Roller derby wraps up season Sunday

Those who have never seen a roller derby bout got the opportunity Tuesday during the Central New York Roller Derby’s "Meet and Greet Night" at Kennedy Arena.

League representatives said the goal of the event was to recruit new members to their league for next season and give people a chance to try on a pair of roller skates. The CNY Roller Derby season ends this weekend.

The 315 Throwdown with Assault City Rollerderby of Syracuse versus the Utica Clubbers will be held at Kennedy Arena Sunday, Sept. 19. Doors open at 2 p.m. Cost is $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Children age 10 and under or seniors age 65 and older are free. There will be a DJ and live music.

CNYRD will also host a new skaters class from 7-10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21 at the former YMCA gym at 726 Washington St., Utica. The Newbies Class will run 12 weeks.

In late 2007, a small group of women in Utica decided they wanted to play roller derby, but none had significant prior skating experience. Through mutual friends they were introduced to members of the Assault City Roller Derby team in Syracuse and began the snowy treks once a week to the Onondaga County city for practices. By late 2007, the group had enough local and regional interest that it began to host its own practices and the Central New York Roller Derby League was created.

Now CNY Roller Derby boasts members from Rome, Westmoreland, Utica, Remsen, Clinton, Whitesboro, New York Mills, Yorkville, Herkimer, Ilion, Mohawk, Little Falls and Richfield Springs. The women come from all walks of life, including mothers, nurses, farmers, counselors, college professors, teachers and social workers.

CNYRD started competing in April 2008, and held its first home bout in July of that year at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Since then, the league has hosted bouts at Kennedy Arena and travels to compete against teams throughout the Northeast. Since the league’s inception, local women have spawned two new teams: The Utica Clubbers and the Blue Collar Betties. A second league and men’s team The Quadfathers, was also started by the referees.

CNYRD operates as a non-profit organization. All money that comes into the league goes to defraying the costs of hosting bouts, making merchandise and helping with insurance and injury expenses. No one in the league makes money off of playing the sport. CNYRD is run through a democratically elected Board of Directors, along with committees managing public relations, marketing, sponsorships, merchandising, recruitment, events and coaching and training.

For more information about CNYRD, go to the league’s website at