The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Crystal Ball Roller Rink Carthage Celebrates 75 years

by Christy Kienast, The Quill

John Scott was just 16 years old when he started in the skating business up on the square in Carthage.

He moved the Crystal Ball Roller Rink to its present location in 1947 and they added onto it in 1976. He also had portable rinks he took around to various locations.

While John passed away in 1975, his family took on the business. His wife Millie ran the skating rink with the family until her passing in 2001.

This year the Crystal Ball Roller Rink is celebrating its 75th year in business. Owner Bonnie Bentzinger, John Scotts youngest daughter says, " The skating rink is her life, she feels that she has been running it forever." The roller skating rink is the only one left in Hancock County.

Bonnie says in the summer her father used to take a chartered bus around to all of the skating rinks that were open and they would skate at them.

Bonnie works full time at the County Market and when she is not there she spends all of her other time at the skating rink. She doesn't get a complete day and night off until Easter and then not until she closes for the summer.

The Crystal Ball Roller Rink offers skating lessons through the 4-H Club to youth.

Two to three sessions are offered and you do not have to be in 4-H to take the skating lessons. Lessons started again Tuesday, March 15th.

Her family is the key in doing the lessons and running the business as a whole, she says. They are on their fourth generation of teaching lessons in the family.

Her sons Scott and Steve help maintenance the building and daughter Jonni helps with the lessons.

Grandson Alex mans the concession stand and when they repainted the roller rink, her granddaughter Ashland and her friends had a time freehand painting and stenciling the walls with different colored fish and butterflies.

Bonnie says the point of the multi colored fish is when you are teaching a child that has never skated before you can distract them by asking them to count a certain colored fish and soon they forget they are skating.

She does a lot of community activities including youth groups skate nights and Girl Scouts have skate nights there every March.

Friday nights are booked every month for the Carthage PTO. The first weekend is 5 thru 8th grade. The second weekend is 2nd thru 4th and the third weekend is preschool thru first grade. The fourth weekend of every month is booked by the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Basco for an open skate night.

You can book parties on Sundays thru Thursday. Open skate night is every Saturday from 7-10 p.m. and Sunday afternoon 1-3 p.m.. Sunday skate doesn't start until January and ends the Sunday before Easter.

The Crystal Ball roller rink offers a full concession stand and they have skates in Baby size 6 to Adult Male size 15.

Bonnie says that she "feels honored that the parents trust her to watch over their children while they are at her establishment. The kids walk in the door and they become her family."

Bonnie believes in keeping the prices lowered and keeping it a family atmosphere.

The skating rink is not open during the summer because it is just too hot in there for anyone to skate.

There is an Ole Timers Skating Party on Monday, March 28th from 6:30 p.m. until everyone is done reminiscing. Admission is by donation only and only 18 years and older are invited on this night.

So, come on down to the Crystal Ball roller rink and make some memories with your friends and family.