East Texas Bombers
JACKSONVILLE- Did you know East Texas has an all-women, flat track roller derby league? If you have been looking for something different to do in East Texas, or if you are a fan or rough and tough, hard hitting sports , make plans to attend the next bout in the Pineywoods!
The team is composed of women from Tyler, Nacogdoches, White Oak, Gladewater, Henderson, Athens and Jacksonville. The East Texas Bombers started in 2004, disbanded in 2008 and came back in 2009.
By day the ladies are nurses, social workers, cosmetologists, mothers and wives. But at night, when they lace up their skates and strap on their helmets and pads, they are hard hitting, roller skating machines.
The popularity of roller derby picked up around the turn of this century in Texas. It began in Austin and spread across the globe.
Roller derby had cycles of popularity throughout the 20th century, beginning in the 1920s, with Leo Seltzer’s touring Trans-continental Roller Derby races with collisions and falls, and it was first televised in the 1940s to larger audiences, according to the association’s website. The business transferred to Seltzer’s son in the ’60s, when competing franchises started, but popularity dwindled during the 1970s.
Short-lived attempts to revive the sport appeared in the 1980s and 1990s, including the RollerGames that had stunts with alligator pits and stage action and storylines, according to the website.
Since 2000, the sport has been rapidly gaining steam once again. Today, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association has 117 member leagues and 72 apprentice leagues. In 2010, more than 470 roller derby leagues existed globally.
Roller derby leagues are operated by the skaters. Everything the Bombers need, including gear, travel expenses and rink fees, is financed personally, with dues, ticket sales or through fundraising.
April 22, the East Texas Bombers will host their first annual “Kiddie Karnival” from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Bergfeld Park in Tyler.
“The funds we raise goes towards things like rink rental, bout(game) production, travel expenses to away games, equipment, etc.,” said Michelle McCann, league co-chair.
Make plans to support the East Texas Bombers this April!
The East Texas Bombers will face off against the Gulf Coast Roller Girls in Lake Charles, Louisiana on April 28. They will take on the Gulf Coast Roller Girls at home in Jacksonville, at Skateland U.S.A. on May 19. Doors open at 4:00 p.m. and the bout starts at 5:00 p.m.
For more information about the East Texas Bombers visit http://www.easttexasbombers.com/.