ROLLER DERBY

American Roller Racers (ARR)
By Jim Greene

Roller Derby

American Roller Races skated throughout California i.e. Fresno, El Monte, Bakersfield Indio, Palmdale, Palm Springs, and Compton. Still without TV, American Roller Races were drawing the crowds and everyone was only assuming that Roller Games would crumble. Just as Games would pack the Olympic, just 16 miles away, American Roller Races was packing the El Monte Stadium. Just as the leagues was hitting its stride, going now for three new teams (Orange County Express with Butch Knerr, Cleveland Wreckers with Jac Beehler & Stars n Stripes with Bert Wall) George Copeland received official greetings from Uncle Sam and off to the Dominican Republic he went. Skaters started running scared and Lou Sanchez grabbed some of the best and headed to Texas and the attendance began to fall. The league seemed to be on its way down; along with the Copelands entire investment.

Marilyn Munsey, Gar Brewer and Bill Gatchell remained faithful and elected Jim Greene as their representative. Pulling things together and working to open a new market which consisted of Phoenix and radio and an all out revamping of American Roller Races. After Greene saw the records and saw that the original contract with Seltzer was to pay him $400.00 monthly, Greene immediately telephoned Seltzer and he agreed that the monthly charge would be dropped. Seltzer was always fair to everyone and advised Greene they could still use the word Roller Derby.

As the crowds continued to decline, just like a star had fallen from heaven, Greene was able to get Bert Wall to join the Hurricanes. It turned out, that only did the fans remember him, they realized he was on the wrong team, and Greene immediately worked Wall into a Braves uniform. The fans went Wild. The Los Angeles Times, to the rescue, did a 10 line mini ad about the return of this Veteran Star and El Monte Legion was packed.

Skaters being Skaters, Bill Gatchell, Gar Brewer and Jim Greene spent most of their time on the telephone, trying to convince the skaters that were refusing to skate; talent makes talent, talent builds crowds, crowds build teams, and teams mean power. The sad thing was that the skaters were not showing up because the Veteran Wall had returned. When explaining this to Wall, he smiled, held his head proudly and remarked, for the sake of the game, I will not skate here anymore; and he walked out.

Greene furious with Wall's decision( as he knew a SKATER from a skater), put in writing to all skaters that the league would be closed if anyone ever, ever again, put him or any representative of the league in the position they did with the Bert Wall situation. The Copelands agreed with Greene's decision to close the league.

While things were still falling and the crowds not returning after months of hard work, and Lou Sanchez still in Texas, Lou agreed to return to the Legion for a few games.

A match race at El Monte Legion Stadium, billed the biggest match race in the history of the Stadium featured Mary Youpelle and Jim Greene and of course, Mary saw the opportunity to make herself a winner; simply outSKATE)Greene. The fans were again out of control with pleasure. Mary, their hero, was back.

The games were rolling right along, but Coach Gar Brewer decided he and his lovely wife wanted to start a family and retire from skating, so an opening appeared as the Brave Coach. Harold Wilson took the position but it wasn't working. Don't misunderstand me, Hal and Don Olsen had the fans on their feet as the two of them together were like two peas in a pod; they worked the team excellently and helped establish many new plays the team and fans had never seen before.

Moving on, the fan count started to decrease and Bill Gatchell was called to the rescue. It took the fans one game with Gatchell as Coach to again salute the Los Angeles Braves. Gatch not only was an ace in the pocket to the team, but the fans took to his SKATING ability and the way he coached. Never giving a back seat to any skater, Gatchell proved to the fans in match race after match race, that he was a true Brave. Gatchell never lost a match race against any of the coaches; i.e. Greene, Beehler, Sanchez, and a few others that should not have even been allowed. Gatchell creamed the skaters against him. Funny, Gatch simply out SKATED them in legal blocking while all others used dirty tricks to try and win the race. It didn't work.

With Youpelle as Captain of the Braves, the duo worked pretty good, and the fans seemed to love the combo. The El Monte Legion Stadium was packed one evening, and the Hurricanes were skating the All Stars Munsey and Greene of the Hurricanes had a bitter dispute and Munsey walked off the track at halftime. Greene informed her that Sally Weilly would replace her if she wasn't back by the last girls period...