View Full Version : Roller Derby Comes to Spokane?

05-14-2008, 12:52 AM
Did you notice the header above about the Lilac City Roller Girls, coming to the Coeur d'alene Casino May 17? Anyone here seen Roller Derby in recent years? Geez, I haven't thought about roller derby since it was all the rage in the SF bay area when I lived there in the '60's.

I wonder if it would be fun to go see the Lilac City Roller Girls? Boy, those roller derby girls in the '60's were some seriously tough girls. I didn't ever go to a live event, but they carried all the games on TV in those days, and I remember the announcers saying, "Action all over the track!" as some lady with very tight shorts, knee pads, and green and pink polka-dot hair would give somebody a hard elbow and knock 'em ass over teakettle off the track.

Looks like they're still tough, if the Gotham City Roller girls pictured here are any example:


But they used to race in the '60's on a super-fast banked track. Looks like it's mostly flat track now.

I don't know ... at this stage of my life, I fear I'd start worrying about whether these young ladies were making good life choices, and I'd be less likely to enjoy the sheer camp that used to e Roller Derby in the '60s, sort of a the WWF on wheels, complete with bad girls and good girls to hiss or cheer.

05-14-2008, 08:07 PM
Spokane shared a team back in the 60's. The Westerners played "home games" in Spokane, Portland, and Seattle. The gal with the wild hair was Ann Calvello. Charlie O'Connel was a mainstay of the Bay Area Bombers, and Sugar Ray Robinson's son, Ronnie was also a star. I loved that sport. We used to play roller derby in the halls at Prep between classes. Some one would call a "jam" and then someone else would throw one of us forward to get by the blockers to score and call off the jam. You called off the jam by putting your hands on your hips. Great fun getting smashed into the lockers.

05-14-2008, 08:19 PM
Calvello was the villain to Joan Weston's hero . . .

I remember seeing them on the banked track in Tracy, CA. The rink was set up in the middle of the high school's football field. Drew quite a crowd.

A neat history of roller derby (http://www.baycitybombers.com/history.html) via the Bay City Bombers web site. . .

05-15-2008, 02:47 AM
Ann Calvello! And Joan Weston! That's right! and Charlie O'Connel for the men! There is nothing I remember from the past that Birddog doesn't remember better! Thanks for filling in the blanks.

However, I suspect that Birddog is enough younger than I am (and perhaps of a classier background) that he will not have been an alum of Pattison's Rollercade in Spokane, a rink near the North Division Y. The two most intriguing features of a trip to Pattison's Rollercade, for Zagnative, were that:

a) I was able to wear an adorable tiny roller-skating skirt, which stuck pretty much straight out, thanks to the sugar-starched crinolines I wore beneath it. Dangit! I can't find a pic of how adorable those skirts were, cinched in by a wide patten-leather belt cinching in a 19-inch waist to the requisite 17 inches, but here's something from a few years before that era:


b) Pattison's Rollerskating bus, which cruised along Division street picking up passengers. The amazing feature of Pattison's Rollerskating bus was that on the ride home, when it was dark out, there was a lot of necking that went on, mostly with complete strangers. Would that I could remember whether I was ever chosen to be lunged at and engaged in a lip-lock with some stranger ... You'd think I could remember, wouldn't you?

Obviously, I was not a gifted enough (or tough enough) skater to graduate to being a derby girl. :confused:

05-15-2008, 06:28 AM
However, I suspect that Birddog is enough younger than I am (and perhaps of a classier background) that he will not have been an alum of Pattison's Rollercade in Spokane, a rink near the North Division Y.

Well of course you're right about the classier background, because as you've noted before, I lived S of Mission. Pattison's was losing ground when I was a teen, but I do remember going there once. The three of us thought that might be a place to cruise for chicks, and we could all ice skate pretty well. We were shocked that riding on 4 wheels was more difficult than we had anticipated. We were also shunned as obvious "outsiders" as there was definitely a clique of regulars. Alas, this proved to be good training for cruising in Spokane's bars a few years later. I remember well the bus that was always parked at the site or as you stated cruising Division.

IIRC, Pattisons was located at the bottom of the hill, perhaps the last hill before the descent into Wandermere. There was for a time a Par 3 golf course (Pineacres Pitch and Putt?) located across the highway and a little further N.
Pattison's leaves no fond memories for me, just a forlorning, empty feeling of failure, but I'll get over it someday.

05-15-2008, 03:51 PM
Went to a Roller Derby match in the Spokane Coliseum in the early 70's. The Bomber's were matched against ?. Bomber's fell waaaaaaay behind but pulled it out (wink, wink) on the last jam. Sat in the front row. Great entertainment.

Dog, you are correct about Pattison's & the Par 3; both still operating. But there is a TON more development that continue's to move North; businesses almost to Wandermere GC & housing development's beyond that. The guess is how many year's until Deer Park gets swallowed up.