Ice skating invented here?

Thumbnail image for skate stilts.jpg

Well, perhaps.

At least maybe stilt skating got a start here?  The 1925 photo is courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society.

But no.

The Eurocentric view of the world is that somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 years ago folks on the Continent tied animal bones onto their feet to glide over frozen lakes.

A Scotsman is credited by some with affixing a metal blade to a platform about 500 years ago.

Thumbnail image for john strauss.jpg

But yes, by golly, folks here in the land of 10,000 lakes and countless potholes came up with some cutting-edge skates including John Strauss of St. Paul in another great MHS photo from 1920.

And with one of, maybe the first, commercially successful ice skating SHOWS!

Thumbnail image for skater girls new.jpg

Eddie Shipstad and Johnson’s Ice Follies could fill arenas by featuring skaters doing tricks and women wearing, well, guess what? Short skirts as evidence in this 1937 photo from the Minnesota Historical Society photo collection.

Ice skating comes to mind because I can’t (skate, that is) and Horace Munoz Jr., can.

 

Thumbnail image for horace.jpgThere he is, comin’ ’round the bend at the Guidant John Rose MN OVAL in Roseville in a superb photograph by MPR’s Jeff Thompson.

By his own description Horace is an average skater, but when it comes to distance he is above average. He’s on a pace this season to skate 1,000 miles.

Around and around and around. Many many laps at the Oval. You can learn more about Horace in my story later today on All Things Considered. 

Horace says he learned to skate from his father at age 8 on the west side of St. Paul.

Munoz says he skates as a tension reliever.

Judging from photos courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society skaters appear to be in the majority. And there are still plenty of them.

But beware.

Climate change and big screen TVs are putting a dent in the activity.