Pottstown Roller Derby Rockstars Get Down and Derby

You might remember that the last time we checked in with the Pottstown Roller Derby Rockstars, the league had about 19 members, but these days over 50 skaters can officially call themselves “rockstars!”   The women of Pottstown Roller Derby have big plans for their league, but big plans don’t come cheap. As they outgrow their current space, league co-founders Lida Addison, Tonda Woodling and Patty Fetterman are actively searching for warehouse space in the borough to house their league, and raising funds towards that end. 

This Saturday night, you can come out and support the fledging league and party just like a rock star at the Elks Club from 8pm to midnight.  Your $40 entrance fee gets you food and beer (you’ll need cash if you want mixed drinks) and seventies themed party, named Get Down and Derby with the Pottstown Rockstars,  that just might become legendary. 

Roller derby itself might seem like something of a novelty, but it could be pure gold to Pottstown’s struggling economy.  Bringing a spectator sport like roller derby to the borough would have positive economic ramifications and add to the burgeoning arts and culture vibe that is starting to take root downtown. 

Depending on their eventual home turf, Pottstown’s bouts could attract upwards of 300 people.  The neighboring Lehigh Valley Roller Girls’ League regularly sees attendance between 300 and 500 fans per bout.  And, after watching roller derby, those 300+ people might just hang around for dinner or drinks. 

Skeptical?  It’s understandable that you might be, but consider some of these statistics from the recent poll conducted by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA)

Who plays roller derby?

According to responses to the WFTDA’s 2010 demographic survey:

63 percent of skaters are 25 to 34 years old

Most have some post-secondary education; 20% have graduate degrees

31% of responding skaters have children under 18

36% of skaters are married


Who watches roller derby?

According to fan responses to the 2010 demographic survey:

Most roller derby fans (60%) are also active fans of other sports

 59% of fans are female

 41% of fans are ages 25-34; another 41% are 35-54

 34% of fans have undergraduate degrees; 21% have a graduate level degree

 (statistics from WFTDA survey, 2010)

That sounds like exactly the kind of demographic that could help this town over the tipping point toward revitalization and the derby league needs some financial help to do it.  Warehouse space (about 20,000 square feet of it) is expensive, as is the actual track they need to furnish it. 

The Rockstars have more in mind that just roller derby bouts, they’ve got great ideas for youth leagues and roller derby boot camp fitness classes.  And, believe me, if you’ve ever seen one of their practices, derby boot camp would be one tough class! 

So, come on out and support the home-grown derby team this weekend at the Elks.  Here is all the info:

Get Down and Derby with the Pottstown Roller Derby Rockstars

Pottstown Elks Club, 61 High Street

Saturday, May 21st

8pm to midnight


$40 tickets includes ALL THE BEER YOU CAN DRINK and food!!!
All the appetizers you can eat!!!
We will have Miller Lite, Yuengling Lager and Labatt’s Blue on tap!
Beer and food included with ticket purchase!
Cash bar for liquor
50/50 RAFFLE
DJ REACT will be spinning the funky beats!!!
70’s Disco Attire is HIGHLY ENCOURAGED

Information about practices can be found on their facebook page and new members are encouraged to come out to the “fresh meat” practices to try out some derby skating.

Pottstown Roller Derby Rockstars

What started out as a quick facebook status update after a particularly tough day at work has turned into a force to be reckoned with.

When P Hitty (then and alternately known as Patty Fetterman) posted, “Bad day at work… anyone want to start a roller derby team??” she really didn’t imagine that she had put into motion the Pottstown Rockstars Roller Derby Team.  She met friend, neighbor and owner of Funky Lil Kitchen, Tonda Woodling, for a few drinks, and the idea sounded even better.  Woodling (who sports the derby name:  Hillbilly Hustler) had actually been looking to join the Philadelphia Liberty Belles Roller Derby team, but with the distance and the time commitment being an obstacle, thought her dreams of roller derby had been dashed.

Pretty soon, they found that a roller derby veteran was living in Pottstown and wanted to get back on her skates, so the two enlisted the help of  Lida Addison (who goes by the derby name of “Low-blow Lida” ) and got a group of 7 women together at The Brickhouse.  They wanted to figure out if they could really start a roller derby team right here in Pottstown.  Apparently, they could.  Fast forward a few months and plenty of planning and practicing; the team now has 19 members ranging in age from 25 to 40, with more of the women on the 40 side than the 25.

Fetterman describes the derby experience as something between nostalgia and girl power.   Listening to her talk about how much fun (and what a workout) derby practice is makes me wistful for the endless childhood days I spent at the roller rink.  The local rink where I grew up, Guptill’s Arena, was an old blueberry farm that had been converted into a roller skating nirvana, and amazingly holds the Guiness World Record as the largest indoor skating rink in the world.  I clearly remember lacing up my beautiful white leather skates with the purple and pink yarn pom-poms my mom helped me make out of leftover yarn. 

Of course, roller derby is quite a bit tougher than those elementary school skating sessions, but the feelings might just be the same.  It is almost enough to make me think even I could be a roller derby rock star (almost being the key word).

This coming Saturday, you (and I) can get that old feeling back again and hang out at Pheasantland Roller Rink and see what roller derby is really all about.   The Rockstars are raising money to get their team registered with the WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association) and get their apprentice status in the league.

The event starts with an open skate from 3:30 to 4:30 and then the Rockstars will take the rink for a demonstration.  At 5pm, you can pay $3 to go up against either Low-blow Lida or Busty Cage (known in real life as Nikki Henry), who are the veterans in the group.  There will also be a bake sale and raffles all to help the team get into the WFTDA league.  The raffles listed for this event are pretty amazing-everything from a Starbucks gift basket to a trip for 4 to Mexico (yes, to Mexico).  You can check out more information about the event and the team by visiting their facebook page at:  www.facebook.com/pottstownrollerderby

Here’s the rundown of the event:

Location: Pheasantland Roller Rink

551 Manatawny Road, Boyertown, PA  19512

Their website:  www.pheasantlandrollerrink.com

Time: 3:30-6:30

Admission: Donation to the team.  Bring some extra cash for the raffles, bake sale and more.

Skate rentals are only $1 and they have inline and quad skates available.

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