers, Break Neck Betties, High Rollers, Fresh Meat Team, The Rose Buds, and an all-star team called Wheels of Justice who travel all over the country to compete.
The film Kansas City Bomber
, starring Raquel Welch, Jodi Foster, Kevin McCarthy and Mary Kay Place, will play six times throughout the course of Roller Derby Week. Made in 1972, some of the film's scenes were shot inside Portland's Expo Center. Thirteen bouts will be broadcast, three date back to 1959, the rest are scattered throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
Full-contact roller-derby was invented in the United States during the 1930s and has since spread its wings and become popular in countries like New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
(Photo courtesy of Jules Doyle, Chris Barnes and Scott Engelhardt)