As Newport native, I love to reminisce as I drive Hwy 67N and Malcolm as my mind drifts back over the decades. I remember the various businesses that have come and gone, and smile proudly at the ones still going strong. As a young child, Saturday afternoons were spent at the skating rink with numerous other elementary students of Jackson County. Originally built in the 1960s, Mr. Odom was the owner during my time of the early 1980s. He was a nice man with a warm smile and fun-loving personality.
Ownership changed hands in the 1990s and has been closed for the last few years. The new owners, Josh and Tori Epperson, returned to Newport and decided to buy the rink after seeing it for sale. The purchase took close almost a year, February until November, but was worth the wait. The building was in need of many repairs, including roof, electrical and plumbing. “I wanted to make sure and use local tradesmen on the repairs. All of the men did an excellent job. Eric Daniels took my vision and made it reality,” laughs Josh. The new name is Rock-N-Roller Rink and is open. Although nervous about the venture, the Epperson family is excited about the opportunity to reopen the rink.
Not sure about the evening festivities of a roller rink are these days, but I recall holding hands with my favorite fella during the couples skate as well as the thrill of learning to skate backwards. The Limbo was a crowd favorite and I am sure everyone has a vivid recollection of a near death collision at some point.
“From the time I was three until I was 16, I didn’t miss a weekend skating,” states owner Josh Epperson. “We traveled all over the state skating in different rinks and it has always been a dream of ours to have that.”
Skating is close to Epperson’s heart. His parents even met at a rink in Searcy many years ago. “My history with skating goes back as far as I can remember. I don’t remember not being able to skate. So I want to pass that passion down to the next generation,” Epperson said. The young in Newport are limited in the places to go for entertainment. Without a rink, movie or bowling alley, the options are extremely limited. “Newport needed something for the kids to do without a commute to Jonesboro, Searcy or Batesville. Many families are not able to take their family out of town, so this will fill that niche for the community,” Epperson said.
The Rink is open to the public on Tuesday evening 6 pm – 9 pm ($ 5.00), Friday evening 7 pm – 10 pm ($ 7.00), Saturday afternoon youth skate 1pm-5pm ($7.00), Saturday evening 7 pm – 10 pm ($7.00), and Sunday afternoon 1 pm – 4 pm ($5.00). Monday, Wednesday and Thursday are reserved for parties. For questions or to book a party please call: (870) 217-1482. Children 10 years of age or younger have to be accompanied by an adult, Children from 11 years to 14 years of age need to be signed in my a parent or guardian. Youth skate is for children 12 years of age and younger.
Help support local business with fun for the entire family!