Kansas City Roller Warriors is the
angry mutant love child of skaters Dirty Britches and
Princess Anna Conda, formerly known as Brooke Leavitt
and Mandy Durham, respectively. The initial idea for
the league was born in the spring of 2004 within the
quiet confines of the public library where the two women
Inspired by the Texas
Rollergirls website, Leavitt semi-jokingly suggested
the idea of forming a Kansas City roller derby league.
After a brief discussion the girls decided it was an
idea worthy of pursuit.
“At that point we didn’t even realize there
were rules,” says Durham. “We just thought
these girls were getting all padded up and beating the
hell out of each other on skates. It seemed like a pretty
great idea. We were kicking ourselves for not thinking
of it sooner.”
The presentation of an apparently violent sport within
a uniquely theatrical context proved irresistible to
both women. “It was really appealing to me on
so many levels,” says Durham. “It was an
opportunity to be creative and intensely physical and
to build something totally unique from the ground up.”
Leavitt began contacting girls from the Texas league
and asking questions about what it would take to get
a legitimate league off the ground. She also received
quite a bit of guidance and support from Ivanna Spankin
of Arizona Roller Derby, which at the time was the only
other existing flat track league besides TXRG. Leavitt
got the paperwork in order, and by June, Kansas City
Roller Warriors, LLC was officially established.
“We started skating in a parking lot in the middle
of the summer,” says Leavitt. “There was
broken glass and crap all over the place, and we’d
just go out there and skate in circles until I thought
we were gonna die from heatstroke.”
It was around this time that Durham approached John
Hernandez to ask him if he might be interested in coaching.
Hernandez knew both women from attending school at the
Kansas City Art Institute, and to their pleasant surprise,
“It’s not like there was a local roller
derby authority,” explains Durham, “so we
knew we just needed to find someone with a lot of patience
who was really good with people. We got really lucky
when John decided to help us.”
The girls put flyers all over the city in hopes of
finding other women ready to commit themselves to a
life of pain, anguish, and exquisite thigh muscles.
New skaters slowly trickled in, and by the fall the
league had moved practices to a small community center.
“We basically skated on a small basketball court,”
says Leavitt, “In one part of the floor there
was this huge lump where there had been some water damage.
Also there was a stage in front, so we had girls continually
crashing into the front of the stage while we were doing
drills. So that was pretty sweet.”
Eventually the league was able to move into Winnwood
Skate Center, where practices are now held three times
a week. Nearly 80 girls now proudly call themselves
part of KCRW. The Roller Warriors held their first official
season from January through June of 2005 and packed
the house at every game. In February of 2006, KCRW sent
an All-Star Travel team to play in the first National
Flat-Track Roller Derby Championships in Tucson, Arizona.
KCRW placed 6th in the nation out of twenty participating
In a 10-minute bout on the first day of the tournament,
the Roller Warriors faced off against the source of
their original inspiration, the mothers of all-female
flat track derby- the Texas Rollergirls.
By one point.
In the winter of 2007 the Roller Warriors came back with a vengeance and stunned crowds of derby fans as they took 4th at the Western Regional qualifiers. The hard-fought finish earned them a spot at the 2007 Texas Shootout and a chance to take home the WFTDA National Championship trophy. In what was considered to be and already predetermined tournament, KCRW was quickly labeled as the “underdog.” But in a series of head-turning events, the Roller Warriors blew past the New York and North Carolina teams, rightfully securing them a spot in the final battle against Seattle's Rat City. In the end, the All-Star team emerged victorious with an 89 to 85 win over the highly lauded Rat City girls, in what all derby enthusiasts are calling one of the greatest bouts ever played in the history of the WFTDA league.