Apr 20, 2021 - News

One family's contribution to Des Moines' rollerskating history

The front of Skateland in Ames in 1963 — the first skate rink the Muses owned before opening in Des Moines. Photo courtesy of Romina Muse

Rollerskating is the hot trend right now, but the city has had a long and internationally-known history with the sport.

Flashback: It all started in the Des Moines metro when Ramona and John Muse built a roller rink called Skate West in 1972. The Muses and their six children lived next door, and by the time their kids knew how to walk, they knew how to skate, too.

"It's 11am on a sunny day in the Muses' hometown of Des Moines, and America's fastest roller skaters are just getting out of bed."
A Sports Illustrated article from 1988

Their two sons, Dante and Tony, became internationally recognized for their speed.

  • Dante was known "as the best speed skater in the U.S.," winning countless gold medals at Olympic festivals as well as national and world titles.
  • Tony, his younger brother, was known as the "second-best" skater in the U.S., making the two a dynamic team, along with their coach (and brother) Mark.

The family still owns skating rinks around Des Moines, including Skateland, said Romina Muse, Dante's wife.

  • The two met when she was skating for Team Italy and he was competing for Team USA.

"We're living the dream," Romina said. "We love what we do. We wouldn't want to do anything else with our lives."


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