Portland, February 1st, 2015. The Rose City Rollers are one of the top roller derby leagues in the country and the sport is gaining in popularity. The organization is run by volunteers. The nonprofit also raises money for other charities including “First Book Portland.” First Book Portland serves low-income families in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas Counties by addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy–access to books. Rose City Rollers presented First Book with a check for $1,000 at the January Season Opener at Memorial Coliseum and collected 138 books from fans and league members for the organization.

Break Neck Bettie's Team

The Break Neck Bettie’s Team taking a lap on the flat track.

The Guns and Rollers Team

The Guns and Rollers Team.

How is modern-day roller derby different than when it started? Roller derby used to be somewhat scripted. Now all of the games and our plays are real. We follow the WFTDA rules developed for skater safety and competitive sports play. Elbow jabbing, for example, now gets a skater sent to the penalty box. The Rose City Rollers have no professional players. Skaters spend countless hours practicing and training, as well as working volunteer jobs to keep the league running.

Roller derby used to be somewhat scripted. Now all of the games and plays are real.  It follows the WFTDA rules developed for skater safety and competitive sports play. Elbow jabbing, for example, now gets a skater sent to the penalty box. The Rose City Rollers have no professional players. Skaters spend countless hours practicing and training, as well as working volunteer jobs to keep the league running.

Here’s all you need to know about the sport:

The Rose City Rollers develop women of attitude, athleticism and passion to play a hard-hitting sport of speed and skill. As pioneers in the rebirth of roller derby RCR continues to foster its growth. The league’s goals are to serve our community by empowering women and girls, providing entertainment for our fans and supporting charitable causes. (We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, formed in 2004, and a founding member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association.)

Dedication- The dedication of fans, community and league members are the driving force of our success, and allows RCR to be self-owned and self-managed. Athleticism- Roller derby both requires athleticism and provides and outlet for fostering athleticism. RCR enables self-identified women of all levels of ability, ages and body types to train to play a sport.
Empowerment – We express desire for our members to feel empowered by providing varied opportunities for personal growth. We foster individual empowerment through commitment to skate training, responsibility to teams, and work within the RCR community.
Entertainment- Both the sporting and theatrical aspects of RCR entertain our fans, which is critical to the generation of revenue to meet our goals and to increasing the popularity of the sport, which fosters a sense of community.
Community- We strive to be responsible members of each of the various communities that we belong to and on whom we rely for our success.

Visit our Homepage for information on events, try-outs, team standings, livestreaming links and much, much more!


What are the teams?

Rose City Rollers is a league that consists of 4 home teams, 2 travel teams and a junior derby team (Rosebuds). Home teams include the Break Neck Betties, Guns N Rollers, Heartless Heathers and the High Rollers. Our travel teams are made up of all stars from the home teams: the Axles of Annihilation and our nationally ranked “A” team, the Wheels of Justice. We also have an expansion team, the Gorge Roller Girls, out of Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge.

What other teams do the Rose City Rollers play?
Home teams play head-to-head with other home teams. The Axles of Annihilation take on competition from across the Northwest. The Wheels of Justice compete in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), and take on the best teams from across the country. Once in a while, we’ll throw in a few surprises to keep our fans on their toes.

How much do games cost?
Currently admission to games (also known as bouts) costs $14-$20 per person. Find out more on the Tickets page. Season passes are available, pro-rated as the season goes on so they’re always a good deal.

Where can I go see a game?
We currently hold bouts at the Memorial Coliseum and The Hangar at Oaks Park. Maps and directions are available on the Locations page. Check out our Events page for upcoming bouts.

Can I join a team?
We have tryouts every few months for our Fresh Meat training program. Check the tryouts page for further updates on the exact dates.

If you have skates and gear, you can play derby with our Wreckers recreational team! It’s a great place to get started on derby skills if you’re thinking about trying out.

Rose City Rollers play women’s flat track roller derby. Competitive league players and Wreckers must be over 18 years old. Teenagers should check out the Rosebud program. Men interested in playing derby should contact Portland Men’s Roller Derby.

How is the game played? Are there rules?

The pack starts four blockers from each team in the “pack” behind the pivot starting line. One jammer from each team lines up at the jammer start line behind the pack.

At the first whistle, the pack takes off. When the pack passes the pivot start line, a double whistle blast sends the jammers to start fighting their way through the pack. The first jammer through the pack without fouling any opposing players is called the “lead jammer” for that jam.

After the initial pass through, jammers receive one point for each member of the opposing team they pass. Jammers don’t need to be the “lead jammer” to score points. Each jam lasts a maximum of two minutes, but the “lead jammer” has the right end the jam at her discretion by placing her hands on her hips.

If you’re new to derby, keep an eye on your favorite team’s jammer. Then, watch the blockers to see how they help or hinder her.

Flat track roller derby has very specific, standard sporting rules. We follow the most recent version of the WFTDA rules. Have questions? Ask a roller girl. We tend to be pretty friendly off the track.

For those who don’t want a 30-page technical explanation, here’s a real simple video explanation:

How is the winner determined?

Whoever has the most points at the end of the last jam wins. The last jam occurs when the game clock reaches zero. Tie scores at broken by a final over time jam.

For bout outcome records, check our Statistics and Standings page.

What are the positions? Who is the girl with the star on her head?
Roller derby has 3 player “positions.”

Pivot: Sets the pace for the pack and is the last line of defense. Wears a helmet cover with a stripe. Can become the Jammer through passing the star. Otherwise just another blocker.

Blocker: Plays offense and defense at the same time. Tries to stop the opposing team’s Jammer, and knocks around the opposing team’s blockers to help her own Jammer.

Jammer: Scores points by passing members of the opposing team. Wears a helmet cover with stars. Only the Jammers score points.

What are the penalties? What’s that referee whistling and waving about?
Some of the most common penalties include use of elbows, blocking another skater in the back, and passing out of bounds (cutting the track).

What do these words mean? What’s a Bout? What’s a Jam? What’s a Pivot?
This lexicon is intended to be a primer for new fans explaining the basic concepts of the game and the terms you’ll hear referring to our sport and gameplay. This is not a complete list of derby technical terms or rules. Terminology and definitions based on WFTDA ruleset published December 2009. Definitions influenced by the WFTDA rulebook glossary and Silicon Valley Roller Girls derby glossary.