MISSOULA — The sun had set in Missoula but atop a local parking garage, dozens of little wheels brought a world of excitement.
The pop-up roller rink began as a temporary fix to the pandemic boredom, but with the popularity that this group has gained, we could see these roller rinks becoming more permanent.
“Definitely like the middle of COVID, we all picked up roller skating kind of individually,” noted Hip Strip Honeyz skater Hanna Moorman.
“I decided to take up skating kind of on my own and then I heard that there were a lot of other girls who were skating and doing this whole social distancing thing,” added Hip Strip Honeyz skated Berlyn Geisler.
"I was like, ‘well, I don't wanna miss out on any of that.’ So then I got a pair too and then we all grew and as time went on, we all had roller skates,” said Hip Strip Honeyz skater Lindsay Petrillo.
There are worse things one could give in to peer pressure for -- in this case, roller skating isn’t only harmless, it’s really, really fun.
“It kind of just feels like you're floating and gliding,” Geisler said.
“It's absolute freedom,” Petrillo noted.
“Once you get a new trick down, it is those natural endorphins, man, just really do a lot,” Geisler explained.
“It tones you up and makes you feel good all in and out,” Geisler told MTN News.
Infatuated with their new hobby, the group of friends took to social media to share their discovery with others fighting the pandemic blues.
“We started an Instagram to do kind of like our diary sort of situation, everyone had the password. So, we just posted as we please,” Moorman said.
The women deemed their skating squad the Hip Strip Honeyz and before they knew it, the word was out.
Skaters young and old -- professional and amateur -- came knocking. Roller skating was making a comeback -- the only missing factor in its resurgence was a rink. But with parking garages galore -- no rink meant no problem. The group just needed some concrete and a beat -- and the Pop Up Rink was born.
“DJ Coach Shane here almost every single time and then we have a few other DJs that come through, and we just set it up,” Moorman noted, “There's just lots of fun, limbo sometimes.
Eventually, COVID-19 will fade, but for the Hip Strip Honeyz, skating has become more than just a pandemic pastime. It’s given them a community -- and the possibilities for what that community can do are endless.
"So, I think by next summer we'll be able to do like a lot more of like charity events since like, we might as well. We're all here and everyone cares about Missoula." - Hip Strip Honeyz skater Hanna Moorman