Fresno to host first roller derby championship

Roller derby features two roller skating teams blocking opponents to get their "jammers" around a circuit track (AP Photo)Roller derby features two roller skating teams blocking opponents to get their "jammers" around a circuit track (AP Photo)Roller derby is making a comeback and showing it in December as twelve top girls team from across the country converge in Fresno to compete in the first ever USA Roller Sports National Championship.

The inaugural event of the USA Roller Sports organization will be held from Dec. 14-16 at the Fresno Convention and Entertainment Center in downtown. 

Fresno was selected as the host city for the event over Albuquerque, N.M. thanks to the work of Fresno/Clovis Convention and Visitors Bureau (FCVB) and the Fresno Convention and Entertainment Center along with support from Fresno's own roller derby league, NOtown Roller Derby.

The FCVB estimates that the three-day event will generate 300 to 350 room nights and a total economic impact of nearly $50,000.

"(December) is generally a slow time, so this couldn't be better timing," said Layla Forstedt, CEO of the FCVB. "We can grow this into much more in the future because roller derby is making a comeback."

Twelve qualifying teams from across the country will be competing in the three-day event. No local teams will be participating in the bouts.

Roller derby dates back to the 1920s as roller skating races. Today, there are over 1,200 roller derby leagues in around 38 countries with mostly girl teams competing in fast-paced, high-contact jams around a roller rink.