OSWEGO — As if roller derby wasn’t exciting enough, the Oz Roller Girls found themselves taking part in an impromptu horse rescue in the middle of the night coming back from a recent bout.
After a bout against the North Country Lumber Jills in Plattsburgh on July 14, two carloads of Oz league members were on Route 11 near Malone after midnight when they spotted something large in the road.
The lead car, driven by Dvo Snyder, also known as the referee Refpocalypse, slowed to a crawl and the occupants realized the large figures were horses that had broken free.
From where, the witnesses had no idea. A vehicle driven by skater Mindy Nichols — aka Bat Attitude — pulled up behind, and several league members found themselves trying to figure out what to do with four horses standing in the road.
Skater Toni Pavo, also known as Storm Warning and whose farming background provided experience dealing with large animals, was the first to spring into action.
Followed by skaters Yvonne Brown, aka Von Diesel, and Nichols, Pavo chased after the horses, who began running again. Other league members took positions on the road to warn any oncoming traffic.
The unlikely horse whisperers not only had to catch the equines, they also had to find the owners.
“We were out in the middle of nowhere, and I’m not gonna lie, it seemed just like a horror movie,” Brown said. “It was pitch black, there were no cars coming and we had to go to spooky-looking farm houses.”
At the first house they approached, a man came out and said they weren’t his but “he pointed in the direction of a house we couldn’t even see,” Pavo recalled. “I started walking and suddenly felt a driveway. When we knocked on the door, the woman who answered it started yelling.”
Turned out the woman was summoning her husband, who hurriedly got dressed to help bring the horses in. Pavo grabbed one by the harness, the man grabbed another and Nichols the third.
The fourth horse had no harness but followed the other three.
“The lady asked why we were dressed so strangely, and when we told her we just came back from a roller derby bout, she got really excited and told us she used to watch it on TV,” Pavo said.
Oz had lost the bout to the Lumber Jills, but they may have won some new fans for a good deed on the road.
The Oz Roller Girls return to action on Aug. 18, when they host Shoreline Roller Derby in Oswego’s Crisafulli Rink.
The ’70s-themed bout, titled Highway to Hurt with a special guest performance by the Isotopes, will open doors at 5 p.m. with a 6 p.m. whistle.
Tickets cost $15 for trackside VIP, $10 general admission, $5 kids age 4 to 12, children 3 and under admitted free.
For more information, visit ozrollergirls.org