The Atomic City Roller Derby team is seeking a new home after the pandemic upended its longtime practice and game venues.
Founded in 2007, the team began as part of a nationwide resurgence of the sport of roller derby, brought about by the formation of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association.
Unlike the roller derby of the 1960s and 70s, modern roller derby is less about theatrics and more about providing a hard-hitting, fast-paced competitive sport – with some of the fun left in.
By competing on flat tracks, often set up with nothing more than gaffer’s tape on concrete warehouse or gymnasium floors, the sport is accessible to many more communities than in the days of expensive banked-track arenas.
By 2019, the team had grown to have a women’s team, a co-ed team, and a junior team, all skating under the banner of Atomic City Roller Derby, and competing against teams throughout the Pacific Northwest including British Columbia.
During the summer, they practiced at the outdoor hockey rink adjacent to Mid-Columbia Libraries’ Kennewick branch, sometimes sweating it out in 100-degree heat.
In the winter, they moved indoors to the Kennewick Activity Center, adjacent to the Kennewick City Hall.
For home competitions against visiting teams from all over the Pacific Northwest, they rented the Southridge Sports and Events Complex.
But then the Covid-19 pandemic largely shut down the sport in the Pacific Northwest. As a full-contact sport, the reasons seem obvious.
But starting in 2022, the sport began to re-awaken.
However, the temporary absence disrupted long-standing space arrangements and the team found itself struggling to find places to practice for the growing number of participants, and no longer had access to the Southridge complex for bouts and tournaments.
And so, the search was on.
Tomiann “WeEvil” Parker, who serves as league president, said the team’s first priority is to secure space to use for indoor practice in the winter months.
“I mean, it would be great if we had use of it year-around,” Parker said, “but we’re pretty tough, so we can skate outside in the summer. It’s pretty hard to do that in the winter, though.”
The team’s space requirements are fairly simple: For practices, the team seeks an unobstructed floor space – 108-by-75 feet would be ideal, but the team could work with something down to 92-by-49 feet. They need the space two nights a week between 5:30-8 p.m.
Floor surfaces need to be compatible with roller skates – concrete, wood, vinyl or sports court.
For competitive bouts, the team needs seating/standing space for up to 200 spectators. The team provides the actual seating.
Registered as a 501(c)(3), the team has a budget for renting the space, though would prefer to discuss opportunities for in-kind sponsorship in lieu of some portion of the rent.
Atomic City carries its own liability insurance.
Contact Parker at 509-308-9474 to discuss potential spaces.
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