Is there such a thing as too many roller derby leagues? The opinions are varied amongst skaters as more and more leagues are popping up each and every day. From banked track, flat track, and men’s to junior, coed and professional, new opportunities for skaters are at every turn.
One city in particular has had a major rise in the number of operating derby organizations in the past few years. Phoenix, AZ has embraced derby to the fullest extent with 7 leagues in the Phoenix area and 2 more in nearby Tuscon.
Some feel this is a negative, yet there are more than enough skaters to go around. Each league is unique and provide both skaters and fans alike with an almost weekly derby fix.
Welcome to Derby City and The Phoenix 7:
Arizona Derby Dames (AZDD) are the one and only banked track league in Arizona. With nearly daily practices and intense training, the skaters of AZDD offer no-nonsense banked track action to fans from all over the country. As the host of this year’s Battle on the Bank, AZDD demonstrated sheer skill as their hard word was recognized on the national level.
The Renegade Rollergirls provide fans with full-contact, no rules excitement. If you are looking for a real fight, this is the league to see! The renegades train and push hard, and push each other even harder. These skaters are tough and have no fear, as they face off for the kill.
Arizona Roller Derby (AZRD) is the only WFTDA certified flat-track league in the Phoenix area. Currently in the top 20 ranked leagues, AZRD has the potential to move up the ranks and could push into the top ten in the near future. Holding to the extremely high standards of WFTDA, AZRD’s hard work is apparent as they utilize strategy and skill in each and every bout.
Both Desert Dolls Roller Derby (DDRD) and Arizona Roller Girls (AZRG) are all-female, flat track leagues playing with different rule sets. DDRD plays by a unique set of rules, sometimes referred to as “Arizona House Rules” while AZRG uses modified WFTDA rules. These leagues offer fans the flat-track experience with a unique take on traditional play, while putting forth an entertaining and skilled bout. Die-hard fans come dressed to impress their favorite skaters, and see what might go down on the track. With DDRD being centrally located in Phoenix and AZRG’s East Valley placement, skaters and fans from East to West always have derby excitement close by.
The Rattleskates are the only all-male league in Phoenix, and continue to grow as they take on other all-male leagues from neighboring cities including Tuscon, Dallas and San Diego. The Rattleskates use strength combined with technique and strategy to put a completely different spin on the same flat track sport we all love. The Rattleskates are working to become full-fledged members of MRDA (Men’s Roller Derby Association) and are always up for a challenge.
One of the newer leagues to hit the streets of Phoenix, is Single Handed Roller Derby (SHRD). With a 100% no drama philosophy, SHRD brings forth several unique and exciting opportunities for skaters and derby fans alike. As a flat track league, SHRD has expanded the Phoenix derby horizon by being the first in the area to offer a coed team. SHRD also maintains all-female and all-male teams, as well as two different Junior teams (Ages 8-12 and 13-17). SHRD is one of the founding teams to join NRDA (National Roller Derby Association) and is in the process of gaining active MADE (Modern Athletic Derby Endeavour) status too.
In addition to being the only coed league in the area, SHRD has also opened it’s doors to other leagues in Phoenix. SHRD is hosting a basic training camp to run for 12 weeks starting Oct. 8th. All skaters are welcome to participate, regardless of league affiliation. SHRD is hoping to close the gap between the leagues in Phoenix, by creating positive and drama free relationships with all the local leagues.
With so many talented and motivated leagues in Phoenix, Arizona should feel lucky. Very few cities can offer derby bouts year round, and while some may say seven leagues in one major metro area is too many, it is obvious that each league is different and they can all co-exist in derby peace.
So local and national derby followers, keep an eye on the Phoenix 7, as exciting new things are sure to emerge from this derby city.