Steve Shay, photos
Nearly 300 skaters crowded the Southgate Roller Rink for its opening night on Thursday April, 7. CLICK THE PHOTO ABOVE TO SEE MORE

UPDATE - SLIDESHOW:Southgate Roller Rink reopens, nearly 300 attend Thursday night


Southgate Roller Rink, 9646 17th Ave. SW, officially opened and received nearly 300 beginner, intermediate and pro-level skating enthusiasts Thursday night, April 7, between 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Some used the new skates provided by owners Josh Rhoads and wife Erin Venables (included in the $6 entry fee), while many brought their own pair. Rhoads, a competitive skater, deejayed and as the large disco mirror ball spun, so did the skaters. Rhoads had them go clockwise, then turn around, then allowed male and female "speed skaters" their own heats.

Eric Williams, an insurance broker living in the Morgan Junction area first skated there in 1976. "I skated through 1981. I graduated Chief Sealth in '83. It feels good to be back. I have a lot of good memories from the '70's. I considered this my home. I'd come here Thursday, Friday night, Saturday afternoon, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon.

"White Center has changed a lot, I think for the better," he added. "I think this kept me out of trouble when I was a kid. It was interactive. You never finish learning how to skate. I think it's real positive for the community because a lot of kids out there running the streets now will have a nice place to come to. If they think the girls will be here, the boys will come in."

The head coach of the Rat City Roller Girls Throttle Rockets team, Dirty Little Secret, graced the floor. "I think it's great. I'm really excited it opened." About 15 other Rat City Roller Girls attended.

Rhoads has been to the world championships in artistic roller-skating 12 times.

"I've been competing in skating my whole life," said Rhoads, 31. "I've been a rink rat and have been managing rinks for the last five years in the Seattle area. I own the Merrysville Rink and managed Lynnwood Bowl and Skate.I'm moving forward and doing the thing I love."

Southgate Roller Rink, 9646 17th Ave. SW, (206) 707-6949.

For a history of the roller rink, visit www.historylink and type in Southgate Roller Rink.

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