Nicknamed "The Guatemala
n Flyer", and later "The Living Legend", Ralphie Valladares
was the best skater in the history of roller derby
, holding every important scoring
, and endurance
record in the sport.
Born on July 31, 1936 in Guatemala, Valladares moved to Los Angeles at the age of twelve, won a National Speed Skating Championship at 14, and began skating professionally at 17. At 5' 2", 115 lbs., his build was in stark contrast to the larger, more physical players, which ended up not a hindrance, but rather allowed him to skate circles around his slower counterparts to avoid injuries and rack up points on the banked roller derby track.
In 1960, he became a charter member of the World Champion Los Angeles T-Birds, and began thrilling audiences internationally. At the height of the sport's popularity he was the number one star, serving as a technical advisor to the Raquel Welch film Kansas City Bomber, and performing in front of 50,118 fans at Comiskey Park on September 15, 1972.
For almost forty years Ralphie delighted fans as a player and manager for the T-Birds. Sadly, Ralphie died of cancer on November 13, 1998, leaving behind a great legacy for millions of roller derby fans around the world.