Skating races ready to roll into Hermitage for 2nd year

Jun. 6—HERMITAGE — The good times will be rolling locally on Monday with the start of the Roller Skating Association International's national speed skating championships.

This will be the second consecutive year the national roller skating competition will be held at Olympic Fun Center in Hermitage.

"Everyone is excited about coming back to town because you guys did such a great job for us last year," James McMahon, RSA's executive director, said.

Around 400 races will be held at the Hermitage Center's skating rink Monday through Friday.

There are competition divisions based on age, gender and both types of skates — quad and inline. Quads are traditional roller skates with four wheels, two in front and two in the rear. Inline roller skates have wheels lined up in a straight row.

Changes were made this year.

Historically, the association held racing one week at a site followed by artistic roller skating — the equivalent of figure skating on ice — the following week at the same location. This year, the artistic competition is being held later in June in Union, Missouri.

But the racing competition will draw many more competitors than the artistic events.

Another wrinkle is that an outdoor racing event is being held at the same time in Miami by a different skating organization, McMahon said. Lots of countries outside of the U.S. have more outdoor rinks, so those wanting to compete internationally will likely be heading to the Miami event, he added.

"Our group likes to help indoor rinks," McMahon said.

Still, more than 1,000 competitors and supporters are expected to attend the Hermitage event.

Overflow parking will be at 10 Pin Alley, which is almost directly across the street from the Fun Center on East State Street. The Mercer County Tourism Agency will run a shuttle van between the two.

"We're ready to race," McMahon said.

Olympic Fun Center is at 470 E. State St., Hermitage. Admission is $5 a day or $10 for the entire event.