They came in shorts and tank tops, in jeans and T-shirts and spandex. Families and singles, old and young. Some wore helmets, some didn’t. But no matter, there were few if any wipeouts at the third in-line skating event ever held at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Lacing up their skates, cousins Nola McPherson of north Minneapolis and Laura Burbank of St. Louis, Mo., were giddy to be there.
“I’m super jealous that you guys have this and we don’t,” said Burbank, who grew up in Minneapolis and was back to see family over the holiday break.
The women were with a group of five. McPherson said she and her family had had season passes since at least 2009 to the in-line skating events at the old Metrodome.
The event, one of 12 held this season, ran from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. It was sold out by 5:45 p.m., when 350 skating tickets had been sold.
Upstairs, 321 runners had paid $3 apiece to run the 696- to 726-meter course.
On the inside lane, 12 laps equaled a bit more than 5 miles.
“I love it; we’re having a great time,” said Danielle Gordanier of St. Paul, who was cooling down after a 90-minute run.
Rick Recker, founder of Indoor Stadium Running Inc., was there to volunteer and greet pretty much every runner by name.
“We’ll do our best to make people happy here,” he said.
Tim and Melanie Wege, along with their children, ages 14, 18, and 19, drove 75 minutes to the stadium from their home in Avon, Minn., near St. Cloud.
“Friends introduced us to it at the old Metrodome,” Melanie Wege said of the old Rollerdome in-line skating events.
“We only roller-bladed there once,” Tim Wege added. “It’s our kids’ first time in the stadium.”
Scott Olson, the creator of Rollerblades, and Mike Cofrin, a founder of the Rollerdome skating events, strapped on skates, too.
Cofrin said about 850,000 people came to Rollerdome events between 1991 and 2013, including 1,999 people on New Year’s Eve 1999.
Olson reminisced about inventing Rollerblades in 1981, when he had to personally strap the skates on hockey players who wanted to train in the offseason.
“They need to have this place opened up more than Tuesdays,” Olson said. “This is a great place for people to start.
Jenn Hathaway, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Association, said adding more nights is tough because of conflicts with such events as weddings, banquets and bar mitzvahs.