Today, we have another guest post from Jerry Seltzer, often referred to as “The Commissioner” of Roller Derby.
His father, Leo Seltzer, invented the sport in 1935 and Jerry has followed in his footsteps since 1957, going from Roller Derby promoter (SF Bay Bombers) to television syndicator, to co-founder of BASS tickets, to Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Ticketmaster and now, finally, to Brown Paper Tickets, where he is serving a role as an Outreach and Sales Representative. We are honored to have a living legend as part of our team and Jerry has a ton of great stories on Derby history and the history of the modern ticketing industry as we know it today.
Today, Jerry shares some memories of past Rollercons and lets you know where to find him at Rollercon 2013, happening Wednesday, July 31st to Sunday, August 4th in Las Vegas, Nevada.
So, without further ado, here’s the man himself: Jerry Seltzer, the Roller Derby Jesus!
The first Rollercon I attended was in 2006, and I don’t remember exactly why I went. I think it was because Loretta “Little Iodine” told me about it.
I had met the Windy City Rollers and my first derby wife Val Capone the year before. Judi Flowers sent along 300 pair of her flower slippers that had been featured on Oprah and Sex and the City and we gave them out…..anyone still have them? Loretta and I were so honored to be introduced and to get to say hello to everyone at the big opening dinner (which has since gone the way of the dodo bird).
Rollercon 2013 at the Riviera Las Vegas will be either my fifth or sixth Rollercon. Ivanna and Trish and all the people who put this amazing event together are wonderful…..at least to me. Rollercon has become the centerpiece of modern roller derby, even more so than the championships. Over 5000 attendees from all over the world will be there (anyone coming from the leagues in China, Russia, Korea, South Africa, Egypt or Israel?). This has become Roller Derby Mecca: the best skating instruction, the best functions, seminars, trade show, etc. Or, perhaps think of it as Roller Derby University, where it is not as much what you learn, but who you meet, hang with and make bonding relationships with.
I have never been a skater, unless you count my time on the banked track in a match race with a sponsor (I had sense enough to lose) or when I skated with the Singer Midgets (their actual name) when they were in Hollywood filming The Wizard of Oz…….I hope that doesn’t date me.
But boy, this is my Disneyland, Space Shuttle and Super Bowl all wrapped in one.
And Brown Paper Tickets, the only ticketing company with a full Derby Division, staffed with derby people, has me doing sales and outreach for them. This not just for profit, fair trade company had me start with them last September. If you can imagine the logistics of doing every admission function for Rollercon, you can see what a snap it would be for them to handle your league (lowest service fee, no cost to you, magnificent customer service).
And what will I be doing?
Well, I have 7500 Facebook friends and tens of thousands who follow my blog and Twitter, so I get to see many of them this one time of year. We take pictures and I sign the various places they want to be signed (yes, it is true). I will hang in the Brown Paper Tickets booth with Sten and Michelle and the many others they will bring, just to make sure all problems in Las Vegas are handled.
Judi Flowers and I will be at the Roll Models/Gamegear booth in the Main Hall (#24, at the corner right in front) where Judi will introduce the derby fashion-forward SeltzerBrand/Gamegear designs by Lucy D which are sublimated (wait ’til you find out what that means) and unlike anything else in derby. The designs last as long as the fabric, regardless of washings. So, if you are even just thinking about getting team uniforms, please check out Roll Models. That is, of course, unless you don’t want professional looking, long wearing, sublimated designs. There will be a limited amount on sale as well as books autographed by The Commissioner (that’s me!) and plenty of photo ops.
Roller derby legend and Brown Paper Tickets’ Alternative Sports Doer Bob Noxious and I will be heading up a seminar on Saturday, August 3rd at noon in Room #114. If you are super-successful in attracting fans or not successful, you will want to be there to be part of the discussion. There is so much about promotion, marketing and ticketing that is not obvious, and we will get into all of that. I have promoted over 3000 roller derby games, not to mention musicians like Willie and Waylon and many more!
And here is an oddity: the Roller Derby Skate Corporation, started by my father and uncle Oscar Seltzer 70 years ago will be making its first appearance at Rollercon, in the West Hall (where the Brown Paper Tickets booth is!). I have no ownership; cousin Ed (a nuclear physicist who attended Cal Tech) owns it, and has made it one of the most successful roller, ice, skateboard and hockey companies in the world. I guess he figured it was time to visit his namesake. I am certain he has gone for a certain niche, and you really should stop by and see the products in the booth. We required all of our skaters to wear them back in the day.
It appears that about 200 members of the vibrant “Derby Over 40” group will be on hand. We will have a little gathering on Friday night, and hope you can attend my (third) derby wedding to the breathtaking Donna “The Hot Flash” Kay at the top of the Riv and then stay for the “Pants-Off/Dance-Off” party (I guess that is appropriate on a wedding night).
If you don’t know about Donna, please check out her Facebook page. Maybe the most amazing woman around.
I can’t remember your derby name and real name (I check the labels in my shirts to make certain they are mine), so just come up and hug me, tell me who you are and let’s take a photo.
Gawd, I LOVE Rollercon.