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Stateside Podcast: Fishnets, face paint, and roller skates with Detroit Roller Derby

A jammer makes a break on the derby track at the Masonic Temple.
Niki Williams, @niki_midwezt
Niki Williams, Instagram: @niki_midwezt
A jammer makes a break on the derby track at the Masonic Temple.

Over the past 20 years, roller derby has seen a major revival across the country. The modern derby era – which got rolling around 2000 in Austin, Texas – is a far cry from the ultra-staged smackdowns of the 1980s, or the flame-and-fade derby of the 1050s.

Despite an underground resurgence of the sport in the late 1990s, it was Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut Whip It – a 2009 movie about a rebellious, small-town teenager who falls in love with roller derby – that helped earn derby a spot in the collective conscience.

But even with some solid name recognition, most people still don’t exactly know what roller derby, well, is.

We headed to the Detroit Roller Derby league’s latest bout to scope out the scene. Read more about Detroit Roller Derby and our visit here.

Or better yet, check out some roller derby for yourself at the league’s final bout of the season on Saturday, February 11th. Find details and tickets at detroitrollerderby.com.


  • Amelia Greco, Detroit Roller Derby member
  • Amy Ruby, Detroit Roller Derby member

Looking for more conversations from Stateside? Right this way.

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Music in this episode byBlue Dot Sessions.

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Ellie Katz joined the Stateside team as an intern in September 2022.