The Windy City Rollers All-Stars take on the best skaters from the L.A. Derby Dolls at the UIC Pavilion this Saturday to compete on a banked track, something the windy city has not seen in years. Kicking off at 7:00 p.m., the night will include a performance by "Less than Jake." The Los Angeles squad will also bring along an unforgiving 100' x 60' ring of Masonite, wood and steel-reuniting Chicago with the banked track. Something the Windy City Rollers All-Stars have yet to compete on (they compete on a flat-track).
Started in Chicago in 1935, roller derby flourished on the banked track as a co-ed sport before reaching a high point in 1972, when more than 50,000 fans watched the Chicago Pioneers take on the Los Angeles Thunderbirds at Comiskey Park. After fading from view, the sport resurfaced in the early 2000s as a grassroots DIY movement featuring all-female teams. Ticket prices range from 20 to 45 dollars.
Discussing the opportunity to bring together the banked-track and flat-track communities, L.A. Derby Dolls co-founder and president Rebecca "Demolicious" Ninburg said, "Because banked tracks are harder to transport, we don't get to experience being the visiting team nearly as often as our flat-track sisters. Red Bull Banked Jam is going to be the largest event we've ever participated in. It gives us the opportunity to bring banked-track roller derby to fans beyond Southern California."
"Chicago gave birth to roller derby and we're proud to represent the sport for our city," said Jamie "Varla Vendetta" Ramsay, one of two Windy City Rollers All-Stars captains. Asked how Red Bull Banked Jam differs from previous All-Stars competitions, Varla says, "That's easy: the bank. Our fans are familiar with our bruising defense and speedy jammers. Now add incline and gravity. It's a chance to see our team at a new angle, literally."
Because banked-track and flat-track rules differ, the teams will use regulations created by the World Organization of Roller Derby (WORD), largely mirroring the WFTDA rulebook while adding extra safety precautions.
Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com, prices range from 20 to 45 dollars. For tales from the team, go to redbullusa.com/bankedjam and follow their journey to the ultimate match.
The Windy City Rollers All-Stars vs L.A. Derby Dolls