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Derby girls ready to duke it out

John Benson • May 12, 2015 at 6:28 PM

Want to go?

• WHAT: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Roller Derby Bout

• WHEN: 6 p.m. Feb. 12

• WHERE: Ghostly Manor Thrill Center, 3319 Milan Rd., Sandusky

• COST: $10/advance, $12/day of show

• INFO: 419-626-4467 or facebook.com/sanduskyrollergirls

For those folks looking to experience a little high-flying aggression and power-packed athletic competition during Cupid’s heart-shaped holiday, the Sandusky Rollergirls are holding the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Roller Derby Bout at 6 p.m. Feb. 12 at Ghostly Manor Thrill Center in Sandusky.

“This is the kickoff to our 2011 season,” said Renee Matthews, the Sandusky Rollergirls organizer. “We just called it the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre because it’s a few days away from St. Valentine’s Day, and we’re looking at it with a sense of humor. Right now we have two teams — The Hellcats and The Heartbreakers — in our league. The first time we played each other was in September. We only started last May and already it’s going along fairly quickly. We have 33 girls total, divided into two teams. And when we go to play other leagues, our all-star team will be picked from the entire league.”

Bouts scheduled for later this spring include a home contest against Floral City from Monroe, Michigan and an away contest against Toledo’s Glass City Rollers. Initially when Matthews decided to put a roller derby team together last spring, the Ghostly Manor Manager and Castalia native wasn’t sure what type of turnout she’d receive.

“So far everybody is really enthusiastic about it,” said Matthews. “We wear our shirts out in public and women will stop us on the streets and say, ‘Oh, you play roller derby? It sounds like fun.’ Everybody seems to be really enjoying it. I feel like it’s been a big hit.”

Perhaps proving the Sandusky Rollergirls is here to stay is Matthews’ expectation of 700 people coming out for the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. She said the outfit is also on the move within the region. “Other leagues are getting to know that Sandusky has a team and they’re interested in playing against us,” Matthews said. “We’re looking into traveling a little bit further away than just Ohio. We’re also trying to get the community to recognize us as a legitimate women’s sport. So far it’s been pretty good. We did an event back in December for Toys for Tots and took in a lot of toys. So we’re looking forward to working with more charities this year.”

Matthews admitted the biggest hurdle remains dispelling the notion that roller derby is akin to professional wrestling. “It’s totally not fake,” Matthews said. “It’s 100 percent real.”

The Sandusky Rollergirls’ St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Bout takes place at 6 p.m. Feb. 12 at Skateworld and Ghostly Manor Thrill Center, 3319 Milan Rd., Sandusky. Tickets are $10 ADV/$12 DOS. For more information, call 419-626-4467 or visit facebook.com/sanduskyrollergirls.

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