STUART, Neb.- Kids and families in north central Nebraska can now have a roller rink experience without driving too far.
The new roller rink in Stuart is called "The Joyride", and it was the idea of owner and local resident Michelle Meusch. "My awesome family took me roller skating for my 47th birthday, and we ended up having to drive to Grand Island to go roller skating, so we drove 2 and a 1/2 hours to go skating," Michele said. Michele loved her skating experience in Grand Island, but wanted something closer.
"We really didn't find anything, so we started looking for a building, and we were really fortunate to purchase this property from Larry and Irene Cobb who I adore," Michele said.
After buying the former Cobb Motors car dealership building, Michele's dream of owning a roller rink started to become a reality. "Michele and I both did everything here, literally," Michele's husband Darryl said. "There's been some help with the electrical and the plumbing, but other than that, it's been us from the ground up, and our girls."
"When she told me she wanted to build a roller skating rink, I thought she was crazy," Michele's daughter Jade Meusch said. "She would not drop the idea though, and we talked about it for a year. Then the idea kind of faded and she stopped talking about it, and then she brought it back, and here it is!"
The rink features a huge skating floor, concessions, and a game room. Families come from miles around to experience it. "We have kids from Bassett, Stuart and Atkinson. We get kids from Ainsworth, Valentine and Chambers. We service probably a 50-mile radius for families and children to come skating," Michele said.
The Meusch family decided to move from Omaha to Stuart five years ago. Now that the roller rink is open, the decision to make the move is that much sweeter. After growing up in Paxton as a kid, Michele said it was time for a change. "I just love small town living. The community is fantastic, the people are amazing," Michele said.
The roller rink offers employment opportunities for local kids. It also provides a fun social outlet for the community. There are even plans to renovate an old diner next door and feature homemade root beer, homemade ice cream, pastas, and calzones. So the next time you have a desire to go roller skating, maybe a drive to Stuart will do the trick. "It's just a place where we can relax, and enjoy just being friends," Michele said.