Seattle’s Rat City Roller Derby celebrates 20th anniversary

The Rat is back and playing in Edmonds.

Two roller derby skaters get close to each other on the track

Rat City Roller Derby will have bouts through April.

Photo by R.L. Johnson

The Rat City Roller Derby is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. After a debut “mashup” brawl in January in White Center’s Southgate Roller Rink, the first home opener of the year takes place Saturday, Feb. 24 at Edmonds Community College.

If you’re just skating by on derby knowledge with some vague recollection of a 2009 Drew Barrymore movie, we’ll get you up to speed.

🛼 Let’s roll

The DIY, counterculture sport was founded in the 1930s at the Chicago Coliseum. In each round (or jam), teams field five players each and score points when one player (the jammer) passes an enemy blocker, whose goal is to stop or push the jammer off the track.

In 2004, the Rat City Rollergirls league was created in White Center with four Seattle-based teams within. Rat City was one of the founding leagues for the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), an organization which sets the standards, rankings, and rules for the sport.

💥 Hitting the floor

Seattle teams used to play to large venues like the Key Arena before the league they played in re-branded as Rat City Roller Derby in 2017. They then moved to a venue called the Rat’s Nest up in Shoreline. But that was demolished in 2019. In 2022, they returned to White Center.

Arguably the best part? The player names. Rat City squads have had legends like Bella deBrawl, Anne Shmashaway, and Hello Hitty. They’re used as a way to embrace the edgier side of the skaters’ personalities. (Ours would totally be Edit Terror.)

🏆 Game on

Though Rat City is still a White Center-based league, Saturday’s event takes place at a another popular derby venue up in Edmonds.

There will be two bouts back to back. Seattle’s Derby Liberation Front takes on guests Overbeaters Anonymous, followed by longtime local squads Grave Danger vs. Throttle Rockets.

Tickets are still%20available. Keep an eye out for more bouts in March and April.

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