Svor’s Family Roller Rink going strong after 35 years

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For the past 35 years Steve and Gail Svor have provided entertainment, jobs, and even “babysitting services” to the Benson area through Svor’s Family Roller Rink.
Their four children, Kelly, Kristi, Kayla and Josh all grew up at the roller rink learning to skate, work the concession stand and help others learn how to navigate the floor of the Benson Amory on wheels.
“When we would get to the rink, we would lace Kristi (2 years old at the time) in a pair of little white high top skates with wooden wheels,” Gail recalls. “She would just put her hands out and people would pull her around the rink all night.”
For Steve and Gail Svor, the roller rink was a passion they pursued while Steve worked fulltime for the City of Benson’s street department with Gail a registered nurse with Swift County-Benson Hospital’s Home Health services.
Steve began skating while attending high school in Brooten. After graduating, he would roller skate three to five times a week traveling to Long Prairie, Alexandria, Morris, Benson, St. Cloud or Spicer.
While he was honing his skill on skates, Gail was working at her aunt and uncle’s Spicer Playland. It had go-carts, trampolines, mini-golf, and an arcade that was open during the summer months. But Spicer Playland also had a roller skating pavilion that was open year around.
It was at Playland that Gail met Steve in 1966. They would be married five years later in August 1971 and move to near Steve’s parents farm south of Swift Falls.
“I just loved watching him glide around the floor,” she recalls. “He taught me how to dance on my skates as he was always trying new footwork. Back then it was popular to two-step, schottische, waltz, bunny hop, and twirl on skates skating forward and backwards.”
Skating was their primary entertainment at the time as it was for other couples they knew. However, once they started having children, the skating outings became less frequent.

Svor’s Family Roller Rink
In the summer of 1980, Gail noticed an advertisement in the Swift County Monitor announcing the Benson Roller Rink was for sale. Owners Ray and Barb Puchalski of Clontarf were looking at slowing down due to some health issues Ray was having, she said. At the time, he was also the custodian for the Benson National Guard Armory and the school bus driver for their kids. Kelly was 6 and Kristi was 2 in 1980.

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