Every group of like-minded people has its annual summit, a combination group hug, think-tank, motivational kick-in-the-pants, meat market, and (sometimes) drunk tank. Fantasists have Comic-Con, pagans have PantheaCon, computer hackers have DEFCON, and the cinema elite have plain old Cannes (some of you just pronounced that correctly for the first time).
Enter RollerCon celebrating its fifth year in the Las Vegas heat bringing together everything roller derby under one roof (or two…or maybe three). Started by three veteran skaters in 2004 – KC Bomber (Los Angeles Derby Dolls), Chola (TXRD Lonestar Rollergirls), and Ivanna S. Pankin (San Diego Derby Dolls) – this event has grown exponentially with the sport itself. 2009 numbers topped 1,000 registered participants, including skaters, coaches, referees, officials, announcers, fans and media. The ranks of unregistered and unwitting accomplices grew as the weekend unfolded. Events like outdoor bouts on Fremont Street and a Vegas flavored scavenger hunt captured the imaginations and hearts of tourists from around the world.
What could possibly be on the agenda besides skating and mayhem? As the “Con” in RollerCon implies (well, besides relieving innocent bar-standers of their extra cocktail cash), the week also included seminars, roundtable discussions, industry vendors (more than booty shorts – think wheels and safety gear, as well as custom skates), the requisite welcome banquet, thirty bands, a derby wedding, and a grand Black and Blue Ball.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I’d like to point out that the RollerCon attendees were not, in fact, the oddest ducks in the pond (nee Las Vegas Strip) over the last week of July, merely the easiest to spot and swoop down upon. DEFCON, the aforementioned computer hackers’ convention (website temporarily down as of this writing; Hacked perhaps?), took place at the same time and place, and there was inevitable co-mingling of geek and…gal? Upon entering the casino’s Geisha Bar in the wee hours of the morning and spying a couple mired in flirtatious conversation, you tell me who stood out more, the girl wearing the hot pants and Converse or the guy wearing the working Tetris game hanging from his belt.
See the RollerCon 2009 promo video
This week’s photo by bjmacke (aka Apron)
Next week: RollerCon: Part 2, Get Smart!