There was a time when Roller Derby was the most watched TV sport in Canada and the USA.
That was in the 1940’s and 1950’s when the queens of the banked oval marketed themselves as Sass on Wheels.
During the coarse of any given night you could see pretty and some not so pretty girls and buff guys throwing elbows, pulling hair and delivering punches at high speed as they sped around an oval track, sometimes sending an opponent head over heals over the rail and right onto the laps of the front row of screaming fans.
Teams like the Brooklynites, Bay City Rollers, the Jammers, brought the same kind of attention as Gorgeous George, Bo Bo Brazil or Yukon Eric did for wrestling in those days.
But lately there has been a resurgence of the brutal mayhem that once attracted thousands of lathered up fans to venues like Madison Square Gardens or the Boston Gardens, and Six Nations residents caught a glimpse of a hole new generation of roller girls.
The New Directions group sponsored a night of Roller Derby action at the Gaylord Powless Arena, which was attended by around 200 curious or nostalgic fans.
New Directions worker Audra Taillefer set up the event which was only the honey to attract people to the arena where information and education booths were set up in the front lobby explaining the goals and purposes of New Directions as well as teaching parents and guardians what the latest thing to threaten their children is and how to deal with it.
“It seems everyone had a good time,” said New Directions’ Gail LaForme. “The older ones said it was nothing like the old Roller Derby.” But that may be a good thing.
There were many women and men who were maimed for life playing this brutal sport back in those days.
Today’s Roller Derby looks a lot like old-time Roller Derby but there are much better equipment standards and much less blood letting. The true sport of Roller Derby still exists with its team strategies and skillful skating and a lot of the excitement and showmanship remains as well.
There are several skaters in the sport today that hail from Six Nations and it has been talked about putting together a Roller Derby Team from Six Nations to join the many existing teams from Brantford, Niagara, Hamilton London and elsewhere.
Teams and leagues are popping up everywhere and not just in Canada and the United States.
There are teams playing in Japan, Chili, New Zealand, and Australia. In fact, there is 1483 Amateur Roller derby Leagues found worldwide.
Believe it or not, Roller Derby is the world’s fasted growing sport and has even attracted the IOC who is considering it as an Olympic Sport.
There is even an official Roller Derby Day celebrated every May 5th.
The Six Nations Whomp’Ems got the better of the Settler Allies at the Gaylord Powless Arena on August 10th. (Photos by David LaForce)
It was mayhem on wheels at the Gaylord Powless Arena last weekend as the New Directions Group sponsored an evening of Roller Derby at Six Nations. (Photos by David LaForce)