Sunday, February 19, 2006

Skate Ranch in Santa Ana

Skate Ranch - Santa AnaIn Santa Ana, just off of Main Street and along the I-5, there was the Skate Ranch.

It was rollerskating rink built inside of a red barn-looking structure. It was all meant to be in western-style decor. I only went there twice during the middle and late 1980's.

But you could never not notice it. From the freeway, it was always visible, big and red.

In the two times I went there, I took girlfriends. It was a great excuse to get close and hold hands.

I'll never forget the last time I went there. I was with my future wife. I believe it was a Tuesday afternoon. It wasn't very crowded at all. After about 15 minutes of skating, it dawned on me there no other women, except for my wife. I mentioned it to her. But after looking at everyone, I finally found a another guy and gal skating together. But when I skated by them, I soon discovered the guy was actually a girl also!

It turned out it was Gay Day at the Skate Ranch.

The Skate Ranch finally got tore down, in the early 1990's I believe. The Children's Discovery Museum replaced it.

73 comments:

  1. In the 60's we neighborhood kids, Poplar Street in Santa Ana, went to the Skate ranch every week. In the early 80's I took my own daughter there and that is where she learned to skate backwards. Too bad it was torn down.

    Randy Palmer

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  2. I thought that place was STILL there ...I swear I just saw it the other day ....but that musta been 1990

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  3. I have such fond memories of the Skate Ranch. I skated there 2-3 nights a week when I was a young teenager. It was a place to meet guys and I had a blast! I met one guy who I will never forget. He was many years older than me and a Marine. We became close and made many memories. When my aunt sent me this site, I was happy to see the pic of the Skate Ranch.

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  4. Wow...I've spent many days as a child at the Skate Ranch. It's where I learned how to skate! I used to have such a blast there and even have pictures of me and my brothers and sisters skating there when we were kids.

    I was still living in OC when they tore it down and it definitely brought a tear to my eye.

    I'm pretty sure that the Discovery Museum didn't replace however. I believe there is a Hotel or Motel there now. I think it's called the Red Roof Inn....

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  5. Went to Anaheim High and skated at the Ranch from the late 50's thru the middle 60's. I remember they had a pet coyote behind the counter.

    I just dug out my old figure skates and took them for a spin at a local rink in Idaho. Brought back a lot of memories and resulted in my discovery of this site.

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  6. I remember skate ranch as my grandpa took me to the babysitter in MV from Anaheim everyday during the summer. And then I finally got to go there for a girl scout event. I frequented Skateway though... good times.

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  7. I remember skating at several contests there in the late 70's. I was 11yo. Being from Phoenix we would get up very early in the morning drive to a our local rink, and get on a club chartered Greyhound bus and ride to LA. We would be there all night skating and making friends with Southern Cal. kids. I kissed my first girlfriend (a skater from Bakersfield) in the back seat of her skating partners fathers caddy in the parking lot under the neon glow of the Skate Ranch sign. This after winning first place in my division on the skating floor earlier that night. Then we would get back on the bus about 1 or 2 am and make our way back home. My memories of Skate Ranch Happy ones.

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  8. My memories of the Skate Ranch span 3 decades. In the 60s, we worked on a Girl Scout merit badge taking skating lessons. Our church choir had the end of the year parties there and then we would go across Main St. to Santiago Park for a picnic. A bunch of kids from the neighborhood would go several times through out the summer. In junior high, Columbus Tustin had at least one skate party a quarter. In the late 70s and 80s, I took my own kids there for skate parties. It was torn down for the widening of the 5 Fwy. The Discovery Science Center is in the building that was Barker Bros. Furniture.

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  9. From Rollerdrome in Phoenix, went to the Skate Ranch in Santa Ana one year to race in the RSROA Regionals - sometime in the late 50s - boys (quad) speed skating - I was 13 or 14 yrs old. Great memories of those days. The building may be gone but I still remember the excitement and competition!

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  10. I was a Jolly Skate Rancher in the early 60's. That was such innocent fun, no drugs, alcohol, or sex, except for an occasional makeout session in the back corner by the locker, usually when the lights dimmed down for couples skating. I loved skatin backwards and bee boppin round and round to cool tunes. I can't remember what it was, but they played the same song every night for the last song. I always got sad when I heard it. I hung out there from 1962 until 1965. I remember the owners lived above it with their two children. I loved it and it will always remain a fond memory in my life. I'm saddened that it is no longer there. My memories will never fade though. Thanks for the memories Skate Ranch
    Sincerely, Jolly Skate Rancher

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  11. Jim Taylor, Santa AnaAugust 19, 2006 11:28 PM

    The Skate Ranch..... I think of the place often. I learned to skate there in the 60's. I worked the counter during 1975 handing out skates and also working in the snack shop. I met my wife there. She was 14 and I was 17. It was August 1st, 1975 when she asked me to skate during the girls ask guys skate. We married August 19, 1978 right after she turned 18. We have been married 28 years today. That's why I googled "Skate Ranch" today.
    That was the best summer of my life. I was sad when I learned that the Ranch was going to be torn down for the widening of the 5 freeway. Most of the actual footprint of the Skate Ranch is now under the Broadway off ramp and slow lane of the 5 freeway North. And yes, the Discovery Science Center is next door. It used to be Barker Bros. furniture store facing Main St. across from the Santiago Park entrance.
    It's funny, when I think back to those times, how much fun I, and my wife, had just skating in circles to the organ music at the Ranch. Good times, good memories..... If only we could take one more lap around the rink.....

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  12. I was born and raised in Santa Ana and still a resident of this vibrant city. As a matter fact today I was coming home on the 5fwy South, nearing my exit on Broadway and remembered SKATE RANCH...I loved this place. I was raised in an extremely traditional catholic/mexican household and I was not allowed to go out on dates (alone)always chaperoned my parents or someone elses, but this was THEE only place i was able to roller skate HOLDING HANDS during couples skating....it was a magical place!! It was sad for me to find out it was getting paved for the FWY expansion...darn!, I thought today why not make it a historical landmark.....aaaahhhh...

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  13. Remember the Sock Hops in late 50's

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  14. Skate Ranch is where my mother met my father. I had been there only once the entire time it was here. Remember that building on 4th that sat as a metal skeleton for years?

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  15. More great memories! My memories of going with my friend Cindy and she fell skating, ripped her pants from the front zipper all the way to the back and I laughed so hard I wet mine. Needless to say, we had to get picked up and had to go home. There also was a skate rink I believe was in Garden Grove. It was on a corner off of the 22 freeway. Skate Ranch was always my favorite though.

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  16. Carolyne and Tony HearnFebruary 20, 2007 8:29 PM

    To this date I too have very fond memories of the Skate Ranch. I was 16 when I started work there behind the counter of the snack bar. Not long after working there I met a very fine looking Marine who also worked there as maitenance, floor guard. Not long after that we dated. We married in Sept of'82. And to this day 25 years later are still happily married. To all of you who didnt think this marriage would last .......well here we are. Tony and Carolyne Hearn. We have 3 beautiful children and 1 grandchild. Thank you Skate Ranch for our happy fullfilling lives.

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    1. A LOT OF GIRLS WENT TO SKATE RANCH TO MEET "MARINES".

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  17. I skated competition from 1965 through 1976 and I cant say how often I was at Skate Ranch. Took lessons there from George McCann for 2 years. I remember the dance contests there and remember some of the kids that did come from Arizona. I especially remember being special friend with a girl there, Cindy. At 13 or 14 years old, holding hands and kissing by the payphones.
    I was certainly sorry to see it torn down. But the memories are still there...

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  18. Ahhhh Skate Ranch. If anyone has memories of that place it is my family and I. My father and Mother owned the Skate Ranch in its final days. From around 1983 to its final resting day 1991, Skate Ranch was my home. We actually lived in the connecting home for a year and a half when my parents first took it over. I can remember my sister and I going right out the door of the house into the office of the rink and filling our lunch box thermoses up with lemonade or fruit punch from the snack bar soda machine. My parents both taught Artistic roller skating and Skate Ranch is where I started my competitive skating career. From the primary division up to Freshman boys I shared the huge 90'x190' maple wood floor with dozens of skatings most talented figure and speed skating champions. Skate Ranch from its opening to its closing housed many National and World Artistic and Speed skating champions. I can remember the Gold Skate Classic Dress rehearsal nights where my father would put up a huge black curtain in the back of the rink to hide the production number props, renting 2 giant spotlights and hundreds of people piled in to watch the Skaters perform exhibitions to songs like raspberry beret and west side story. I was only 13 years old when I started floorguarding on saturday afternoons. My best friend and I would roll around the floor and pretend we were the cops from chips. We still laugh about a session where a young girl dedicated Wind Beneath My Wings to us, we laughed so hard. I can remember numerous times getting yelled at by the manager because we were in the skate repair room eating hot dogs and drinking blueberry slurpees. I can remember Friday and Saturday nights being so crowded. Zooming in and out of the skaters shoulder to shoulder on the floor. Every New Years Eve a company would rent the rink out for an all night party. Hundreds and hundreds of people danced and partied to the early morning and the next day my whole family would be down there spending hours cleaning the rink, scrubbing the skate floor and sweeping the parking lot. I could sit and reminisce about Skate Ranch for hours. To this day I still dream about it time to time. I will never forget the memories Skate Ranch has given me.

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  19. Since 1964 I grew up in Santa Ana across the street from Saddleback High School. In the late 70's thru the mid 80's, I skated all over Orange Co. Roller Village in Fullerton, Holiday in Orange, Fountain Valley, Laguna Hills Skate Palace, Skate Plus in Irvine, that little tiny rink on the way to Newport Beach that became a Liquior Barn and of course "Skate Ranch". The Ranch was were it all started. As a former "local" here's a couple of random memories about Skate Ranch. THE BIGGEST DAMN RINK I EVER SAW. I mean it was so large they had their own lane, just for backward skating. They had a hundred metal tractor seats lining the walls that you could never get comfortable in. I'd be sitting there, by myself, 20 seats empty on both sides and some fat girl would skate up to me and ask " is that seat taken". There was this swimming pool (???) just outside. One year it rain so hard that it over flowed and left this giant "woop de doo" in the floor. If you skated fast enough you could catch some air off of it. When my parents would drop me off, there were always these "live chickens" hanging around at the front door were you had to pay to get in (it was a barn remember). Up on the skating rules board they had this rule you couldn't wear any jacket with lettering (probably a 1950's gang thing). Every night and I mean every night the would play "Kansas City here I come". Full contact Hokey Pokey. There was this one guy with cowboy boot skates who had the fastest "crazy legs" I ever saw. My then hot 70's girlfriend Joy D. got really upset with me for asking her friend Gina G. to skate couples. Once during a trio's skate 5 cops jumped this Mexican guy on the floor over on the snack bar side. The guy beat up three cops before finnaly going down. I had my green VW bug broken into (wing window) in the paking lot once. They stole my CB and a pair of binoculars. It seems like a lifetime ago. I turn 43 in a week and I still skate, at least once a mounth (Chico, Ca.) I miss the Ranch. It was a great place to Skate.

    Val Miller

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  20. My skating training started in Pismo in '59, then Santa Maria, then Pasadena (61-2), then Bellflower ('62), Lynnwood (WA) ('63), Burbank ('64), Santa Ana (64, 65), and Whittier (66). I made it through Gold Bar Dance and Silver Medal figures, and ended up 1st place in Int. Mens Figures in NW Regionals. But about my time at Skate Ranch:

    I was in the club at Skate Ranch from '64 through '65... we lived in Venice Beach and drove down to Santa Ana for that time. I was taking lessons from George McCann when I took (and failed) my gold bar dance the first time. (Passed it in Whittier the next month). Believe it or not, the tests were partly political. McCann didn't have the clout to get me a pass in the test; when I skated as one of Bob Labriola's skaters - same dances, no difference in the way I skated - I passed. To this day I wonder if I really deserved passing that test.

    One of my old Venice Beach poems from the '70's has this rink in it:
    *******************
    the day after acid in december 65

    amazed i was alive
    dripping sweat all over the back steps
    of the roller rink

    on a hot december practice day
    breathing the intense green
    of the orange grove

    surrounded like a velvet pillow
    in the life outside
    escaping the dark mechanical
    skate dances

    i could smell the blueness
    of the hot winter sky

    i could hear the aroma
    of oranges from the grove
    calling to me

    singing with the music
    of the traffic on I-5
    i telegraphed the world this day
    skating wasn't going to be my life

    no one understood
    but me

    i telegraphed the world
    i wanted to be wanted

    i got a telegram back from president johnson
    saying he wanted me too
    *********************

    On that day, at the Skate Ranch, I discovered that all my skating was about what my dad wanted for me (I was 18) and that it was time for me to start looking for what I wanted out of life. That broke the back of my competitive spirit in roller skating. I only won one more figure contest (NW Regionals Intermed. Mens Figures, 1967) and then pretty much hung up my skates.

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  21. I remember the Skate Ranch - and its neon (?) sign you could see from the freeway. My mom would take the three of us girls skating about once a month. I remember you couldn't wear jeans. They said that the brads would tear up the floor, but I think it was a gang thing leftover from the 50s. It was wonderful. Loud organ music and dim lights and colored lights sometimes. I remember the feel of the wind in my hair and across my arms. My parents had met at a skate rink in El Monte so she had a romantic attachment to skating. I wish it was still there. That was back in 1963 to 66.

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  22. The Skate Ranch was one of those Orange County childhood memories I will never forget. I remember you would get your skates at the counter and they would give you a token. If you wanted to go to the snack bar or the bathroom, you just skated on the carpet. I remember the organ music the most, and people skating backwards. I went to Sierra Elementary, near Gemco, 17th and Grand, near Carl's Jr. Skate Ranch is etched in my mind along with the firework stands, Zodys, Gemco, the big huge cross in front of the church, the Bookmobile, Tic Toc (for candy), and the Plunge swimming pool, in Hart Park.

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    1. I went to Sierra Elementary from K to 4th and lived down the street from my friend Sally Roars whose house used to sit where Carls Jr. is (was) and her gramps lived in a big house where Gemco once sat. I used to work at Zodys, swim at the Plunge, had my birthday parties growing up at Hart Park and every Saturday would go to the Skate Ranch with my girlfriends! I was shocked to see it gone when I returned to the area!

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  23. Have lots of memories of Skate Ranch Skated their since the early 60's met alot of great people their over the years I was their with camera filmed the day they tore it down in between tears I could not believe they were tearing it down I wish I had known they had auction of things that were inside Id of loved the bench inside the front door .
    If any one remembers Dale Hebert he has passed away. and also Sgt George l. Koshak passed away last May I was his wife for 30 years met him their and married him also took our kids their when they were 3 to skate I have admission tickets of Skate Ranch and a piece of the wooden floor .
    ive been looking for a old friend Lawanna Moon whom lived in santa ana please email any info of her whereabouts thanks

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  24. I also skated there with my family took lessons from the mcanns skated gold skate classics in bakersfield had many friends including dave hobbs and anyone remember bruce the skate tech he made his own inline skates around 1969. i do miss the ranch very much a great way to grow up in orange county.
    Bill Wilson

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    1. Hi MY name is steve I KNOW ( steve Hobbs ) i went Skateing 1968 to 1970 I had (GREAT ) TIME,S NOW I AM 59 YEARS old I WISH I WAS 15 GREAT GREAT TIMES STEVE WELL GOOD BY .....

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  25. I remember my sister getting to go to Skate Ranch because she had been a safety monitor at Sierra Elem. That night I broke my arm skating at home. I also remember my 5th grade graduation party being held there. Somewhere I have tons of photos that were taken that day. One of Eddie Moreno in front of the whole 5th grade. But also pictures of Karen Ray, Heidi Falcon and Sherida Nelson. I went to Hoover Elem from 2nd-5th grade. Sierra Elem for head start through 1st. We lived on 4th between Grand and McClay across from Muir Elem which was closed down before I started school. My older sister had gone there for a year or two. My family move away from CA after 5th grade so I don't know what happened to all my friends from Hoover.

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  26. What a wonderful time it was! I was about 10 years old and often taken to the Skate Ranch by my choir teacher. I loved the red licorice ropes and the icees and popcorn. This completed the whole scene for me. I remember skating to Olivia Newtown John and Hall & Oats "Private Eye". I never was able to participate for "Couples Only" as I was too young and shy. I have very fond memories and was sadden to learn that it would be torn down for the 5fwy expansion. I will cherish the memories forever.

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  27. If you were cool, you went to skate ranch. I remember me and my friends all going there with our feathered hair, dittos and skating to the song, Rollercoaster. If you skated backwards you were really cool. ha ha. what memories and what great times we had there. And I cant believe someone above remembers Gemco and Tic Toc liquor!! That was the best place to get your candy! They had everything!

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  28. I lived by the Skate Ranch when I was growing up in Santa Ana. I have one of the red candy vending machines that I bought off of a friend who bought it when they closed it down. I remember whoosing around that track and then they would announce over the loudspeaker "it's time for the HOKEY POKEY!" Who can ever get that song out of their head once they've heard it...

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  29. I remember going all over town looking for Dittos for my older sister. I remember wanting Chemin de Fer jeans. Thanks for all the memories. I love this web site.

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  30. It's a shame that the Skate Ranch is no longer there for the next generation to enjoy. I worked there as a floor guard in the early 70's while stationed at El Toro and have many great memories of weekends at the rink. What a great place to enjoy skating and meet people. Everyone was friendly, never had any problems and it's still one of the largest skating rinks I have ever seen.
    Thanks for the memories
    Barry

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  31. I WENT ON MY FIRST "DATE" WITH DEBBIE WHO I WENT TO DIAMOND ELEMENTARY WITH IN THE 5TH GRADE. I ALWAYS HAD FUN EVEN WHEN I HAD TO GO WITH MY SISTER. THE MEMORIES WILL GO ON FOREVER..............

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  32. I remember going to the Skate Ranch off and on when I was growing up in Orange County. One time I remember my mother gave me 10 dollars to buy shoes for me and my brother. We walked to downtown Santa Ana to the old Vans shoestore, bought ourselves a pair of shoes each, and then from there we walked to the Skate Ranch and with the left over change from the shoe purchase, we skated. I always got the nostaligic twinge whenever I was on I-5 and I would see the Skate Ranch. Too bad it's gone, but thanks for the memories!

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  33. I was just talking to my wife about The Skate Ranch and how it was "moved" for the expansion of the 5 fwy. That's right. It wasn't torn down, it was moved. I know this because I saw when they put it back together down the street from where I grew up. You can now see it as a museum on the south side of Westminster Blvd. between Magnolia and Newland. It's just east of Stater Bros.

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    1. its gone, kaput, torn down....

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  34. Wild Bill RavgialaDecember 31, 2007 5:52 AM

    As a young Marine Lance Corporal, I spent two years at Skate Ranch with fond memories of skating partners, Jackie Brown and Gretchen Schmidt. Continued to skate when transfered to Yokoska Japan in 1959.

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  35. Those were the days..1964-1965. I was 14 and 15, those years before you can drive and your parents drop you and your friends off to skate at night. Could always meet an "older" guy who could skate backwards good and make me look great when couples skating. Loved those little tractor seats lined up to sit and put your skates on. Always met the cutest guys and lots of Marines..I remember meeting a few that talked about being shipped off soon to a place called Vietnam..we were just starting to hear of that..sure hope they all made it home safely!

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  36. ALL HAIL SKATE RANCH! I was born and raised in Santa Ana and almost every memory of my teenage life was at that awesome place. Every Friday and Saturday night, 7:30 – 11:30. Skating became my passion in 1989 when I was 11 and my grandpa took me there religiously until the rink closed. If you were a skater during that time, I most surely know you. I would like to mention two ladies that I admired very much. They were sisters and both knew how to “rex” (a form of backwards skate). The oldest sister was Michelle and the younger, Dorothy. The D.J.’s name was also Michelle. She was there for the longest time and always played the songs we requested. After she left Skate Ranch, she went to Sam Goody’s on east 17th street near the train tracks and sold tapes and CD’s. That was the last I saw of her. I can’t remember the floor guard’s name (I think it was Lori?) but she had a brother named Rusty, who also worked there as a floor guard for a while. Dennis was the owner and now Dennis owns Holiday Skate Center in Orange and another skate rink out of state. Remember Tommy Paloma? The Columbian guy with the curly mullet that always seemed to get “kicked out for the night” when he skated too fast? He was the first guy I fell in love with. Well….he was cute back then! He later moved to Mexico and I haven’t spoke to him since. A few other names I remember: Violet, Oscar, Rene, Eugene, Chuy (who later worked at C.H.O.C on 1st street and I haven’t seen him since). Were you there when black smoke billowed through the rink? We thought the rink was on fire. Turned out to be a car on fire on the freeway right behind the girls bathroom. Ok kids, this part isn’t for you. Remember the cars in the parking lot that seemed to “bounce up and down” on their own? I was never a part of that (too young), but it was fun to watch anyway. My mom grew up at Skate Ranch also. Back then, you could “purchase a locker” and they gave you the key. To date, I still have the key. Needless to say, my early teenage years were crushed when Skate Ranch went down. I would like to clarify that it was torn down for a two-lane freeway expansion, not for the museum. It was an empty dirt lot for a while before the museum was built. I think it would be very neat to hook up with some of these guys again and go skating at Holiday and reminisce about our days at Skate Ranch.

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  37. Oh my gosh, this is so cool! Skate ranch was a huge part of my life! I went and worked, (for Dennis and his awesome family) there for years in the eighties and so many great memories were created there. I was so sad when they ripped that place to bits.. Stupid freeway!! So much for progress!! I would so love to hear about everyones lives.. Mary, Dorothy, Michelle, Eric.. Just everyone. So many very awesome people. I saw Cameron's post, remember he and his sister as little ones! Hope everyone is doing well.

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  38. The post prior to this is mine, just wanted to leave my name, Grayce. Hope to hear how everyone's doing!

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  39. Me, my big sister and My Uncle Larry(just two years older than me) are just sitting here remembering the good old Skate Ranch days early sixties, every Friday and Saturday night my mom and dad would drop us off and then go home and have mad hot sex. I thought I was such hot shit with my pony tail, little short skate skirt and my boot covers.When I learned how to use my toe stops I really got out of control. God help em when I learned how to skate backwards. I was really hot shit then. My first kiss was with Jack one of the more competative skaters, and it was in the back in the corner in the dark. The sock hops were a lot of fun too. The Righteous Brothers were there one time. The Skate Ranch will forever be a great memory in our lives. I only wish that times were as innocent now as they were then.
    Our best to all of you Old Skate
    Ranch Buddies. God Bless...
    DB....LC....JB

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  40. Well I haven't looked at this site for some time.. I posted here in August of 2006... Reading other posts made me remember other times at the Ranch. Bill Wilson posted about the Skate Tech, Bruce and his inline skates. He got them, or perhaps another pair, out of the attic one day in 1975 when I was working there. He let me put them on and try them out..... I remember thinking "You could kill yourself on these.... no wonder they were in the attic" If only I had seen the potential.... My 22 year old son loves aggressive inline skating. I wish I had taken him to the Ranch before it was gone. He cut his skating teeth @ the skate rink in Fountain Valley until he found inline skating. After that you couldn't keep him indoors. Thanks Bill, for jogging an old memory

    Jim Taylor, Santa Ana

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  41. I too remember Skate Ranch. Skated there the night it opened in 1955. I had been a member of the skate club at the old SA Roller Rink on E 1st. Skated there for many years. When the VanRoekels built Skate Ranch and closed the old rink we all went to the 'Ranch'. Skated many contests there until raising a family. Returned in the late 70's and started competing once again in the senior age level. What a lot of super memories. It was the best of times. Many great friends. Wonder where they are now?The Van Roekel's son Gary ran the rink the last few years. Used to baby sit him and his sister Cindy when VR's had the old rink. Yikes! Jim Taylor, did you go to SAHS?
    Char

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  42. Well, I guess I need to leave another post after Char called me out. Yes, I did attend SAHS in 1972 as a freshman. I transfered to Orange High the following year, 1973, and graduated from there in 1975. Now I have to admit I do not remember anyone named Char.... but it has been a long time and my memory may need to be refreshed. So.. if I sound like the correct Jim Taylor you remember, I can be reached at jtaylor@ sperianprotection.com if not, because there are several Jim Taylor's in Orange County, it would be fun to compare Skate Ranch stories anyway !

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  43. i grew up in floral park in the early- mid 80's ( north park and Benton way to be exact) and remember the the skate ranch fondly..i specifically remember skating to depeche mode's "people are people" whilst eating a red rope. Im so glad that downtown Santa Ana has become what it has, in embracing the art culture that has always bubbled under the surface.

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  44. My mother and father dated at the Skate Ranch in the late 50's. I spent all of my school holidays and summers with my grandmother in Santa Ana and she would take me and my sisters to the Skate Ranch often. First it started with the matinees with the "Hokey Pokey". Then when we were teens, we spent double skate sessions to practice "Rexxing", a form of backward skating. For my senior year, I lived with my grandmother and was in a Rexxing club called the "Roam'n Rexxers". Our home rink was the Skate Ranch. I designed our club's logo that went on our club shirts. We would compete once a month in what we called "Jamborees" held in LA, Orange and Riverside Counties. The most difficult competition was "Spot Rexxing". Our club would go to Norm's on Main/17th St to end the evening. I remember competing with the "Dance Skaters" for the center circles in the rink. They acted like we were inferior skaters. The Skate Ranch had a beautiful wood floor to skate on, in my opinion the best in SoCal. In the early days the music was played on an organ and then later by DJ. My Grandfather was a Marine, so my grandmother wanted me to meet a future husband there. The Skate Ranch was a popular hang out for the Marines who came from all over the country. I had no intention of marrying a Marine, but let her hope so she would take me skating. I would skate 4 nights a week, sometimes weekend matinees through 2 night sessions until 1pm. I'm still in contact with a girlfriend from the Rexxing Club days. It broke my heart that the Skate Ranch had to make way for the HWY 5 expansion. That Broadway ramp is designed for the Mall and not for those who live in Floral Park. They should have left the Skate Ranch alone. I would have liked to bring the next generations there.

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  45. I,too, spent hundreds of hours at the Skate Ranch while growing up in the late 50's. I took lessons,both private and classes, and loved every minute. My first pair of skates ( a birthday gift) was my most prized possession. I remember being impressed by the older girls who could lace their skates with one hand in just a couple of seconds. I practiced for hours until I could do that. I always wore my little short skate skirts at the open sessions, even though most girls didn't. I remember skating with George made me feel like a princess because I skated my best. Thanks for all the memories of that place!
    Carolyn

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  46. I loved the Skate Ranch and the wonderful memories I have. I paid for my skates each month. They would hold them for me until I had them paid off. My friends John Carroll, Bill King and Tanya, Paul and Bobbi, Pat and Bill… Brenda Adams and Terry, Bruce Sinclare. What a wonderful time we all shared. I remember laughing so hard my ribs would hurt. After skating we would go to Me & Ed’s pizza place on Garden Grove Blvd. They had a piano player and banjo player on weekends. They played “Those Lazy Hazy Days of Summer.” I loved the last skate at the Skate Ranch when they played “Dream (When Your Feeling Blue).” Good times, good memories, great people! Wish I knew where they are now. Cheryl Hoeppner If you know send me an email bowen_cheri@hotmail.com

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  47. More memories....skated competitively here for a few years in the mid-'60's under George & Irene McCann. Skated in the first "Gold Skate Classic" in 1965 in an (American)Indian-themed number.

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  48. So nice to see names I had forgotten...the Van Roekels, and Gretchen. I still have a picture of her leaning against the snack bar, next to my pro, Frank. I skated there from 1958 to 1959 when my mother and dad moved to San Pablo where I began skating there at the Hippodrome. So good to find people that know what silver, gold bars are and the RSROA. I had moved from Amarillo, Texas, and remember how much some of the pair skaters liked to hear my Texas accent. :)
    Great memories of a wonderful and classy place. So sad to know it's not there anymore.

    ~Euletta Hodges (at the time)

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  49. BTW, passed my silver medal there with my Pro, Frank.
    ~Euletta

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  50. i skated at skate ranch with my brothers.....

    we were in the buena park speed club....the turtles !

    ha, very funny i won a gold medal in bakersfield, ca. in 1968 at regionals!

    my name is TERRY ANN ROSA............
    THE PEOPLE WE USED TO SKATE WITH ARE NAMES:
    BEN AGEE, MIKE AUSTIN, CHERL, DEBBIE & BILLY CANNON, WENDAL SMITH, THE BYRD BROTHERS, the labeda first started to skate at the B. P. ROLLERTORUM.......THE SAME LABEDAS THAT WENT ASTRO IN THE SKATE WHEEL INDUSTRY.
    ......OUR COACH WAS JACK MUMMERT, I WENT TO THE WORLD SPEED SKATING FINALS IN LINCOLIN NEBRASKA...........
    IF ANY OF THE OLD PEOPLE ARE OUT THERE YOU CAN REACH ME AT:
    snomobubble@yahoo.com

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  51. What memories! I skated there from around 1966 - 1972 or thereabouts. I took lessons from Irene McCann and had a monthly rented locker with a key.

    Passed my silver medal dance and then quit because we moved to Newport Beach. I skated for awhile at the smaller, Harbor roller Rink (now a liquor barn).

    I have fond memories of many friends like Maren Evers, Cathy Derlashone, the Kellys, cindy (can't remember her last name_ )Vivki Vox, linda laTourneau, etc. It was really fun to skate! What a shame it was torn down........

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  52. I was a 17 year old Marine from Kansas, stationed at Camp Pendleton and I had an older married sister living in Santa Ana. I found SKATE RANCH and was amazed by it's beauty! I had been to other rinks before in the midwest but had seen nothing that would compare to the SKATE RANCH. I went there often and meet several very nice skating partners and future dates. Some that corresponded with me for quite a while. My memories of that place from 1956-58 is still ever strong and great in my mind and always very nice. It was a wonderful time and a wonderful place to go to, great atmosphere, excellent dress code and well behaved people.

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  53. I was coached by the Great Grady Merril at Santa ana Skate Ranch. When I was poor and barley able to pay for gas to get there Grady let me pay for practice by fixing the floor. I coated it with Rollon many times and Shared coaching duties the last year it had a speedclub in 1991 with Fran Mcfate, Chuck Merrill and Curt Labeda.
    I miss the days of skating practice with 20 or more senior men and 75 skaters at a single workout. I miss driving in traffic to get to practice at 5 when I was working in LA for my coaches drywall company... I miss that big dusty slippery floor that made me so fast.....

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  54. Maria Osle FraireJuly 02, 2010 2:51 PM

    The Skate Ranch was like no other. The things we take for granted and later regret not appreciating them is too often the case, as it is with the Skate Ranch. My memories are from 1975-1979. I remember the Hokey Pokey, the organ playing and the gorgeous Marines (jar heads)with their wonderful accents from all over our country. Became pen pals with a particular Marine; Billy D. Taylor for years, would love to know what ever happened to him! Our Cuban friends would meet there Fridays and Saturday evenings (the place to be!)since it was the place where parents didn't have to hover over us, then off to Bob's Big Boys off of 17th st in Santa Ana, there was a Gemco on the opposite corner, I think it's a Target now. Life was different in the 70's, it was slower and simpler. We were entertained with the simple things in life. Sad that its no longer there, but forever grateful for the memories we do have. I would love to take my 3 kids and let them see where their mother spent many wonderful years. Thank you Skate Ranch for truly memorable times! Santa Ana H.S class of 1979.

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  55. OMG, I did not know about this until I read about the reunion in The Register Newspaper. Wow, talk about fun times. I skated at the Skate Ranch in the 1950's and 1960's.My sister Barbara, and I were there almost every day except Monday and I think they were closed as I recall. Barbara skated competion and I believe Frank Davis was here instructor.Ray was mine. We did figure, freestyle and dance. Skaters March, Imperial Waltz, just a couple I remember.Boy those were the days. Would love to chat with someone if you remember Barbara and Dottie Perry.

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    Replies
    1. I went to SAHS with Dottie, and skated the Ranch 50' & 60's...Terry B

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    2. I remember the names. I Skated there also 2-3 times a week.
      I remember the tunes playing "Horse with no name, its good to be out of the rain" over ad over again. I would skate with an marine "Bob" I loved him so fun. I loved these memories I had wish it could still be happening now.

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  56. What happened to Frank?

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  57. Figures, freestyle and dance???
    Whew!
    So, what happened to Frank? He and I had a very close relationship and I hated to leave when I did.

    ~E.Hodges(at that time)

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  58. We absolutely loved the scate ranch. Too bad its gone. Used to go there all the time during the 60's and early 70's. This was growing up time in Southern California.

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  59. Santa Ana High School Jr. Prom was at the Skate Ranch. My parents were chaperones and I took Sharolyn Church, who was one year behind me.

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  60. WE WENT THERE FOR WILLARD JR HIGH SKATE NIGHTS AND HAD ALOT OF GOOD TIMES THERE , I AS WELL GREW UP ON POPLAR ST AND LIVED ON 21ST ... MOST OF YOU KNOW ME AS DANIEL GREENS YOUNGEST (JAKE) I'M MARRIED HAVE TWO KIDS AND THEY EVER GOT TO SEE THE SKATE RANCH BUT WHEN OLD FRIENDS COME BY THEY HERE US LAUGHING AND TALKING ABOUT THE GOOD TIME

    ... JACOB GREEN

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  61. i skated at the ranch for a few years in the 60s while in high school. my partner was don crandall. i reflect on my time there because my mom had us there all the time. she worked the snack bar her name was nila kelly. i had sisters that also skated michelle and janelle they were younger than me and are both gone along with my mom. i lived to skate back then, i even took a pet chicken there. the pro was geore and his son was mickey cant remember the last name but he was tough on me. i can remember greg erbie, diane caroll,elaine and don or was it mike. been along time and i still rhink back with very fond memories

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  62. I remember the Skate Ranch very much as it was yesterday. I know Jim Taylor, haven't seen him in a long time. There were others Rick, Gary, Tank and Big Red. Gold Skate in 1966 and again in 1969. Dance skating every night and speed on the weekends. Round and round skating on Friday and Sat nights.Alot of very good memories.It is something we need today.

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  63. Our Elementary School had skate parties at the Skate Ranch. I went to West Orange Elementary School in Orange in the 80's. We had so much fun! I was so sad when they tore it down. Those were the best times, growing up in the 80's!

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  64. FaceBook has a website that was set up for all of you Skate Ranch Fans of the past. Please join in...
    "Skate Ranch Santa Ana, CA Old School Skaters" www.facebook.com/groups/254980580053/

    SVR

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  65. Bob Canvin, yes it was a great place to go, did most of my skating back in 1960, and threw to 1970, about then started lifes problems, lol. Did the Friday and Saturday night skate, won lots of speed skate deals, and could say I was one of the fastest all about long distance from Garden Grove to Santa ana. Those were the days! irishbob49@hotmail.com

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  66. In the 70's I went to Santiago elementary amd we used to have our school skate nighs there

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  67. skate ranch on new years eve was the bomb...girls from wall to wall.in the 80's

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