The Frank Ritter Memorial Arena on the Rochester Institute of Technology campus is the "home" rink of the Genesee Figure Skating Club. Our club office is located here. Members skate at the Gene Polisseni Center Monday through Thursday, and at the Ritter Arena on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Our season runs from early September to the end of April. We also offer spring and summer sessions from May through August at the Ritter rink.
Our home rink is named for Frank Ritter, grandfather of F. Ritter Shumway. Shumway was a founder and President of the Genesee Figure Skating Club in 1955, President of the USFSA from 1961 to 1964, Adult Dance competitor, and Sectional Champion for many years. He was also founder and chairperson of the USFSA's Memorial Fund. Mr. Shumway passed away in March of 1992, shortly before his 86th birthday.
The Ritter Arena features large spacious windows, a high ceiling, an excellent sound system, seating for nearly 2000 people, and is temperature controlled. In the fall of 2014, RIT opened a new 4300-seat facility named the Gene Polisseni Center.
F. Ritter Shumway
Late in 1954, the first permanent artificially frozen ice skating rink in Rochester opened in Genesee Valley Park. Twenty-six dedicated figure skaters persuaded the City Park's Department to allocate two hours twice a week to figure skating sessions. The Genesee Figure Skating Club was born.
On December 16, 1955, the Genesee Figure Skating Club moved into the newly completed rink in the Ritter-Clark Building at RIT. Late in January 1956, barely a month after the new Club had started skating at their new "home", the rink in Baltimore, where the Eastern Championships were to be held in three weeks, burned to the ground. Three days later arrangements had been completed to move the competition to the Genesee Figure Skating Club. The 1956 Easterns were a huge success and overnight, the Genesee Figure Skating Club gained a great reputation for hospitality, efficiency and excellence.
In May 1956, the United States Figure Skating Association invited the Club to host what was then the most prestigious of figure skating competitions in the Western Hemisphere, the 1957 North American Championships. Again, the Club rose to the occasion. The largest crowd that had ever witnessed this event, 7200 people, turned out for the finals in the relatively new Rochester War Memorial. It was the largest crowd to use the War Memorial up to that time. National Championships were held in Rochester in 1959, followed by other Sectional and Regional Championships, including the 1980 Eastern Championship held at the new Frank Ritter Memorial Rink on RIT`s Henrietta campus. For when RIT moved to its new campus in Henrietta in 1968, the Genesee Figure Skating Club moved too. The RIT rink is the Club`s "home" rink, but Club members are still able to skate weekday mornings at the old downtown rink, renamed the Skating Institute of Rochester (SIR). In October of 1983 Skate America was held at the Rochester War Memorial, adding a major international competition to the long list of events sponsored by the Club.
In subsequent years the Club has continued to hold and sponsor major competitions and events that have held us in both national and international esteem, and made our name synonymous with efficiency, integrity and hospitality. The Genesee Figure Skating Club continues to grow and prove itself over and over again.
The Club`s "Skating Spectacular" shows were the first amateur productions of their kind to be televised nationally over 285 Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) Stations. "Skating Spectacular" has proven to be a showcase for virtually all United States National and International champions.
From the original 26 founding members, the Genesee Figure Skating Club has grown to hundreds of members.
Over the years, the Genesee Figure Skating Club has produced many talented skaters who have gone on to compete at the National and International levels. They include: Jim Sladky, five time National Champion from 1968 to 1972 and inventor of the Yankee Polka; Richard Callaghan, best known as coach of Todd Eldredge and Tara Lipinski; Terri Slater, 1980 Junior Dance Champion; Scott Gregory, two time National Dance Champion in 1987 and 1988; Renee Roca, three time National Dance Champion in 1986, 1993, and 1995; and, most recently, Stacey Pensgen, Championship Ladies competitor and Silver medalist at the 2000 Four Continents ISU competition.
FOUNDERS OF THE GENESEE FIGURE SKATING CLUB
D. Wilson Hess
F. Ritter Shumway
M. Everett Toomey
William F. Wegner
Paul B. White