Since organizing in 2005, Houston Roller Derby has grown into a league of more than 80 skaters that sells about 1,400 tickets for each bout. Bouts are held on the third Saturday of each month during the season, which runs from March through September at Bayou Music Center (formerly called Verizon Wireless Theater) at 520 Texas Avenue in Houston.
The league consists of four home teams, The Bayou City Bosses, The Brawlers, The Valkyries and The Psych Ward Sirens, and two travel teams, the Houston All-Stars, and the Knockouts (B-team).
The Houston Roller Derby All-Stars is Houston’s dream team - the league’s most talented and dedicated skaters cherry-picked out of its four home teams. These women train a minimum of three times a week and have played against other cities across the U.S. since 2006. They ended their 2009 season with five wins out of seven games against cities including New Orleans, La., Austin, Texas and Philadelphia, Pa. These wins entitled Houston Roller Derby to be included as one of the top 12 teams to compete at the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association’s national competition in November 2009. In 2010 HRD finished 7th at the WFTDA South Central Region playoffs, and 5th in 2011.
Houston Roller Derby filed as a public charity (Houston Rollergirls Inc. dba Houston Roller Derby) and received its tax-deductible 501(c)(3) non-profit status effective March 11, 2011.
The sport of roller derby originally began in 1922 when the term referred to flat-track roller skating races. The sport evolved into a more popular contact, team sport format in the 1930s, which has continued on to the present day. After falling out of popularity in the 1970s, the sport experienced a revival in the early 2000s that focuses on athletic ability as much as the tough, indie aesthetic expressed by team uniforms and skater nicknames.
The sport has gained even more attention since being featured in Drew Barrymore’s 2009 directorial debut, “Whip It,” starring Ellen Page. Since the movie’s release, the Houston Roller Derby Recreational League has experienced an influx of new skaters eager to learn how to skate and play derby. The Recreation League meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Houston Indoor Sports and accepts all skaters who are interested in learning.
The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association was founded in 2004 and now consists of 176 member leagues and 103 apprentice leagues. The association sets standards for rules, seasons, and safety and determines guidelines for the national and international athletic competitions of member leagues, according to its Web site.