The Sac City Rollers, Sacramento’s first all-women’s flat-track roller derby league, held its 2011 season home opener Friday night at Foothill Skate Inn in Sacramento. The event, billed as the Shamrock Slam, featured the Rude Girls versus the Sweaty Betties in an intra-league bout.
The Sac City Rollers league was established in January 2006 and includes over 100 active skaters. The league consists of traveling interleague teams the Capital Punishers and the Folsom Prison Bruisers, intraleague teams the Sweaty Betties and Rude Girls, and the Junior Derby League for girls ages 10 to 17.
The league’s competitive season runs from February to December and includes local and national bouts. This season wraps up with the Sac City Rollers-hosted Red Red Holiday Invitational on December 10, which will include skaters from over a dozen West Coast roller derby leagues.
The Sac City Rollers operates as a nonprofit, self-governed organization. League members volunteer their time and raise money for local and national charities, including the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, the Sacramento Children’s Home and the Saint Baldrick’s Foundation.
The event filled the 700-person capacity at Foothill Skate Inn, with 100 tickets available at the door on a first-come, first-served basis.
While roller derby is commonly associated with the late 1960s and early 1970s when it was more of a theatrical entertainment than a legitimate sport, it has undergone a grassroots revival starting in the mid-2000s. While extremely competitive, the theatrical side has continued to a certain degree as the players in many leagues skate under derby names that involve puns, innuendo and other wordplay. The playfulness and theatricality extends to team uniforms and many of the players’ identifying numbers.
A roller derby bout consists of two teams with five skaters each simultaneously on a circuit track. The teams are composed of one “jammer” (offense), three “blockers” (defense) and one “pivot” (starts as a blocker but can switch to jammer), each position distinguished by different helmet covers. A team scores points when its jammer passes members of the other team. The blockers and pivots attempt to assist their own jammer through the pack and to impede the progress of the opposing team’s jammer.
A bout consists of two 30-minute halves played as two-minute “jams” with 30-second breaks to reset play and substitute players.
The Rude Girls won the bout 146-121. The next Sac City Rollers league home bout will be a rematch of the two teams on April 9.
For a complete set of higher resolution photos, visit Rik Keller’s on-line photo gallery.