Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder

The Golden Age of Roller Derby & the Rise and Fall of the L.A. T-Birds

Scott Stephens


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Scott Stephens received his first set of roller skates at age six in 1966 – and soon he was staging Roller Derby games in his backyard. Growing up in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s, it was impossible not to have heard about Roller Derby and the Los Angeles Thunderbirds, whose games were televised. In fact, many of the T-Birds were just as popular as those on traditional sports teams such as the Dodgers, Lakers, and Rams. When Stephens started training at the new T-Bird Rollerdrome in Pico Rivera, it was mainly because he loved roller skating on a banked track. He had no idea that the Roller Games league was low on skaters. From 1978 to 1981, from his seat on the infield of the track and on the track itself, Stephens was part of everything the games had to offer, including its underground scene of shadowy characters and venues, adrenalin seekers, and alternative lifestyles. He loved it! Trace the history of Roller Derby and Los Angeles’ flagship team, the T-Birds, with this brilliant account highlighting the sport’s booms and busts.