Wichita’s Roller City is nationally and even internationally recognized for producing top-notch speed skaters. Under the guidance of coach Joe Cotter, a National Coach of the Year and a USA World Team Coach who has been in the industry since 1974, Roller City has had more than 60 National Championship speed skaters in the last 15 years.
“I came here in 1998, and we had our first National Champion in 1999,” Cotter said. “We’re a disciplined program. We teach them how to be successful.”
When you walk into Roller City, you’ll be met by portraits of dozens of decorated skaters posing with their numerous awards. Roller City’s Speed Skating team earned a National Championship in 2009 and has placed in the top four or five every year since, according to Cotter.
The team competes internationally, too, traveling to France each year to participate in the largest track competition in the world for 24 years now.
“I’ve taken over a thousand skaters to France,” Cotter said.
This year, the team has about 30 skaters who practice from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays and from 5-6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays-Thursdays. Speed skating is open to ages five and over. The announcement of a recent change in the sport makes now an ideal time for younger skaters to start practicing.
“Speed skating will be in the new youth Olympic games, for ages 15-19,” Cotter said, “and we’ll have skaters that will grow up and be in that.”
Roller City allows interested participants to try out the sport at a beginner speed class at no cost whatsoever.
“Speed skating is an expensive sport. You’ve got to have expensive skates, you’ve got to have an expensive helmet,” Cotter said. “This way, they get to come in and practice skating for free, we make it fun, and they get involved,” Cotter said.
Saturday morning beginners speed classes are free, and club skates and helmets are provided, too, so there’s no rental charge. The beginner speed class takes place from 10-11 a.m. on Saturday mornings and is also open to all ages, and focuses on basic elements such as technique. This summer, Cotter says that Roller City will start offering beginner speed classes twice a week and hosting monthly, at-home competitions so that new skaters can experience competition without breaking the bank.
Hockey League and Roller Derby
Roller City also offers an adult hockey league, which meets at 5 p.m. on Sundays to practice. A fee of $100 allows participants 10 weeks of competition in Roller City’s internal hockey league, which features six teams. Those interested in participating in Roller City’s hockey league may inquire at Roller City.
Roller Derby practices at 5 p.m. on Monday evenings. Roller derby, like speed skating, invites participants to come out and give the sport a try, completely free, to decide if they’d like to continue to pursue skating. From there, participants can move into competition.
About Roller City
Known also for its reasonably-priced Birthday Party packages, Roller city is a great place to celebrate. The facility will provide everything you need for your party, short of the cake. The birthday party specialists at Roller City have a motto of: "We do it all, so you have a ball", and they stand by it! Reservations and deposit required.
Family owned and operated since 1994, Roller City has Wichita's only hardwood northern maple rotunda skating floor sealed with a special polyurethane coating. This unique skating floor highlights curved boards around the corners to offer superior traction while skating.