Adult skaters do figure skating because they like it. We often love ourselves on ice and are not interested in others. But most of skaters gathered to see the Finnish team in Oberstdorf! Why? Because they are bright, bold, energetic, and yet they are all men! They will tell you about themselves…
Briefly about Team RiverBulls
Team is based in city of Seinäjoki (Finland)
During the season 2018-2019 there were 14 men of which 13 competed.
The average age of participants — 42.4
We are all married. And a fun fact is that we have more than 30 children in total.
We are all «just» dads. No one has any figureskating background.
«And the rest is history…»
Tell the story of your team. Who had the idea to create a men’s team?
It is said that many good things starts as a joke, so did our team, RiverBulls.
Two of our skaters were waiting for their daughters’ synchro practise to end. As they watched when girls move on ice in different formations eg. line, block etc, they said to each other «Should we try that too, it looks so easy. Hasn’t every finnish man learned to move in formations in the army«.
After the ice practice these two fathers asked the coach, Ms Tiina Pesonen, if she could arrange a short course for men. This «Synchro for Dummies» was promised to be arranged if there were ten men commited to participate».
Ten men were recruited during summer/autumn 2014. Our club arranged time on ice for us in december of 2014, but there was one condition for ice, we should present some kind of program on club’s traditional ice event on begining of january 2015. Short course was five rehersals, and after that we presented our first «program» called police academy, with hockey skates ? and the rest is history!
Why is the team called Riverbulls?
In addition to Riverbulls, there are also RiverDolls, RiverFalls, Riverettes, RiverPearls. How are these teams related? All teams in our club starts with River.
River comes from name of our city, direct translation of Seinäjoki is Wallriver and Bulls comes… well male gender and little bit clumsy ?
Riverettes is an other adult team in our club and the first team in our club. And our dear contestant. RiverDolls is beginner team in our club. RiverFalls is novice team. RiverPearls is junior team.
Men in figure skating — a rarity. How did you manage to assemble such a large male team?
We have been wondering that too. The fact that area of Seinäjoki is famous from wrestlers, finnish baseball, football and icehockey didn’t help us. But somehow we managed to combine curiosity, challencing yourself, crazyness, dumminess,braveness. We have enough brave men to show we can do what we want, even someones might call it weird.
How many years has RiverBulls been and has the membership changed significantly during this period?
First offical training were held 07.12. 2014. We count that is the date when RB was established.
We started with 10 men. From original 10, 5 is still in team. During this 5 years there has been about 20 men in team.
Theoretically, can a girl appear in your team?
Theoretically no. Idea is to be only for males. But there is expection, in one competition during season our coach were skating with us.
Few years ago we had mixed team with Riverettes in one competition, in that competition both teams had lack of skaters and it was decided to make mixed team.
What are your workouts on and off the ice?
On ice we do practises which are aimed to improve our basic skating skills and ofcourse we do quite much program.
Off ice we do physics exercises, circuit trainings, stretchings and program rythmic trainings.
Who is preparing the team for the starts (coaches, choreographers, costume designers …)?
Our coach is ms. Katja Viertoma, she makes plan for choreagraphy, desides theme, plans music. Costume is planned co-operation with Katja and team.
One team — one dream…
What motivates you to skate together?
Team spirit, challenging yourself, learning new things.
What difficulties does the team face?
Most difficult is to get at least 12 men to ice. Because of work and family matters.
What difficulties does your team have to overcome?
Most challenging things are .. well… poor skating skills, no sense of rhythm and quite often we have opinion to thing where from we don’t know anything f.ex. how to do pivoting block 😉
What is the most effective element performed by your team?
We are proud of our high speed intersections and in one version of Police academy we made lift with loop, that was awesome.
Adult team is always a very difficult union. Are there any rules on your team that all participants must follow? (attendance of trainings, behavior during trainings, trips, etc.)
First of all, it’s really important to be in trainings. It’s not always easy when you have family and work.
We try to be on time in trainings and try to make warmup before trainings.
We should be quiet and listen to coach when she has something to say. It’s not easy cause someone has always own opinion 😉
During trips we have some scheduled program too, especially evening before competition f.ex. we have relaxing time together where we calm down and set mindset to competition.
Just a hobby?
How do you usually spend your free time in traveling?
Normally we travel by bus, we don’t have any rules what to do, some listens music, other watches movies, others plays with playing cards.
Do your close people support your hobby?
Of Course! Without their support this would not be possible.
Was there a support group (friends, family) with you in Oberstdorf?
No, there was only Team with coach. We took this trip as end of season “vacation” with team.
In addition to Oberstdorf, in which competitions do you usually participate in during the year? How many teams usually compete with each other?
On season 18-19 we competed in 2 official competitions under Finnish figure skating union. Totally in these competition participated about 20 adult teams.
Then we took part to three invitational competitions, participating teams were approx 5 teams/event.
What is the reaction of the audience to your performances?
In every event, we have been participating, audience has been awesome! They have been supporting us and cheering loudly to us. That has been giving lots of power to our performance!
Did you take part in any ice shows? What were these events?
We have been once in opening ceremony of Finlandia Trophy competition in Espoo, year was 2015. There we performed together with lovely Kiira Korpi!
At the end of each season, we also participate in the annual ice show of our club. These famous shows are presented by up to 300 skaters.
What are the 3 words that best describe your team?
This is difficult…. Brave, persistent/persevering, brothers.
Such are they, RiverBulls. Brave, persistent, persevering brothers. They show the wonders of willpower and spirit. We wish the team to achieve even greater skill and greater love of the audience!