the age of 13, Judy Arnold was flipping through
channels and watched her first roller derby game
on a black and white television. Her first reaction
was to turn off the TV. She didn't like the violence
and the rough nature of the sport. But within the
year, Judy and some neighborhood kids went down
to the Armory in San Francisco to watch the San
Francisco Bay Bombers practice.
Judy was immediately
captivated by the sound and speed of the skaters
on the high, banked track, and that's when she fell
in love with the sport and at the age of 13 she
signed up to begin training.
professional career began at 16 when Judy was signed
by the San Francisco Bay Bombers and in her first
season she received Rookie of the Year. Her natural
athletic grace and talent brought her to the top
of the game quickly. In 1967 Judy was invited to
be the captain of a team which was then called the
Hawaiian Warriors, living and skating in Hawaii
for about 2 and a half months. In the winter of
1967, the team moved to Philadelphia to become the
week, she took to the oval track with the roar of
the crowd screaming her name. Her popularity and
fame flourished as she traveled through the U.S.
and internationally, through Japan, Puerto Rico,
and Santa Domingo.
made a few TV appearances on popular shows, including
Mike Douglas and the Philadelphia talk show, Marcia
Rose. People were fascinated by the beautiful Roller
Derby star who appeared tough as nails but still
had a tender heart.
1972, Hollywood released the film
"Kansas City Bomber,"
starring Raquel Welch. Out on the track,
wearing a long brunette wig, was Judy Arnold, doubling
for Raquel in the skating scenes.
was that experience that stuck with Judy, "I
saw Raquel Welch, this beautiful, famous, talented,
movie star, someone who had it all and yet, she wasn't
happy," remembers Judy, "I couldn't get
over that. I saw in Raquel, this very successful woman
who just wasn't fulfilled.”
this point in time, Judy herself was a superstar of
Roller Derby. Considered one of its greatest skaters,
she was at her peak.
Judy witnessed in Raquel's life, made her very aware of
the emptiness that she was feeling in her own. Around this
same time, a fellow skater and friend, Sally Vega, told
Judy that she needed God. This began her search, which lead
her to a church in New Jersey. Dressed in hot-pants and
go-go boots, Judy responded to the alter call, went forward
and asked Jesus Christ to be her personal Lord and Savior.
knew immediately that this was what I had been missing,
a relationship with my Creator. The relief, the forgiveness,
and the wholeness that I felt was indescribable. Yet
I continued to lace up my skates and hit the track.
Praising God and then clobbering an opponent didn't
sit well for long.”
months later Judy Arnold, being obedient to what God
was calling her to do, told her manager that she would
be leaving her successful skating career for good.
She's never looked back.
It All Up To Gain Everything
1975, Judy unlaced her skates as a professional skater and
enrolled in a Bible College. Intent on memorizing scripture
and deepening her faith, Judy began by sharing her testimony
in L.A. County Jail for women. She also became a Physical
Education teacher in a private Christian school. Her ministry,
at one point, taking her on the road to share her testimony
and preach in churches throughout the United States, and
to this day, continues to do so.
still dons her uniform, skating in to speak with youth,
sharing through her own experiences, the difficult choices
facing adulthood. With typical hard-edged courage, she tackles
head-on the pressures of being a teenager, sex, drugs, peer
pressure and the temptation to lead a double life. Judy
helps our youth understand that through Christ, they can
handle any challenge and become all the Lord has created
them to be.
encourages adults in their walk with the Lord and
speaks of healing, forgiveness and the sense of freedom
that comes only through a relationship with Christ.
She is practical and motivational, giving audiences
the hope and encouragement to equip them to serve
the Lord as He intended.
also speaks at Women's luncheons and retreats, encouraging
women to let go of bitterness, move forward in forgiveness
and lead fulfilling lives as women, mothers, wives
testimony of God's faithfulness continues to bring
new believers into the Kingdom.
2002, Judy started down a new road, one that would
again leave her life changed forever. She met Joni
Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic,
head of the International ministry, “Joni
and Friends,” radio personality, and a driving
force behind the American Disabilities Act. Moved
by Joni’s ability to overcome the challenges
in her life, Judy became involved in her ministries.
2004, Judy volunteered at “Family Retreats,”
a camp for families affected by disabilities, another
branch of the Joni & Friends ministry. There,
she served as a companion to people with disabilities,
helping them enjoy, rest and be ministered to, at
the week-long camp. She was so moved and blessed
by the experience, she has returned every year since.
in 2004, she went a step further and along with friend,
Kara Ferris she began collecting donated, used wheelchairs
and ambulatory equipment that people didn't want, or could
no longer use. The equipment is collected, sent into several
prisons throughout the U.S. and refurbished, then sent into
foreign lands. Third World nations are in desperate need
of workable wheelchairs and a touch from God. Every chair
is sent with the gospel message of the salvation found in
Judy lives in Redding, California, traveling and speaking
on a regular basis. Along with friends Victoria Robbins
and Nancy Foreit, “Truth Ministries” was
created. The trio present a number of workshops, the
most popular entitled "Roots," which focuses
on learning how to remove the roots of bitterness
and experiencing the peace and freedom that comes
Judy began attending Roller Derby reunions which are
held throughout the United States, where once again,
Judy dons her skates and uniform but this time, not
to compete against the room full of her fellow skaters
but instead, she is being given the opportunity to
share with them, the fulfillment that she has enjoyed
these many years because of that decision to leave
and follow God’s new direction for her life.
It is Judy’s heartfelt desire to live out her
days, sharing with others so that they too might come
to know that fulfillment found in a life of serving
her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.