Kinetic Sculpture Derby, Kensington’s bid to keep Philly weird

 First time Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby participants from the Penn Jersey Roller Derby League barrel towards a mud in their zombie skate creation. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

First time Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby participants from the Penn Jersey Roller Derby League barrel towards a mud in their zombie skate creation. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

For the past eight years, neighbors in Kensington have kept Philly weird with their madcap derby of homemade, human-powered vehicles touring the cobblestone streets of the neighborhood and ending — literally — in a mudbath. The Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby is organized by the New Kensington Community Development Corporation, largely with volunteers and community partners. For the first time, the derby has the backing of a bank: the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union will be the title sponsor for the next three years.

The director of the NKCDC, Sandy Salzman, says the Credit Union protects the derby’s future, freeing up what limited funds Salzman has for more urgent community projects.

“For years and years, Kensington has had such a negative connotation throughout the city of Philadelphia,” said Salzman. “We wanted to show people throughout the city and beyond that this is a really a good neighborhood, with good people living there, and a lot of positive energy. So that’s why this derby is so important.”

Salzman said bringing on PFCU will not change the experience for riders or spectators.

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