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Greensboro Roller Derby (GSORD) is gearing up to start the 2019 season off with Avatar: Roller Derby Invitational, which is open to skaters of all genders and skill levels. This co-ed, all-day event will take place at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds & Annex, located at 421 W. 27th St. on March 17 from noon to 5 p.m.

There will be four bouts against the four teams representing the elements, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, and will be made up of more than 90 skaters coming from all over North Carolina and the Southeast. Participating will be players, referees and non-skating officials from over 20 teams including GSORD, Collision Roller Derby, Bull City Roller Derby, Little City Roller Girls, River City Roller Derby, West Virginia Roller Derby, and Rail City Rollers.

Enrolled skaters will be evenly distributed into teams by skill level and by which governing organization they skate for– Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA), Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), USA Roller Sports (USARS). Skaters will compete against each other for coveted Most Valuable Player titles of Best Blocker and Best Jammer for the Earth, Air, Fire, and Water teams.

“I look forward to this Invitational every year,” said Greensboro Roller Derby skater and Avatar co-organizer Heather Alva, aka Kam N GetIt. “Not only do I get to skate with skaters from my league, but I also get to skate with skaters from all over the Southeast!”

Alva said this would be her eighth year participating in this invitational. In the past, the invitational went by the name of “Girls and Guys Gone Wild,” however, the name was changed to accurately represent its inclusivity. Alva said each year she has noticed that more and more talented skaters are participating.

“It’s great because you get to play with guys and girls of all types of skill levels and it’s just one big fun day of derby,” Alva said. “The theme changes every year as well so everyone gets to have a fun ‘boutfit’ if they chose to. There are tons of creative people in roller derby, and it’s great to see what everyone comes up with!”

Alva said that there is a lot of hard work that goes into producing a full day of roller derby.

“It is much more than just skating,” she said. “On top of that, there is track set up and coordinating the event, and the promotion and marketing side of it.”

Alva said that in the end, it is rewarding for her to attend and be a part of making the invitational happen.

“Once a big event like this is over, it is really great to see how all your league’s hard work went into putting on this great day of derby!”

Avatar: Roller Derby Invitational is open to the public and tickets will be available at the door at a rate of $15 for adults 18 and up, $10 for students 13-18, and free for children ages 12 and under. There will also be an afterparty open to the public at Tee Time Sports & Spirits, located at 3040 Healy Dr. in Winston-Salem. For more information about Avatar: Roller Derby Invitational, visit the Facebook event page and Greensboro Roller Derby website.

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