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Giant Boots & Skates

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John T. Strickland, Jr. owned the Starlite Skate Center chain in Florida and invented skate cars as a form of mobile advertising for his rinks. These cars were built on a Volkswagen van chassis and can be driven in parades or just around town. When parked, they function as signs to catch the attention of passing motorists. These cars can be converted from high-top to speed skate by removing the top piece of fiberglass. Strickland produced seven of these cars and had the design patented in 1978. Approximately 30 of these skate cars were produced and about a half dozen of them are still around.

Skate Car [gone]
Buster's Fun Factory
Riverdale, GA

This Skate Car was built by J.T. Strickland. It was perched on top of the sign at Buster's Fun Factory, a roller skating rink. It was driven in local parades at one time. In 2008, this rink was demolished and the skate is now gone. Does anyone know where it went?

Skate Cars [gone]
Anderson, SC

These two Skate Cars are located at Skateland USA which opened in 1995. I believe there was another skating rink here before that was in operation since at least the 1970s. These skate cars were built by J.T. Strickland. The advertising on one of these skates refers to Stardust Skate Centers in Albany and Augusta, GA and Charleston, SC. I don't know what the relationship is between this rink and the others. These photos are from 2010. By 2012, the Skate Cars were no longer on display. They are still owned by Skateland but they are now kept in storage because of vandalism.

Aloha Roller Palace
Mesquite, TX

The Aloha Roller Palace has one of J.T. Strickland's original seven skate cars (see "Buster's" above). This skating rink opened around 1966 as the Westlake Skate Center. Their skate car was originally displayed as a high top skate. It was painted black with two white stripes like a men's skate. In 2010, new owners changed the rink's name and changed the skate's look. The top part of the skate was removed and it was covered with new wrap advertising which features a Hawaiian sunset. [map]

Rollercade [gone]
Longview, TX

This Rollercade skate car was also produced by J.T. Strickland. It was taken down once or twice a year to be driven around. This place had been closed since at least 2006. These photos are from 2011. The skate was still there in 2012 but it was gone by 2016.

Giant Skate
Bealeton, VA
2004: 2010:
This Giant Skate is about ten feet tall. It is made of cement with a metal heel and wooden wheels. It was probably inspired by Strickland's skate cars described above. This business was known as Hugo's Skating Rink in 2004. I believe Hugo's opened in 1976 but I don't know when the skate was built. By 2009, the skate had been repainted and the place was called Carroll's Skating Rink. In 2010, there was no name on the skate. There was a sign for Rollerworks Family Skating Center but I don't know if they are still open. For more, see this website. [map]

Landmark Skate & Fun Center
Pensacola, FL
Giant Skate
Boardman, OH
Landmark Skate & Fun Center opened in the mid-1950s as Dreamland South. It became the Landmark in 1984. Donna Baudendistel, one of the rink's owners, had always wanted a skate car. In 2004, Donna and her husband began building one of their own. They bought a junked 1980s Ford Bronco for $250 and stripped it to the chassis. The skate's body was built with $1800 worth of fiberglass. Two sixty foot hoses from the local fire station were donated for the skate's laces. Stove burners were used for the laces' eyelets. A couple of bench seats were concealed in the laces and a platform to stand on was built into the top of the skate. The skate was completed in 2007. Donna was still looking for a suitable object to use as a toe stop.

This skate car was designed to be towed not driven. When not in use, this skate was displayed in front of the rink. It was modeled after a toddler's skate hence the goofy proportions. It measures fourteen feet and one inch tall which is seven inches over the legal limit. Therefore, this skate is only allowed to be towed to and from parades and special events. As a towed vehicle, it must display a Florida license plate. The one on the Landmark skate reads: B1G SK8. By 2017, the skating rink had closed. The Skate is looking a bit worn and the laces appear to be broken. For more, see this website. [map]

The Giant Skate in Boardman is located inside at Youngstown Skate. It is probably from the 1960s or 1970s. It appears to be battery-operated and is driven around the rink now and then. It has been painted different colors over the years.

More Giant Skates:
Skateland (Anchorage, AK) [map]
University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Sparkles Family Fun Center (Hiram, GA) [gone?]
Jellybeans Super Skate Center (Raleigh, NC) [map]
Austinburg Skating Rink & Party Center (Austinburg, OH) [map]
Stan's Skateland (Montross, VA)

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