In a roller derby rut? Looking to up your game? Consider a convention! Roller derby conventions offer a unique opportunity to learn from – and perhaps party with – the best skaters in the sport. Here are some of the top conventions in the country…
Northeast Derby Con Dates: May 22-24, 2015 Location: Providence, Rhode Island The Essentials: Now in its fourth year, Northeast Derby Con has it all. With black and white scrimmages, skating clinics, off-skates workshops, and a vendor village, Derby Con is much like the legendary RollerCon, but on a smaller and more manageable scale. The coaches are top notch and include Smarty Pants, Queen Loseyateefah, and Suzy Hotrod. There are plenty of elite-level classes, but beginners are also welcome and should plan to attend the sessions taught by Dirty Deborah Harry. Of course, it’s not all seriousness – don’t miss the absolutely hysterical karaoke party where skaters attempt to sing in bulky, non-SISU mouth guards. Cost: Ranges from $59 for a spectator pass to $189 for a three-day skater pass, with options in between More info: www.derbyconvention.com
RollerCon Dates: July 22-26, 2015 Location: Las Vegas, Nevada The Essentials: With the Las Vegas temperatures often reaching 110 degrees, the only thing hotter than the weather is the skating at RollerCon. The mother of all conventions, RollerCon offers options to rub elbows with the skating elite – literally 24 hours a day. The convention, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, offers a pool that never closes, a derby wedding, a superhero-themed party, and a swap meet. And we haven’t even discussed the skating yet! Classes from Jackie Daniels, Scald Eagle, Demanda Riot, and many more run from 8:00 am til 12:00 am, on five flat tracks and, for the first time, a banked track. Three more tracks host WFTDA-sanctioned bouts, pick-up scrimmages, and pre-planned, themed scrimmages. Can’t-miss moments include the All-Star East vs. West game and the riotous Magic Mike vs. Chippendales scrimmage. Cost: Ranges from $59 for a spectator pass to $239 for a three-day skater pass, with options in between More info: www.rollercon.com
Rolling Sturgis Dates: August 1-8, 2015 Location: Sturgis, South Dakota The Essentials: By far the most unique convention, Rolling Sturgis takes place in a 580-acre campground and features an outdoor track in the middle of a field. Rolling Sturgis coincides with the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and overnight passes include tent camping in “Derby City,” clinics, and concerts with Alice Cooper, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Def Leopard. Bikini Beach is open “all day and all night.” Although the schedule is not yet available, past coaches have included Quadzilla, Coach Spanx, and Second Hand Smoke. Cost: Ranges from $22 for daily admission to $249 for an unlimited pass, with an option to purchase a $199 “half-pass” for 4 nights More info: www.rollingsturgis.com
Derby Daze Dates: August 21-23, 2015 Location: Portland, Oregon The Essentials: If you didn’t get enough of Scald Eagle at RollerCon or you want to skate with WFTDA tournament MVP Mutch Mayhem, Derby Daze is the place for you. Hosted by the Rose City Rollers’ all-star travel team, Wheels of Justice, Derby Daze will also feature special guest Wild Cherri of the Atlanta Rollergirls. The event is capped at a maximum of 100 skaters to guarantee individual attention and promises an “advanced skater-oriented curriculum to challenge all attendees.” Although it’s not included in the cost, attendees would do well to splurge on the Saturday night bout between Rose City’s B-level travel team and BAD’s Team Gold. Cost: $50 for coaches and $150 for skating participants More info: www.rosecityrollers.com/events/derby-daze
Colossal Coastal Roller Expo Dates: August 27-29, 2015 Location: Wildwood Island, New Jersey The Essentials: WFTDA isn’t the only game in town. CCRE is an opportunity for MADE skaters of all skill levels to participate in workshops and scrimmages! Cost: Ranges from $30 for a spectator pass to $70 for an all-access pass, with options in between More info: www.coastalderbyexpo.com
Camp Awesome Hawaii Dates: TBD January 2016 Location: Oahu, Hawaii The Essentials: For the past six years, Sin City Skates and the Pacific Rollergirls have co-hosted Camp Awesome, a clinic for intermediate and advanced skaters. With just 50 attendees, Camp Awesome Hawaii bills itself as “super intense and competitive.” We hope the event will be back again next year! Cost: TBD, but past years have ranged from $20 to $149 More info: www.awesomederby.com
Have we missed your favorite convention? Let us know in the comments!