OSWEGO, NY – A whole new sport joins the local landscape when Oz Roller Girls flat-track derby hosts Cortland’s Crown City Royal Pains on April 23 at the Crisafulli Rink.
The Oz Roller Girls are among many new leagues in New York state for the fast-growing sport.
Oswego native Victoria Usherwood Gailinas successfully founded the ManchVegas Roller Girls league in New England and when she moved back to the Port City with her husband, Phil, thought her hometown could embrace the sport as well.
Since starting operations last May, Oz has built a promising team already, drawing skaters and volunteers from virtually every walk of life, Gailinas said.
“Unlike the televised roller derby of the 1970s and 1980s that was essentially professional wrestling on skates, modern roller derby is a very real sport that is also demanding and exciting,” she added.
The organization strives to put on a show that is easy to follow, family-friendly and promotes the hard work of participants.
“A lot of training, a lot of teamwork, a lot of strategy goes into roller derby,” said Gailinas, who goes by the name Wicked Evil Step Mom on the track. “People who come to our home bouts will catch a very exciting and entertaining sport, which is the result of literally hundreds of hours of training.”
“One of the most fulfilling parts of being involved with the sport is watching the growth and confidence of the skaters,” said Yvonne (Von Diesel) Brown, who chairs the organization’s Bout Committee.
“You’ll watch ladies come in here who have never even skated before but want to try the sport,” Brown added. “You’ll see them get better and better, be able to do more maneuvers and get ready for competition. It’s an amazing transformation.”
That transformation will have its public unveiling April 23, with doors opening at 5 p.m., bout beginning at 6 p.m.
As part of the Oz Roller Girls’ commitment to giving back to the community, part of the proceeds from the bout will benefit the local Veterans Administration Outreach Clinic.
For tickets (including discount presale general admission $6 seats), information or to learn more about participating or volunteering, visit www.ozrollergirls.com