Wheels of Justice Complete First Steps Toward a Third World Championship

Carousel and header photo by Christina Hellslinger Capobianco

Earlier this month, Portland’s Wheels of Justice took their first steps toward a third consecutive World Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) championship by going 3-0 at the Division 1 Playoffs held in Seattle, Washington. The Wheels of Justice are the Rose City Rollers’ all-star team and represent some of the best roller derby athletes that the city—if not the world—has to offer.

Over the course of the weekend, the Wheels of Justice experienced once again the global nature of roller derby by playing Team Osom from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the New Skids on the Block from Montréal, Canada before facing the Hollywood Scarlets from Los Angeles, California.

Don’t let the team names fool you: today’s roller derby is a long way off from the theatrical roller derby that many remember from the mid-1980s. Today’s skaters routinely demonstrate a degree of athleticism—and mental toughness—that astound audiences.

“Our preparation for post-season play has been rigorous,” says Wheels of Justice captain Elicia Nisbet-Smith. “We practice four nights a week, often for three hours at a time. This is the level of training that has helped us win championships, and with our competitors nipping at our heels, it’s more important than ever that we maintain match fitness.”

The team’s three wins in Seattle mean that the Wheels of Justice will head to the International WFTDA Championships in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the number one seed.

“Now that we’ve achieved back-to-back championship wins, the heat is on,” says Nisbet-Smith. “We know our top competitors will be analyzing our playoffs games, but we now have plenty of time to refine our strategies and have new plays ready by the time championships comes around.”

The Wheels of Justice’s success on the track is no coincidence: Rose City Rollers—Portland’s hometown roller derby league—has over the past several years emerged as a powerhouse in competitive roller derby, attracting skaters from across the country to play on its four home teams.

“The incredible skill and high level of competition trickles down from our All-star team to all other teams and programs in the league,” remarks Kim Stegeman, Execute Director of the Rose City Rollers. “Rose City trains some of the highest skilled skaters in the world, at all levels of play. We love being able to share that with the Portland community”

If you are interested in seeing a roller derby bout before the International WFTDA Championships, check out the Rose City Rollers’ Events page. We have a full weekend of derby coming up at The Hangar at Oaks Amusement Park:

  • On Friday evening at 8:00 p.m., the Break Neck Betties—one of Portland’s home teams—will be taking on the Palouse River Rollers All-Stars from Pullman, Washington
  • Rose City Rollers’ junior programs kick off their 2017-2018 season on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m
  • On Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m., the Rockets—Portland’s training ground for its future home team skaters—will take on Los Angeles’ Renegade Roller Girls

Rose City Rollers also has opportunities for girls and women at all skating levels who are interested in derby; to see what those programs are and learn how to join them, please visit this page.

About Rose City Rollers:
The Rose City Rollers serve women and girls who want to play the team sport of roller derby, connect with an inclusive community, and realize their power both on skates and off. (We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, formed in 2004, and a founding member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association)