Judy Arnold - Golden Girl of the Roller Games

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Judy Arnold - Golden Girl of the Roller Games

In the early 1970s, Judy Arnold – angel-faced, athletic and scrappy – was the Golden Girl of the Roller Games (an offshoot of the more famous Roller Derby) and the charismatic captain of the perennial Roller Games champion, the Philadephia Warriors. Her fame extended well beyond the City of Brotherly Love and all the way to Hollywood, where she was Raquel Welch’s advisor and stunt double in the 1972 roller derby movie “Kansas City Bomber”.

Judy Arnold - Golden Girl of the Roller Games

Unlike today’s pampered, highly-paid celebrity athletes, the Warriors were regular people just like us – men and women who lived in unpretentious neighborhoods and worked hard for a paycheck that would cover their living expenses and not much else. Some weren’t necessarily even better athletes than the rest of us – just people crazy enough to put on roller skates and tights, whiz around a banked track, and take part in the inevitable collisions and brawls that kept the fans howling at the old Philadelphia Arena on Market Street, or in front of their TVs (where the Warriors appeared on UHF every Sunday night).

Judy Arnold - Golden Girl of the Roller Games

Judy Arnold was our hero because she stood tall and fought back every time some evil creep on the Detroit Devils, Texas Outlaws or New York Bombers tried to rip her white #67 jersey, pull her blonde hair, smash her pretty face into a padded railing, or clunk her over the head with an ever-available folding metal chair.

And when, during a TV interview, her sneering opponent and arch-rival Judy Sowinski would diss the Arena crowd, you knew it was only a matter of moments before: (1) our Judy would defend the city’s honor (“How DARE you insult the good people of Philadelphia!”) and challenge her to a match race (“Five laps, anything goes!”); and (2) the two Judies would start a fistfight (the Punchin’ Judy Show?) in which the only person hurt would be Elmer Anderson, the pudgy, white-haired TV announcer.


LIBERTY BELLE: “What could possibly be exciting about grown men and women in hot pants and tights chasing each other around an oval track like a bunch of circus chimps on roller skates?”

SON OF SWOOP: “You just don’t get it, Lib. In the early 70s, the Eagles, Flyers, Sixers and Phillies all sucked, but the Warriors RULED! They were the world champions year after year! How could you NOT love them?”
OZZARD OF WHIZ: “Yeah, but what I could never figure out was, when exactly did they win these ‘championships’? I don’t remember ever seeing any regular-season standings, much less a playoff game.”
Son of Swoop
SON OF SWOOP: “Judy, Buddy Atkinson and Vinny Gandolfo were my heroes. But when the Flyers got good in 1973, I forgot about the Warriors. Then, two Stanley Cups later, the Warriors, Arena and Roller Games had vanished! Oz, can you tell me where they’ve gone? I just looked around and they’re gone!"
SON OF SWOOP OZZARD OF WHIZ: “Anybody here seen my old friend Vinny?”
LIBERTY BELLE LIBERTY BELLE: “Guess it’s just one more three-year gap missing from your memory, SOS.”

Judy Arnold - Golden Girl of the Roller Games

Judy Arnold is now a born-again Christian and an ordained minister living a couple hours north of Sacramento, California. In addition to traveling all across the US to deliver motivational speeches (often in her old Warriors uniform and white roller skates), she is involved with Joni and Friends’ Family Retreats, a summer camp for people with disabilities, and is an area representative for Wheels for the World, a wonderful program that collects used wheelchairs, sends them to prisons to be repaired by inmate volunteers, and then ships the refurbished wheelchairs to third world countries where they are distributed to needy recipients who could not otherwise afford them. Please honor our good friend Judy and donate generously to these worthy organizations. (We already have.)

Judy Arnold – a TV hero then, a real-life hero now. The good people of Philadelphia salute you.

Judy Arnold's Personal Website

Judy Arnold Yahoo Sports Group

Roller Derby and Roller Games Tribute Site

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