Aurora Roller Skater Glides Into National Championships

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2019 USA Roller Sports National Championships

For this skater, roller skating isn’t just a hobby.

This year, Roger Wampach and his partner Penny Marchiel glided their way into the 2019 USA Roller Sports National Championships and won third in their division.

“We enjoy it, and people see that passion and that enjoyment and sometimes that’s a little bit more enjoyed than the athleticism. I’m an old man sometimes it’s hard to keep going,” said Wampach.

63 Years at the Aurora Skate Center

But he’s kept going for 63 years at the Aurora Skate Center, which has been his skating home since 1956.

“I mean I’m still in skating for the 63 years because I love to skate. And through the years there’s been different owners and managers and attitudes towards competitive skating,” said Wampach. “But somehow I’ve weathered the storm and I’m still here. And I’ve been here longer than anyone and it’s my passion, I enjoy skating.”

He rolled his way into the skate center the first time after getting skates for Christmas.

“My sister took me skating for my birthday because her boyfriend worked at the skating rink and he could even skate backwards,” said Wampach.

Wampach learned to do more than just skate backwards. Since that first time, he eventually became coach and skated competitively.

Skating Competitively

After a while he continued coaching, but ended up leaving competitive skating 49 years ago until returning five years back.

“I came back because I went to nationals and at the practice rink I was watching this woman skate and I started crying and I said I want to skate again,” said Wampach.

Not Ready to Quit

Lacing up those skates to compete was the right choice, and it doesn’t seem like he’ll be putting away his skating shoes anytime soon.

“My wife said to me the other day, you’re not ready to quit yet – competitive either. So I need something to do, I couldn’t stay retired and be at home all the time,” said Wampach.

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.