Keeping a fun pastime alive in York

YORK, Neb.- If the walls of the York Roller Skating Rink could talk, there would be many stories to tell.

The rink is currently owned by the Shockey family. "The original owner of the skating rink was the janitor for the York school district," owner Nancy Shockey said. "My husband would volunteer after school, and he would come down and help him at the skating rink."

That janitor's name was Clarence Wellman. All around, his influence is still felt. "You'll notice when we get into the floor, the posts are pink," Nancy said. "Pink was Clarence's idea that it's a calming color, so they would put the pink posts up." Not only did Shockey's husband get involved with the rink at an early age, so did her son Charlie. When the original owner passed away, the Shockey's bought the rink to keep it going. But, it needed some upgrades. "So we were shut down for a year, year and a half, remodeling, and bringing things up to code," Nancy said.

The remodel was a family affair. After a lot of hard work, the Shockey family opened the rink to the public again. As you might imagine, it's drawing people from near and far. "We just recently had a family reunion, and people were coming from Lexington, Gothenburg, Lincoln, and they had their family reunion here just to get together," Nancy said.

The building also has some unique features that set it apart. "We are probably one of the few that has the natural wood floor. A lot of them have a concrete or a composite floor," Charlie Shockey said.

Famous band leader Lawrence Welk once performed here, along with other musicians and bands. "One end of the building was a dance hall," Nancy said. These days, the rink is back to its original purpose, which is to provide a place where adults and kids alike can have a safe, fun time. "Just to give the kids in the community something to do and keep them out of trouble," Kim Shockey said.

In an age of cell phones and screen time, it's nice to know there's a few places left where people can enjoy the simple things, like the freedom you feel on a pair of roller skates.