LIMA — Since the age of 12, Betty Ray has enjoyed roller skating and has spent the past 40 years providing a home and family for those with the same passion.
Ray began her career in 1967 while working at the Dixie Roller Rink. Then in 1970 she purchased the Old Lima Roller Rink, which she renamed Skylite Skate Arena, and operated that facility until 1979.
On March 31, 1978, Ray opened Edgewood Skate Arena on 2170 Edgewood Drive. It is a roller skating facility that offers basic skating lessons, speed skate competitions, birthday party space and family and kid skating sessions. The arena also sells skates and has various arcade games.
On Wednesday mornings, adult skate is offered and in the afternoon there is general admission. A Throwback Thursday music session is offered on Thursday evenings.
Billboard Top 40 skate sessions are offered on Friday evenings. Tiny Tots skating offered Saturday mornings, Listening Music for all ages session is in the afternoon and Old School skating sessions are in the evening. Family Day is offered on Sundays.
Edgewood also offers basic skating lessons where participants of all ages learn how to skate backward and forward and learn skating games. Two of the girls from the basic course are now learning how to figure skate.
“My favorite part about my job is teaching the little kids,” said Ray.
There is also a speed skating course on Saturdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Students from this class go on to compete in speed skating competitions in the Tri State area which encompasses Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.
Besides being the only skating rink in the area, Ray believes that people should skate at her rink because of its excellent service, it is a beautiful facility and it is a safe place for kids to be. She also said that skating is good for the health.
“It uses more calories than anything else you can do and the Heart Association highly recommends it because it’s easy on the heart,” said Ray.
Ron Hessel, of Van Wert, came to Edgewood Skate Arena in 1980 for the first date he had with the woman who would become his wife. In 2012 he and his wife began losing weight while skating at Edgewood and started going to the morning adult skate.
“It took a while to get back into it again, but it was really fun and I love the people,” said Hessel. “It’s like a family here.”
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews