WELCOME TO THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY BOMBERS
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Our mission is to keep Roller Derby alive along with the memories of the stars that started it all and to create memories for generations to come. With over five generations of skaters in the family we are a truly family owned and operated business. it is our passion and love for this sport that will propel us into the future
Our goals are to teach the younger generations the ways of banked tracked Roller Derby. We hope that we can see it back to its original days. We want to pass the torch on to everyone and anyone wanting to take on the challenge. We want to have an open and inviting training facility where everyone can reach their full potential.
ALL GREAT STORIES HAVE GREAT HISTORIES
Roller Derby debuted on August 13, 1935 at Chicago’s Coliseum, the brainchild of promoter Leo Seltzer. The original version of Seltzer’s Transcontinental Roller Derby incorporated elements of dance marathons and bicycle races, popular during the Great Depression. During each race, a team of one man and one woman raced from one end of the country to the other, while singers and comedians entertained the crowd. Roller Derby was the first sport where women played by the same rules as the men. The female athletes attracted much attention except from the mainstream press. Over Christmas, 1938, famed sportswriter Damon Runyon worked with Seltzer and his skaters to create the modern version of the sport where a team of five men and five women competed against another team, lapping opponents in order to score points. In November, 1948, Roller Derby became the talk of the country when games were broadcast on the CBS television network. The banked track sport was shown three nights a week on prime time TV, selling out arenas across the country. Seltzer created the National Roller Derby League (NRDL) with six teams including the New York Chiefs and Brooklyn Red Devils, headquartered at Madison Square Garden in NYC. The battles between Midge ‘Toughie’ Brasuhn and Gerry Murray enthralled the nation. After overexposure on the new medium of TV, Leo Seltzer moved his sport to Southern California. The Los Angeles Braves and San Francisco Bay Bombers were created in 1954. Seltzer’s son, Jerry, took over the business in 1958. The Bay Bombers became ‘America’s team,’ selling out large arenas all over the country during legendary national tours with superstars Charlie O’Connell, Joan Weston, Ken Monte and Ann Calvello. Seltzer closed the original Derby, his family’s business, in December, 1973, but new ventures, including the International Roller Skating League (IRSL), run by David Lipschultz, operated in the 1980s with the Bay Bombers, once again, the sport’s premier team of the league. For the past sixty-six years, the San Francisco Bay Bombers have thrilled Roller Derby fans the world over, one of the greatest stories in the history of the sport. Thank you to Gary Powers for this article
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