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How To Keep Your Derby Number On
Categories: Derby

By: Candice Heiden

Photo: trendtattoo.org

While browsing a skate discussion forum, I

stumbled upon a thread where a derby girl

was describing her league’s success with a

new technique for securing the pesky and

troublesome “arm numbers”. This seems to

be an issue that many roller derby leagues deal

with every weekend at bouts. It’s a real problem

for the skaters and for the referees when their

hand written numbers (usually on the shoulder/upper arm area) begin to run or rub off on

other players.

I contacted this derby dame and asked if she would be willing to share her

awesome technique of air-brushing arm numbers on for derby bouts, and she was

happy to submit a little guest post here on We RollerSkate. So without

further rambling…


Midway through most any roller derby bout, arm numbers are smudged, sweated off and transferred to other skaters arms to create hard or impossible to read numbers. Refs have to look several times while calling penalties to make sure they are calling the right skater. One team in Colorado has found the solution to this problem: airbrush tattoo the numbers to each skater!

Number 1975 is Airbrushed On

Castle Rock n Rollers, of Castle Rock, CO, recently went to a tournament in Boise, ID to compete in several bouts over two days. Instead of writing arm numbers with Sharpie, their assistant coach came up with the ingenious idea of airbrush tattooing the numbers on each skater with handmade stencils. The numbers lasted through the entire tournament and came off easily after with a quick swipe of alcohol. Referees commented how easy the numbers were to read, appreciated that they could see them from afar and were even easy to see over sleeve tattoos.

The airbrush tattoo ink is safe for skin and comes off easily with alcohol, yet lasts for up to 5 days even with frequent showers. The ink comes in 15 colors and is applied with an airbrush. If this sounds like something your team would like to try, please contact the Castle Rock n Rollers at their website for more information.

-Ginny Hitchhiker
Castle Rock n Rollers


A very special thanks to Ginny for providing this insight, seems like a great

efficient solution to a common problem for most derby leagues. I’d love to

have others share their tips and tricks, please leave a comment below :)

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  • Guest0

    As a referee I would love to see this in the leagues I frequently officiate for.