Some History of Ithaca Roller Derby
A truly American-born sport, roller derby began in the 1930s in Chicago. Over the decades, the sport has resurfaced in various forms, with the most recent resurgence starting with the 2003 development of flat track roller derby in Austin, Texas, by the Texas Rollergirls.
There are now more than 450 member and apprentice leagues on six continents, with more forming every week.
ILWR has been a proud member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) since 2011. The modern game of roller derby is a genuine athletic competition complete with well-defined rules, divisions, and tournaments.
The Ithaca League of Women Rollers began in 2008 with the launch of the SufferJets team by founding members Danine Dibble, Sarah Evanega, Kitty Gifford, Ashlee McCaskill, and Beth Skwarecki. In 2010, the league grew and added an additional adult team, the BlueStockings, as well as a junior league for skaters ages 8 to 17.
Our membership includes adult and youth skaters, referees, and non-skating officials who serve as scorekeepers, stats takers, and penalty trackers. Volunteers are an integral part of the ILWR, dedicating their time and talents to keep us rolling.
The Ithaca SufferJets team name pays homage to local area ties to the women’s suffrage movement: nearby Seneca Falls hosted the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention. Following a public relations campaign to invite the public to help name the league’s second team, the name BlueStockings was selected for its reference to intellectual strength and empowerment. Our Title IXs are a reminder of the fresh strides in women’s rights, and a tribute to those who believed girls can be just as physical as boys.
The ILWR is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to provide local and international athletic opportunities for women and youth, and to promote the wellbeing of our region through charitable donations, volunteering and community outreach.
Photo by Lauren Comly
Garden State vs Ithaca Bout,
June 2011. Photo by Sugar Blitz
Ithaca Roller Derby, 2013
SufferJets vs. Crowdera, 2017.
Photo by Tyler Shaw
The Ithaca League, May 2019
What is WFTDA?
The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) is the international governing body of women’s flat track roller derby representing more than 450 member and apprentice leagues on 6 continents. The mission of the WFTDA is to govern and promote the sport of flat track roller derby and revolutionize the role of women in sports through the collective voice of its member leagues around the world. The WFTDA sets the international standards for rankings, rules, and competition each year and provides guidance and resources to the sport of flat track derby.
What is “Flat Track”?
Flat track roller derby is a fast-paced contact team sport that requires speed, strategy, and athleticism. The flat track version of the sport evolved in 2001, and has quickly grown to encompass more than 400 leagues worldwide. This is in large part due to the ease of setting up a flat track–it can be done on any flat surface that is suitable for skating, such as skating rinks, basketball courts, parking lots, and even airplane hangars. This greatly reduces the capital needed to start up a roller derby league, and allows small groups of people to get a fledgling league off the ground. The DIY spirit that drives the sport allows roller derby leagues to create their own unique identities and adapt their structures to reflect their local communities.
How is Roller Derby Played?
Our Community Service
The league enjoys a supportive fan base in the Ithaca community, and makes regular appearances at events, schools, and festivals. A portion of the home bout proceeds are donated to local charities, and since 2008 the ILWR has given nearly $15,000 to organizations such as:
- Women’s Opportunity Center
- Ithaca Skate Park
- The Advocacy Center
- Family Reading Partnership
- Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation
- Ithaca Foodnet Meals on Wheels
- Books Thru Bars
- Big Brothers/ Big Sisters
- The Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation
- Ithaca Children’s Garden
- Community Dispute Resolution Center
Become a Sponsor — We couldn’t do this without YOU!
Before Covid-19, in 2019 we were in our 13th season as a league. As of January 2022, we are finally back on the track! Sponsoring Ithaca Roller Derby supports our unique program, and post-Covid shut-down it helps us get back on our feet. Sponsorships have helped provide athletic opportunities to women and young girls in the Ithaca area for over a decade.
Our league provides athletic opportunities for women and youth, and promotes the wellbeing of our region through charitable donations, volunteering, and community outreach for numerous community-oriented nonprofits and women-centered organizations.
Ithaca League of Women Rollers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit roller derby league.
Want to be a sponsor? Download our Sponsorship Packet
Want to buy ad space in our bout programs? Download our Ad Space Contract
Interested in a another way for us to work together? Contact us!