Sport Spotlight: Roller Derby 4 Kids in Des Moines

Sport Spotlight: Roller Derby 4 Kids in Des Moines

Roller Derby started as an endurance marathon on roller skates over 80 years ago. The original event, called the Transcontinental Roller Derby, was a publicity stunt in which coed pairs attempted to be the first team to skate 4,000 miles, or about 57,000 laps (in the Chicago Coliseum), meant to represent the distance between New York and San Diego.  Roller Derby is still alive and well today, as a sport, and kids in Des Moines can participate in it at local skating rinks.


From the very beginning, roller derby has been inclusive with women playing an important role in the sport. Roller Derby is fast paced and a “game” consists of two 30 minute periods. There are 14 players on a team with five players on the track during a jam (two minutes of play). Teams race around a circular banked track working to free a teammate(s) for the opportunity to score by lapping one or more opponents.


To participate in Roller Derby, kids need to know how to roller skate.  So, skating classes may be in order before a player can participate in Roller Derby.  The sport also requires quite a bit of equipment.  Fortunately, some of it can be rented when you’re just starting out. Roller Derby can also be very physical and injuries are not uncommon.

Best For

Roller Derby skaters are unafraid of taking on a new challenge.  This team sport mixes strength, speed, agility, and welcomes athletes of all shapes and sizes. Roller Derby promotes a positive body image and encourages confidence. Kids who like to be part of a group, have lots of energy and endurance will enjoy roller derby.

Time Commitment

Recreation League: Generally practice once or twice a week for an hour or so and may have intramural games.

Competitive League: May practice several times a week and sometimes will have weekend games or tournaments you may need to travel to.


  • Skates (can be custom built)
  • Helmet
  • Mouth Guard
  • Elbow Pads
  • Wrist Guards
  • Knee Pads
  • Hip Pads
  • Practice Clothes
  • Uniforms


  • Club Membership: Varies depending on the club.
  • Travel Expenses: $100-$500 average per event
  • Skates (can be rented) $100+
  • Helmet (can be rented) $35+
  • Mouth Guard $5+
  • Elbow Pads $20+
  • Wrist Guards $15+
  • Knee Pads $30+
  • Hip Pads $45+
  • Practice Clothes $10+
  • Uniforms $40+

Fees vary according to what is provided by the organizing entity.  Please keep in mind some fees are one time, others are recurring.  All costs are approximate.  As with any activity, as your child progresses, only your family can choose what you will spend in relation to your child’s specific goals within the sport whether competitively or recreationally.

Roller Derby Resources in Des Moines

There are a few places where kids can learn about roller derby in the Des Moines metro area.

Junior Roller Derby Association – National
Des Moines Derby Brats – Des Moines
Skateland – Des Moines
Skate South – Des Moines
Skate West – West Des Moines




What do you think, is Roller Derby is a fit for your kid?

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