How Dancing 'til You Drop in Denver led to the Invention of Roller Derby



Leo Seltzer's events were walkathons, where the contestants walked rather than danced to exhaustion....In a recent book on Marathons he is credited with being the first event promoter to set up standards for the events to protect the participants. Also, today there are approximately 1850 amateur leagues worldwide (see The most complete book of history of the sport from 1935 to its end in 1973 is "Roller Derby to Rollerjam", available in most lilbraries and

Thank you for the comments Jerry, I used newspaper articles from the time and the Roller Skate museum's website for most of my information. Some articles described walkathons and dance marathons as being the same and often events titled a walkathon was actually more like a dance marathon.

Thank you for the book suggestion, that is not one we currently have in our library.


The restaurant in Chicago was Ricketts. The game gained popularity because the teams incorporated men and womens squads.


There's now a more recent history of roller derby available. I believe the author interviewed Jerry Seltzer for the book, which was adapted from the writer's doctoral dissertation. The title is "Roller Derby: The History of an American Sport," by Michella Marino, who has also been a participant in a local team. (I'm not affiliated with the book in any way, I'm just providing updated info.)

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