DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Today is International Women’s Day, and Gem City Roller Derby is reflecting on the progress that has been made and honoring those who have fought for the rights of women everywhere.

Dayton’s premier roller derby league, Gem City Roller Derby, is a standout team in the sport, consistently ranking in the top 100 teams in the world the last few years. It has been breaking down barriers and defying expectations since its inception in 2006 as a skater-owned and operated nonprofit.

Roller derby is a full-contact sport that requires strength, agility and endurance, and it’s not for the faint of heart, according to a release from the derby.

“This Dayton league has built a thriving organization that we hope is an inspiration to women everywhere,” Jessica “Slamwise Gamgee”, a Gem City skater, said. “Roller derby is such an inclusive sport, and our league accepts every size, shape, personality, and this sport has always been, and is still, dominated by women athletes and women leaders running this non-profit and league.”

Roller derby has always been a sport that’s about breaking down barriers and defying expectations. It started as a form of entertainment in the 1930s and ’40s, with both men and women participating, the release states.

In the 1970s, roller derby experienced a resurgence, but this time it was predominately a women’s sport. It was a time when women were fighting for equality in all aspects of life, including sports.

In the early 2000s the sport of derby made another renaissance with rapid growth throughout the world with the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association stating on their website that there over 400 registered leagues on 6 continents.

Gem City Roller Derby had a notable 2022 season with their charter team, Purple Reign, closing out the year with an undefeated record.

You can join a Gem City Roller Derby bout at their season opener tournament April 29 and 30 at the Dayton Convention Center.

More information can be found on the derby’s website or by following GemCityRollerDerby on social media to receive updates once tickets go on sale for the April tournament weekend.