The Morehead News

Local News

October 7, 2011

Roller rink opens for 50th season

New Spot for classic fun

Oct. 7, 2011 —     Nearly 50 years have passed since a local skating rink opened to offer clean and affordable family fun, and starting this Saturday, the fun rolls on.

    New Spot Roller Rink is a family-owned business that has welcomed generations of skaters to the large metal building on U.S. 60 in Midland in Bath County.

    “It’s been in our family for 50 years,” said current owner Jason McKenzie.

    He and his wife, Sabrina, are the third owners of the family affair. They inherited the business and the tradition from his parents, Bobby and Rita McKenzie.

    They took over in 1997 for Rita’s parents, Harold and Inalee Johnson.

    In 1962, the Johnsons opened the Salt Lick Rolling Rink.

    “Harold had just come back from Arkansas,” said Inalee Johnson.

    “He said ‘I’ll tell you what Salt Lick needs. It needs a skating rink to get the kids off the street,’” she recalled.

    Mrs. Johnson said that at the time, kids in the community were “running up and down the street ‘hot rodding’ and drinking” and the roller rink became a popular hangout for them and for their families. 

    The New Spot got its name in 1977 when Johnson relocated the rink from Salt Lick to its current home in Midland.

    “We outgrew the old rink and as another was being built, people would stop and ask ‘Hey, Harold. How’s the new spot coming along?’” Jason McKenzie said.

    The Johnsons owned and operated the rink for 35 years before turning it over to their daughter, Rita. She and her husband, Bobby McKenzie, ran it for another 10 years.

    “We’ve always felt proud that it’s been a clean, family business for so many years,” said Rita McKenzie.

    She said the skating rink filled a need in the small community for safe, wholesome fun and said appreciation for the rink spans generations.

    “We’ve got great-grandparents bringing their great grandchildren to skate where they did when they were young. I even met my husband there,” she added.

    Jason McKenzie agreed.

    “We’re into second and third generations of skaters,” he said.

    His own daughter, Lorelai, is one year old. She can’t walk really well yet, but she’s already been in her first pair of skates.

    McKenzie said skating is a popular fall and winter activity. He expects business to really roll after the first few weeks, when opportunities for outdoor activities diminish. It’s not just folks from Midland who enjoy skating, either.

    “We get really busy with churches and birthday parties. The college has also reserved the rink for student events,” he said.

    McKenzie said there are some popular events that draw skaters year after year.

    “We have an all-night skate on New Year’s Eve. It’s always a big thing that people look forward to all year,” he said.

    The roller rink has traditional concessions and a jukebox. Skate rental is included in the admission price.

    The New Spot Roller Rink will celebrate its 50-year anniversary in February 2012. It opens Saturday through April. Public sessions are Friday 7-9:30 p.m., Saturdays 7-9 p.m. and 9-11 p.m. and Sundays from 2 -4 p.m. Admission is $4 per person and parents skate free on Sundays with children’s paid admission. Private rentals also are available. For more information, call 606 683-5231. 

    Noelle Hunter can be reached at nhunter@themoreheadnews.com or by telephone at 784-4116.

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