December 2009 Featured League: Philly Rollergirls

December 5, 2009

The Philly Rollergirls made a big splash this year, winning the WFTDA Eastern Regional tournament, and breaking the two-year, 18-game winning streak held by reigning 2008 National Champion, Gotham Girls Roller Derby. They also graciously hosted the 2009 WFTDA national tournament, "Declaration of Derby," in November. While they were ultimately unable to take home the Hydra Trophy, Philly was definitely a team to watch in '09. We'd like to take a moment to tell you a little more about this great league.

Photo by Darren Mayhem

Philadelphia, PA
The "City of Sisterly Shove"

How does your season run?
Our home team season is at the beginning of the year, usually running from February until May. Our travel season begins with the East Coast Extravaganza in June.

Are you close to any other WFTDA leagues?
Philadelphia is a central location for great roller derby! We are within a few hours of some of the top teams in the nation, like Gotham, Boston, and Charm City. But, the closest leagues to PRG in proximity are either Lehigh Valley (WFTDA Apprentice Member) or the Dutchland Derby Rollers (Lancaster, PA).

How many skaters/teams do you have?
We have 70 league members, and three home teams: the Philthy Britches, the Heavy Metal Hookers, and the Broad Street Butchers. We also have two travel teams: A-Team, the Liberty Belles and B-Team, the Independence Dolls.

How often do you practice?
Three days a week.

Do you have a rival league? If so, who is it and have you had any outstanding, memorable moments against them when you bouted?
We're sure everyone thinks Charm City is Philly's rival now, but we don't see it that way. We know there was some contention after our game at Eastern Regionals, but we totally respect them as roller derby players. Anyone who has played Charm City probably had a game full of memorable moments, both good and bad. They are amazing and they hit like Mack trucks.

Do you have any sister leagues you’d like to give a shout out to?
All WFTDA leagues are our sisters! In all seriousness, we see the roller derby community as one big family. After all, we are a DIY sport. We face many of the same struggles, and we do it because we love it. The type of camaraderie and support that roller girls and leagues give each other is unique and we hope it continues!

What are some of the individual challenges of your city?
Being in a major metropolitan area, space is a precious commodity. We have an amazing venue in the 23rd Street Armory, but it can only hold around 700 spectators. It's hard to find a good mid-sized venue appropriate for bouts. I don't think we can fill the Eagles stadium yet.

Who are some of your favorite sponsors?
Chipotle! They are so supportive of the derby community, and their food rocks! Also, Gladiator Mouth Guards are amazing. We highly recommend them.

What are your biggest training challenges?
We practice at a roller rink that has open skate sessions, so we can't just go in anytime we need to work on something. We have a great training and coaching committee, but it's hard to balance the needs of newer skaters against the needs of three or four year veterans. We are extremely committed to training the "next generation" of derby stars, while maintaining our veteran skaters' level of skill.

Who are the best "behind the scenes" skaters who make your league run?
Hands down, The Cycrone! She is our sponsorship queen and works tirelessly for our league, in addition to having her own job and being an amazing mom! Annie Christ is our dedicated general manager, whose spreadsheet skills are unsurpassed. Miss Trial has been kind enough to do legal work for us. She always comes through when you need her, despite her busy schedule.

Who are some of your stars on the track, and why?
We always dislike these questions, because we think every member of our league has their all-star moments as well as their really dumb moments on the track. We have to give a special shout-out to those who might not get recognized as much as they should. The Cycrone!, Lay Ya Out Ali, Mercedes Bends, Feisty Psyche, and Devoida Mercy are all skaters to watch. Their dedication and hard work is amazing.

What kind of training/bouting facilities do you have?
We train at Millennium Skate World in Camden, NJ, which is a great roller rink. We bout at the 23rd Street Armory. It's a castle in the middle of Philadelphia, complete with turrets and military paraphernalia. Very cool.

Do you have a special message for your fans?
Philly sports teams may not have been National Champs this year, but we're keeping our hopes up for 2010!

Would your league like to be the WFTDA Featured League of the month? Have you had an extraordinarily successful season that you'd like to share with the fans? If you are a full WFTDA member league and have the authorization to speak on behalf of your league, we'd love to hear from you! Please contact

Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.