Roll along with derby gals

May 7, 2010

OLYMPIA, WA - In the documentary “Hell on Wheels,” women’s roller derby has a lot of drama. But for the undefeated Oly Rollers, derby is about winning.

Some of the Rollers will host the film’s local premiere Friday night — and they’ll get things rolling with a skate demo.

The film follows the establishment of women’s roller derby in Austin, Texas, in 2001 — an event that some say sparked the sport’s present-day resurgence.

“There are over 450 roller-derby leagues all over the world, and they were all inspired by what happened in Austin,” said filmmaker Bob Ray of Austin, who’ll be in Olympia to answer questions after the screening. “Our film is about the women who resurrected this idea.”

The sport’s growth in Austin was rife with conflict, though. A large group of skaters walked out to form their own league, which skates — like the Oly Rollers — on a flat track, while others remained on the management-run team, which uses a banked track.

“Emotions were damaged, and friendships were ruined,” Ray said. “The movie is about a really passionate group of people trying to create something and wrestle over what direction it should take and whose voice should be heard within the organization.”

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