Gen Z might find love online, but Moorhead's baby boomers had Bud’s Roller Rink
Love was definitely in the air from the 1960s into the '90s as teens went round and round on one of Fargo-Moorhead's favorite weekend spots.
MOORHEAD — Boy, did I drop the ball on the timing of this column! It clearly should have run on Valentine's Day!
A while back, I ran across some people reminiscing on social media about their days spent at Bud’s Roller Rink in Moorhead. Ah, such great memories of more carefree days listening to Top 40 tunes while going round and round with your best pals from school.
But it turns out Bud’s was also a spot where true love blossomed. When I asked people to share their memories of Bud’s Roller Rink with me on Facebook, many obliged — and it got a little steamy.
Hear Tracy Briggs narrate this story here:
Well, maybe not quite steamy — after all, it was a roller rink and basically puppy love on wheels.
Even so, while we might be a few weeks past Valentine’s Day, I think the world is in need of a little love right now. I hope you’ll enjoy some love stories from a more innocent time and a now-closed roller-skating rink.
All about Bud’s
But before we get to the love, let’s talk about Bud’s Roller Rink. Clay County Archivist Mark Peihl might have summed it up best: “Bud’s was a Moorhead institution on U.S. Highway 10 for 32 years, from 1962 to 1993. It featured go-karts, a driving range, petting zoo and roller rink.”
The names and attractions changed from year to year. For example, this 1970s-era pamphlet calls it “Bud’s Amusement Park.” And for a stretch of time in the late ‘60s, the “Big Slipper” was the premiere attraction. (I’ll have more on the Big Slipper in a future column.)
Bud’s seemed to have it all for teens in the area. Evelyn Knutson said, “That was the place to be on a Friday and Saturday night! The lights, the music, the chatter. Go-karts were awesome. I think about it every time I go past that corner.”
Randy Ball remembers skating there in the mid-‘70s. “Walking in there was a stuffed peacock you’d see. Two songs I remember them playing all the time were ‘Hitchin' a Ride’ and ‘Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress.’ They’d have skaters do the limbo. Good times."
Others remember working up the nerve to ask that special someone for a couples skate or “crushing” on a cute boy or girl there.
But it seems crushes born at Bud’s often turned into the real thing.
Love on the rink
While many people who commented on Facebook said they most recalled having junior and senior high parties there, I was surprised how many talked about meeting their future spouses at the rink.
“Went there on my first date with my husband,” Gloria Aasen said.
“My parents met there while in high school. She was from Moorhead and he was from Hawley (Minn.),” Rhonda Heiberg said.
“Met my husband at Bud’s in 1971,” Beverly Rognlie said.
I really enjoyed hearing Darlene (Thompson) Meyer’s Bud’s love story.
“In the mid-'60s, my co-worker and I went skating at Bud's. She didn't skate very well and I was helping her. A young man skated up and helped her and skated with us all evening. I thought he had eyes for her. She was a beautiful young woman. As it turned out, we got together, got married and now 54 years later we no longer skate but still have those skates in our basement.”
Meyer said if the rink was open, they’d be skating.
“I enjoyed skating there so much, on my birthday, Jan. 28, much to the dismay of my parents, I drove to Bud's from Wild Rice and it was 30 below zero. Tater Tots were a new item, and we consumed many baskets of them. We enjoyed the live organ and Lance Johnson, our favorite organist. He made the rink come alive. Sadly, when the rink closed our skating waned, but we have wonderful memories. Those were the days!”
Yes they were, Darlene — and a lot more fun than meeting someone online.