Seeking Information on Chicago Roller Derby History

By | February 19, 2015


If you have any articles, images or memories of roller derby history, particularly Chicago roller derby history, please share. For as huge as it was in its heyday, I’m having challenges finding information.

I did get a few responses to a previous article about roller derby in Chicago but I need more. All help is appreciated.

FYI – I haven’t given up on my site or my roller skating research. My attention is now on selling my book, 62 Blog Posts to Overcome Blogger’s Block, which was published in January 2015. If you are a blogger or know other bloggers, be sure to purchase a copy when you get a chance.

As for my roller skating book, I have a goal completion date of 2015 but I need help with the research. If you know of any grants or sponsorship opportunities, please let me know.

Image: Bellasarah

3 thoughts on “Seeking Information on Chicago Roller Derby History

  1. Robert

    Google: Roller Derby History Chicago; there should be more than enough to either complete your search or act as a springboard for more

  2. John Knight

    Since you talked about Roller Derby I’ll skip forward a few years and go into my Roller Derby Experiences. After Viet Nam and physical therapy I met Gene Kelly the actor who was originally from Pittsburgh, Pa. Driving him around for over a week opened a new life for me and changed how I looked at opportunity. 6 months after meeting him I received a phone call and was on my way to Alameda, CA for a meeting with him and a film studio. I was put on a banked track and never looked back, trained by Buddy Atkinson Sr., Lou Donavan, Bill Groll and others I became a defacto member of The International Roller Derby League, while waiting for the original Rollerball, with James Caan the director Norman Jewison suggested I skate with the pro teams until filming would commence. So I was from Pittsburgh Pa, they put me with the New York Chiefs, Bill Groll, Mike Gammon, Joe Perez and others I did 9 months with them before being slid over to the Pioneers skating out of Chicago. As a year came and went I was back for the World Championships with the Chiefs to play the San Francisco Bay Bombers at their arenas, well we won. At that point I was taken to the Rollerdrome in Munich, Germany where all the skating scenes would be shot. This is the Olympic Banked Track Bike Oval and it fit the bill. All they did was repaint and change banner signs in different languages to make it seem like several different venues. I skated, filmed with a camera on my back pulled by a motorcycle on the track and even did some stunt work, quite an experience. But not as much fun as working with Raquel Welch on Kansas City Bomber, she to this day has my utmost respect for in that film she did her own skating and stunt work. What is incredible is if you watch the film closely you will see her being the only one who constantly wears long sleeved jerseys. I will tell you the first day of actual track filming she took an odd and bad fall breaking her wrist. Off to the hospital and the next day they were going to film around her as not to delay but here came Raquel smiling and getting on the track skates in tow. She did the complete film with that broken wrist, not many people pro or amateur could have dealt with the action, fights and pain as she did. So I feel good about helping to train her and then film her. Heart is bigger than pain and to top it off she was a real lady during all of it. More at another time.

Comments are closed.