Rolla Rena Skate Center in Pratt has been a hub of community fun and exercise for many years but financial struggles are making it difficult for owners to keep the doors open. More skaters are needed!
Monday afternoon at Rolla Rena Skate Center in Pratt, Trevyn Zimmerman slid under the limbo bar set at 12 inches.
That’s a big “WOW” in any skater’s book!
Trevyn got a start several yards behind the bar and, doing a spread-eagle with his body, slid under the bar with 'no problemo.' Not once, not twice, but a bunch of times!
The limbo whiz is the son of Brandon and Tiffany Zimmerman. He will be a second-grader at Skyline Elementary School in the fall. He says he’s been skating since he was two.
“It’s fun!” is Trevyn’s explanation of his limbo-bar feat.
Trevyn was one of a handful of skaters at the rink Monday afternoon.
The low attendance at regular skate times has Kevin Evans, who co-owns the business with wife Sandi, concerned.
“It’s a struggle to keep open when attendance isn’t enough to pay the bills,” Evans said.
One good support that helps is the Pratt Recreation Summer Program which brings about 50 skaters to the rink on Monday mornings from 9:30 to 11:30 for the weeks the program is in session.
“The place is jumping,” on Monday mornings,” Evans said.
Rolla Rena has been part of the summer rec program for “close to 30 years,” he said.
Evans started skating when he was a toddler. His parents owned the rink in Harper for 45 years and he worked along side them as he grew up.
Kevin and Sandi have been skating boosters in Pratt since purchasing the rink in 1988. They raised their kids on skating. Their kids worked along side their parents, just as Dad Kevin did.
Their 24-year-old daughter, Allison, started skating “before she was one,” Evans said. Allison now lives in Kansas City, but is a familiar face at Rolla Rena when she’s here for a visit. Their son, Jacob, graduated from Pratt High School in May. He’s competed in speed-skating events in Wichita.
Rolla Rena boasts a skating area of 50 by 115 feet. There’s a sound system and 10 by 20-foot screen for music videos.
When Pratt Community College students come to skate in a group of about 200, it gets cozy, Evans said.
There’s a snack bar with a menu to please almost any taste, open to bowlers and non-bowlers alike.
Rates for open skating are $1 admission and $2 for skate rental. Skaters are also welcome to bring their own roller blades.
Along with open skating, Rolla Rena hosts private parties, Evans added.
“Check out our FaceBook page,” he invited. “We’ve got all the hours and rates and other specials there.”
Evans suggests another thought for those wanting to add a new dimension to their workout routine.
“Skating burns up to 600 calories an hour,” he reported. “It’s good cross-training for people who work out!”
As for the future of Rolla Rena, Evans said, “We’re working hard to keep it open.” He admits to worry, though, and doesn’t want local skating to go the way of other entertainment, saying “Use it, don’t lose it.”
The Rolla Rena is located at 823 North Jackson Street in Pratt, one block west of Main Street just north of the railroad tracks. Information about hours and upcoming activities can be found on the Rolla Rena Skate Center Facebook Page.