Wheels keep on turning at Valley Skating Center
Linda Miner started skating almost as soon as she could walk.
Her father created her a pair of roller skates, mounting them on a pair of toddler Stride Rite white high-top shoes.
“They were only this big,” said the owner of Valley Skating Center in Donora, spreading her index fingers just inches apart.
Miner is still as devoted as ever to roller skating as the Valley Skating Center is marking its 30th anniversary.
Valley Skating Center has remained popular through the generations of Valley families.
“When we first opened our doors, the older kids who came then are bringing their grandbabies with them now,” said Miner.
Miner credits her father for passing on his love for the sport to her.
By 1952, she won her first roller skating state championship. Her success was especially sweet for her father, Floyd Shoup, an accomplished skater who was not permitted to compete because he was a floor guard, a potential conflict of interest for his amateur status at the time.
Her father started skating at a young age, too.
By age 15, Shoup was working in the Washington, Pa. roller rink that he would eventually own. He owned the rink for nearly 20 years before the Washington County Redevelopment Authority tore it down. A parking lot still occupies that space along West Beau Street.
Miner grew up living in the family home above the roller rink.
She skated competitively until 1966, winning five national championships.
“Now, I've coached many national champions,” Miner said.
She followed in her father's footsteps and owned Interstate Skateland in Waynesburg from 1978 to 1999.
In 1981, Miner and Shoup received a call from officials at the cunty redevelopment authority asking if they would consider building a skating rink in Donora.
The recreational facility was part of plans to develop the Valley, she noted.
The site where Valley Skating was built was part of the former U.S. Steel mill. Built from scratch, the rink was completed in eight months and open in October 1983.
“We looked at the property and it was flat,” Miner recalled. “It did not take a lot of prep work.
The skating center soon became a popular place for Valley youth to hang out.
“The kids have to have recreation somewhere. The girls would come to the rink and the boys came because the girls were here,” she said.
Skating starts early for families at Valley Skating Center.
Kinderskate preschool days are held Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is the only time parents are permitted to walk on the rink floor, helping to get their toddlers started skating.
Fundamental classes start at 12:45 p.m. Saturdays to teach fundamentals of skating for beginners On Saturdays from 9:30 p.m. to midnight, skates are held for those 12-years-old and older.
Public skating is also held 6:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays and 2 to 4:30 p.m Saturdays and Sundays.
Several all-night skates are held throughout the year, including Thanksgiving Eve and New Year's Eve.
Special events are held throughout the year. Information is available on the center's website at www.valleyskate.com
The speed skating team, Valley Speed Team, practices four days a week at the rink. Two squads from Valley Speed Team placed first and fourth in separate divisions during the Senior Nationals at Albuquerque, N.M.
Miner was recently named a life member of Roller Skating Association International.
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.