Roller Derby, in its various forms, has been around since the beginning of the 20th century. In Los Angeles, Roller Derby was broadcast on the radio as early as 1939. In 1972, Raquel Welch starred in the first big-screen Roller Derby movie, Kansas City Bomber. Women’s Roller Derby saw a strong revival in the early 21st century, buoyed by the Ellen Page vehicle Whip It in 2009.
Photographer Laina McWhorter tells us, “I shot for over six years with the Arizona Roller Derby League, earning myself the derby name of 'Triggerhappy' while shooting local and out-of-state bouts for the Tent City Terrors travel team.”
“When I discovered women's Roller Derby in early 2004, I felt like I had found my island of misfit toys. I spent the next 5+ years shooting locally and nationally with Arizona Roller Derby league and the Tent City Terrors traveling team. I was drawn to the exhibitionism, camraderie, and the punk-rock atmosphere of the bouts. which resulted in a riot grrrl-like subculture of its own. I was intrigued and inspired by the confident women of all ages, shapes, and sizes from all backgrounds at each bout as they donned their alter egos, sexy outfits, and snarky names for the night. As women's Roller Derby continues to grow and be taken more seriously as a sport, the good old days of damsels and debauchery have faded. I feel honored to have been able to document the revival of the greatest sport on wheels.”
See more of Laina’s work on her website and Instagram.