Seattle’s Rat City Roller Derby makes its return

The Rat is back in White Center.

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

Okay, this is like a wheelie big deal. After a two-year hiatus, the Rat City Roller Derby is back in action tomorrow, Nov. 19, at Southgate Roller Rink in White Center.

But 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 was created in White Center — a small league with four Seattle-based teams within in. 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 like Grave Danger and Throttle Rockets 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 — but now the derby is back where it all began: their old roller rink.

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 🏆

Tomorrow’s bout in White Center will be a “mashup” with new skaters alongside more experienced ones. While the match is sold out, you can catch the action on Twitch. Tickets to the December 3rd Debutante Brawl, where all newly drafted home team skaters will make their debut, go on sale Monday. Rock ‘n’ roll.

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