Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy Anniversary Roller Derby!

Old School Derby Association informs us that yesterday marked the 73rd anniversary of the first Roller Derby, held in Chicago in 1935.

Hell on wheels was graciously brought forth by a gentleman named Leo Seltzer, who after reading a magazine article that said 93% of Americans had, at one point in their life, roller skated decided to launch the sport.

Seltzer's first iteration of Roller Derby had folks skating around an oval track for as many as 11-hours, in marathon races meant to simulate the 3000-mile distance between Los Angeles and New York.

The distance was quickly scaled back and the team concept was also adapted. The ruthlessness has always been encouraged, with five minute sprint races - which often saw elbows being thrown and collisions taking place - being inserted during the early derbies for extra prize money.

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