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  • Rexing is a style of backwards roller skating that started in California in the 1950’s.  Spot rexing is backward skating in a baisic figure 8 pattern within the space of a standard figure circle, with very intricate steps, slides, and turns.  It was originally done to the blues/rock music of the time.  While the style of rexing has evolved over time, disco, and jive are NOT rexing by any strecth of the imagination.
    Rexing can be done on inline skates, but with limitations. There are certain steps such as a flat #8 spin that simply cannot be done on inline skates.  The term rexing was around for 35 years before inline skates came on the scene.  So it is therefore NOT a term based on inine skating.
    My qualification for this statement:  I was president of a SOCAL rexing club for 2 years in the 1970’s.  We were high point club for the season one of those years.

  • This comment is basiclly confirming what Gary Campbell has stated about rexing. What some
    jam skaters call rexing, is in fact, not rexing at all. Rexing originated in Southern California and consisted of backwards skating, utilizing a sequence of steps similar to many of the step patterns of ballroom or line dancing, (except on skates). Terms such as figure 8, duck walk, grapevine are just some of the steps used in rexing. 
    There were also many rexing clubs sponsored by the various home rinks they skated out of, and which were governed by the “ARC”, (Associated Rexing Clubs). Club members attended meetings, paid dues, practiced and honed the art of rexing and competed in various rexing competitions hosted by various rinks around Southern California. At one point in the 70’s a move was even made to put rexing on the National map, and ultimately enter this particular type of skating as an event in the Olympics. This did not succeed however, as many rinks closed their doors in the late 1980’s and rexing faded out.
    My qualifications for this comment: I am a former Rebel Rexer who skated/competed througout the 1970’s decade out of Palisade Gardens Roller Rink in San Diego, CA. I also formed and currently run a rexing group site whose memberships consists only of rexers from the 1950’s on through the 1980’s and the various SoCal clubs.

  • I was a proud & active member of the REBEL REXERS,(RULED!!),@ Palisade Gardens in San Diego, Ca. during the late 70’s & early 80’s. The memories,though some great some good & even some that were heart breaking,were some of the best!!!When I think about all the partying,etc. etc. etc.,I’m amazed that I’m still alive.Since I really can’t add anymore info. about the art of backward rollerskating,(a.k.a.REXING to us old timers), than whats already been explained by Gary & Liz, then I’ll just give you my own, personal definition by todays terms,“IT’S THE BOMB”!!!!by Richard Acton

  • Palisades Garden RULED!!  I grew up skating there.  I knew how to rex…I learned from my mom.  She used to go there when she was at Helix High School.  Man, I sure miss those days…

  • i was a rexer at rocket roller rink in Imperial Beach Cal I skated with Randy Bailey Mark Garvin Steve Baker and Steve Seitz This is Mike Campbell and we would all go to the other rinks also in the 70s Palisades Sweetwater and Rocket and im now skating again in MESA AZ at Skateland I can still do it and i still love it

  • Mike, it’s good to read that you still love to Rex.  I used to have the nickname at Rocket of “Randy Rexer”.  Lots of good times in those days.  I still go once in a while now but feel a little embarased to rex in front of the people sitting in the chair area.  Few, if anyone here in Utah, have ever seen rexing before so I’ll just do short bits by the back wall in my old speed skates :).  If anyone hasn’t seen “Roll Bounce” yet you really need to rent that movie.  I’m pretty sure some of it was filmed at Sweetwater Rink in National City (called Palesades Gardens in the movie, the real Palesades Gardens Rink used to be somewhere in East San Diego) and shows segments at another unknown rink (called Sweetwater in the movie).  It’s about rexing but the music is from the disco era.  A little after my main rexing years.  Here are some more names of the rexers from Rocket that I remember: Timmy Phillips, Conrad Putnan, Sandy Neil, Gene Foreman, David Kraleman, Greg and Tony Lily, Crystal Lazin, Tom Parker, Don DeLotta, Don Pagan, Diane and Monica Bailey, and you can’t forget John (the guy with the little wheels!).

  • Wow, this brings back a lot of great memories.  Mike, I think I remember you and I’m sure my big brother Randy Bailey will for sure.  I sent him this link so you’ll likely hear from him.  Yep, Rocket, Sweetwater, Palisades, Skyline, and all those other rinks we used to take over on the weekends!  Anyway, my brother and I lived in Mesa but that was a long time ago….we do still have some family there so next time we’ll have to all show up and do some rex’in while trying not to kill ourselves in teh process!

  • Mike Campbell, Randy and Arny Bailey and all independant rexers and/or those who rexed under the ARC umbrella: this is an invitation to join my rexing group site at: 70s_sandiego_palisadegardens_gang-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. We have members from most all the ARC rexing clubs and the decades span from the late 50’s, (when rexing first started,) to the 1980’s and I’m sure you will find several people you know on the group.  A lot of us still rex at the Linda Vista rink. There are only two rinks open now…Skateworld Linda Vista and Ups and Downs in Escondido. We also have annual reunions. The next one is coming up on April 24, 2009. We’re still looking for former members of the Imperial Rexers, (originally out of Rocket Roller Rink but moved to Sweetwater after Rocket closed.
    BTW, the movie Roll Bounce was not about rexing. The screen writer, Norman Vance Jr. used to skate at our Palisade Gardens, (North Park SD,) as a child and fashioned his movie off of his own childhood experiences skating at the rink. He came along in 1978 when alot of skaters began doing roller disco. It wasn’t the same as rexing.
    Rollergirl Lizzy
    70’s Rebel Rexer

  • Liz, I helped Mike Jackson, my speed coach at the time, build the Linda Vista rink (a little).  As I recall, it may have used to be a grocery store?  I believe it’s the same rink you rex at.  I remember the opening night.  I was inside floor guarding (and rexing of course) and the local gang of tough guys showed up outside ready to cause some commotion, it appeared, so Mike hired the gang leader as a sort of bouncer.  No other problems occured after that.  I heard that Gary Stang, a past free styler from Rocket and later Sweetwater, owns the rink now.  I also heard that he married an old girl friend of mine named Judy.  Any Info on that?  I stand corrected about “Roll Bounce”.  However, some of the shots appeared to me to be close spin offs of some old spot rexing moves.  Whatever the case, I enjoy the movie and own a copy.  I skated speed for Palisades one season before joining Sweetwater’s team and later Rocket’s new team.  Maybe 1972-1973ish?  Other Palisades speed skaters were Mike and Danny.  Ring a bell? You and I may have known each other.  I do remember that when Billy Preston’s “Outa Space” was played that everyone dashed out to rex to it.  Maybe not a classic rexing song as you remember but fun times nevertheless.  I tripped myself rexing at Palisades one night and broke my wrist.  It never healed.  It’s still broken but I deal with it.

  • Attention All!  We rexers, past & present, now hane our own ‘online rink.’  Point your browser’s to:  http://www.arcrexers.org .  It’s a ‘My Space’ style site, complete w/forum.

    I skated at Palisades, was 1st Prez of Jr. Rebel Rexers and ended up a spot rexer with the Nomads.

  • I was a rexer at Palisades70-80….I remember Dickie Jackie, Mike Femester…Went with my friend from Crawford High, Lisa…Jeri Martin

  • I was also a Rexer at Palisade Gardens in San Diego in the late ‘60s.  Rexing was fun on a Saturday night, but I loved the competitions.  There were strict rules on what footwork you could use – it was very organized. Jam Skating is not Rexing!

  • I still have my skates, and recentley “air rexed” for my husband at Von’s when they play …“Kansas City” …that outa get us all going!!! OMG,I’m almost 50, ride a great ouarter horse, so risking breaking my arm rexing, again? What the heck. I’m more sober now! Maybe I’ll get my bearings greased. Not working anyway,….and F—k Obama!

  • My husband, Don [Ollie] Niemeyer,rexed at the Palisade Gardens roller rink in San Diego in 1954-1958. He was 17-21years old then. He was in the Navy stationed there. He is 72 now & still rexes. He had a skating partner named Deanna…& always wondered what happened to her. If anyone has any information regarding Deanna, please let us know. Her parents owned a small restaurant in San Deigo back then. Watching the rexers at the Palisade Gardens made him want to learn to skate backwards in the worse way. He was on board ship..the LST 1148, at that time. Don had 2 months straight skullary duty & went roller skating 61 nights in a row, until the engineering officer restricted him for one night on board ship & took him off skullary duty. He has very fond memories of the rexers at Palisade Gardens & still thinks of them when he skates to this day.
    Don [Ollie] & Sandy Niemeyer

  • After reading the above statements several times I did not realize when I went into the Navy, as a 17 year old kid, that rexing was just beginning to take hold of roller skaters like it did.I reported to the LST 1148 on December 13, 1954, and started skating at Palisade Gardens shortly thereafter. This was my first experience seeing rexing couples at any skating rink.There certainly was nothing like this in the St. Louis area where I learned to skate. Now I was never a very good skater to start with, and watching the rexers at Palisade Gardens got such a hold on me that I just had to learn it. But first I had to learn to skate backwards. I had such a hard time learning, and the only thing that kept me going was watching the rexers at Palisade Gardens believe me. And I have to give a lot of credit to the organist playing at the Gardens because he really got the rexing couples up to such a fervor that they skated their very best. I wish I could remember his name. I will close this comment by thanking every rexer at the Gardens, who skated there from 1954 through 1958, and the organist whoever he was. Because of you I’m still rexing to this day. And I will continue until I cannot hack it anymore. I’m closing in on 72 very soon. By Ollie..if you like you can contact me at my wife’s email skn42@frontiernet.net

  • I too am one of the 60’s/70’s rexers from Palisades Gardens.  I was a member of the Nomads when Ginger and Monty Lewis were there.  If it is not known, I was just introduced to a new web site, http://arcrexersonline.ning.com, for old timers to stay in touch.

  • I started skating before most of you were the gleam in your father’s eye. 1945 downtown San Diego, at Pacifica next to Seven Seas store. Continuous skating backwards was called “rexing” then. Mom, older brother and sister did well in skating, but I was faster in “rexing”. “rexing couples” was a skate time but I was too small (9 years old) to skate with anyone.

    Later skating at Mission Bay rink, next to the roller coaster, saw and learned some of what is called “spot rexing”. Of the three terms of ‘orexing” nothing was set rules, all were free style. In the early 50’s “spot rexing” started a sequence of over 30 steps, as was said, either, single, couple, or like line dancing.

    Disco, Jamming, inline, bounce, boogie or any other term means “rexing” NO WAY! When did “rexing” or the term, start is a good question. I read som€one had a aunt that had a trophy from the 30’s of “rexing couples” from a rink on University street in San Diego. I have asked San Diego paper for some research on the subject with no response.

    ln the 50’s there was about 10 of us couples that grouped together and called ourselves “Royal Rexers”. Most of the time we would meet at Mission Bay riqk for the first session and then go to Palisades Gardens for the last session on Friday and Saturday nights. We had small amount of dues to pay, I think it was 10 cent for the snacks our folks would buy for our meetings at someone’s house. There were other couples that would meet us at Palisades Gardens on those nights. I know this went on until February

    19,1957 when I was drafted into the Army. You can check my club pigtures at http:llaruexersonline.ning.com/profile/DavidDuffey. They were taken February 18, you might see yourself or a friend if you’re old enough. I’m still looking for anyone of my era and can email me. Duffeydw@clearwire.net All replies will be in total confidence unless noted.

    In late 1960 or early’61ARC (America Rexing Clubs) was form under {he insurance package of RSROA S,oller Skating Rinks of America). Under this umbrella, they made rules, regulations and Limitations for all skaters in these clubs. The open floor pattern was change to a “hour glass” to conform to the Dance and Figure pattern. The spot rexing circle was made bigger as most coutd not tum as sharp asthey did in the 50’s. Also many steps were dropped as they couldn’t do them with the tighter trucks asmost used. A square dance step was added, posture was held tight. There was not motre free style of skating.

    I can see r,vhy in the late 80’s, the generation did not want to be under someone’s rules as wqdidn’t either i* tfre 50’s. The revenue drops d rinks clesed. The 60’s called us of the 50’s wild, unruly and non-conformity. Only one time was the cops called on one of our parties, the music to loud, turned in down and they left. No one haufed off to jail or anything else. We skated for the love of it. We knew who was a better skater and didn’t have to prove it. We were always trying to improve and didn’t need someone to tell us how bad we were. The 50’s style of skating is almost gone. The only two I’ve found since the 50’s is Mouse and Doris Frank and have lost contact with them. Have met with above Don (Ollie) Niemeyer and re-new our friends:hip of the 50’s.

    I am sorry to see rexing fade as much as it has. A very good site to keep up with rexing is to visit http://arcrexersonline.ning.coml. If you want a scream, go watch inline skaters doing, or trying to do, spot rexing on you tube. I now wish I had kept up with skating as now at 73 tryngto get my skating legs back is much fun.

  • I find the term ‘rexing’ very interesting as to it’s definition & interputation. Being a product of the late 70’s/early 80’s skating craze, we used the term ‘rexing’ as to define the style in which we skated. It was not always backwards, it was not a simple figure 8 pattern, it was not “spot” skating. It was perfectly syncronized group (or pack as we were) skating in unison, with each person varing here & there, in and out of sync with the others as necessary to avoid fallen skaters, new skaters, or any other obsticle in our way, then recovering our steps & getting back in sync with the others. We skated fast, we skated hard, and we had fun. I believe the term “rexing” has evolved over the years, not to offend the ‘old timers’ for whom I have great respect in pioneering this form of skating for us. From what I’ve read so far here most seemed to very set that the term rexing only applies to the original form of it coined in the 50’s. Others give defination to a broader range for the term, even the original one on this site defines our style as well as the old school ways. In reference to the movie “Roller Bounce”, we had a film crew come into our rink in Bay Area California & film us for a movie they were making. Although I did not see any of our footage in the film, I did see our style with variation & without, throughout the movie. And seriously the moive defines a broader range of the term ‘rexing’ as opposed to the stubborn old school defination of only backwards set movements. We did have a series of steps or movements that we did which consists with old time definition but as explained to me by one ruler of an online rexing net what we considered rexing is simply another form of dance skating & not rexing. So in obtaining conflicting definition from the old timers, even through this site they conflict I am still searching for the correct term for the way we used to skate. Was it rexing in a modified & updated form or was it simply another form of dance skating & if so, what would be the name of it for I have not found a term to define it accurately as of yet so it can be related in words to others.

  • I used to be a Rexer out of the Skate Ranch in Santa Ana from 1970 thru 76. Member of the American Rexers, Vequero and Apache Rexers. Ranch Rollers from Skate Ranch. Competed in San Diego, LA and OC. I have to say it was one of the best times of my life. Anyone remember Woody and Cricket, Pattie Doval, Danny Ledkee?, Dawn Carmody, Ronny and Connie Blackmore? Tinker, Rick Cowan. Many,many more. Skating from Orange to Las Vegas for MDA? I remember all the clubs from SD to LA and Bakersfield. Feel free to contact me at rees429@verizon.net

  • I have decided to add my 2 cents worth on this subject. I believe Roller Skating has an identity problem. I would like to fix this, but not sure how to go about it. “Rexing” is a style of backward skating. It should have that respect. The problem is that the “national” organization, that once had money behind it determined they wanted the term, “freestyle” which their style does not represent at all. This same organization then developed a style and called it “jam” skating which doesn’t represent any kind of free style that developed over many years by “rink skaters”. For most of us, the term “hot dogging” is the only term available. I am not a Jam skater, and although I love to skate backwards, don’t consider myself a “rexer”. I have made this same comment on several sites, and get all kinds of comments. Any comments are appreciated, I’m just someone who has hated to see rinks close, and who hates the conflicts (verbal) between different styles that has actually helped bring down the perception of roller skating. I love the art and sport of roller skating.

  • I skated at Palisade Gardens when I was in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. Johnny Wright’s (owner) grand daughter (Carla Taylor) went to school with me. It was because of knowing her that I wanted to learn to rex. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen until 9 years later when I joined a rexing club with a friend from college.

    Because I knew Carla, I got a chance to see things and skaters a little differently than your average session skater. Carla, her mother (Suzie Baltizar), and many of her friends were “club” skaters. They had dance and/or freestyle skating instruction and was a way of life for them. They participated in sanctioned skating competitions and when these types of skaters decided they wanted have a little fun, they would rex. These rexers had no “bounce”, made it look effortless, and brought some style that would not have happened any other way. Johnny was a businessman, and rexing initially was good for his business. The problem was that Midge and Opal (major skating instructors) could only see rexing as something that came in off the streets. Sure, they had double the students wanting to learn how to skate, just not the formalized skating that they trained all their lives doing well, and hoping to be able to groom an excellent skater into tomorrow’s dance sensation. Opal’s kids (Scott and Robyn) were already national champions in dance and pairs, and rexing soon followed for them. Opal transitioned right along with her kids, but Midge didn’t want anything to do with rexing and everyone knew it. This created two classes of rexers; those that came from formalized skating, and those that didn’t (no matter how good they were).

    Now throw in Carla, Theresa (Carla’s cousin), Suzie and her boyfriend (Flip Baltizar), and any number of other skaters from who cares where, and you had a Friday or Saturday night session that was legendary. These people could skate, they had soul, and they held court there while everyone else tried to belong.

    It took the help and love of rexing from Monty and Ginger Lewis to keep it alive for as many years as they did, but a huge part went when Monty died, and the remainder of it followed when Ginger passed away. Looking back it’s easy for me to understand that rexing actually helped keep the rinks open longer than many realize, but it came with a dual edge and the “rink rat” was born. Gary Stang and Monty Jr. can tell you about all the rest of it…and perhaps even George Avecito! One thing for certain, we all had some really great times and I wouldn’t change any of it.

  • This is a reply to astecker’s Letter above,
    After reading your Letter, and wishinig that you had wrote this Letter (Before) the Month of September, 2010. This was the Month, that my (IDOL) Rexing Fellow, David Duffey, of my Favorite (Rexing Couple), from the Palisade Gardens Skating Rink, during the 1950’s, had passed away because of a Cancer that he had been battling for quite a long time.

    I was so fortunate to have met David again, through this Double Tongued Dictionary, and Liz Kelley. After my hearing from Liz, the very first time on April 23rd, 2009, and exchanging Letters with Her, Liz, started telling me, Ollie, get in touch with Duffey, he was skating the same time you were skating at the Palisade Gardens Skating Rink.

    After my contacting David, through Letters, and asking David a lot of questions over the next (Two Months), it turns out, that this David Duffey, is the very same Fellow as my (IDOL) Rexing Fellow was. And because of Liz Kelley, David, (My Wife) Sandy, and myself, we made a trip to visit with Liz, for (Two Weeks) in San Diego, in February of 2010.

    David, at this time was involved with boarding Horses, at his Ranch Home in Minden, Nevada, and Sandy, and myself had been involved with taking Trail Rides out, for the past 21 Years, so we all knew about the proper care of Horses. David, was battling this blasted Cancer at this time, so Sandy, and I took the entire Month of Febuary off, and helped David, take care of his boarded Horses for (Two Weeks), and we three visited with Liz, for (Two Weeks) in February of 2010. David, had a Neighbor just across the road from him, who tended the Horses, for the Two Weeks that We Three were visiting with Liz, in San Diego, so this worked out very nicelly.

    David, had been off his skates for many Years, but started skating again, after I had started exchanging Letters with him. By February of 2010, David, was still just a (Shell) of his old self on roller skates, but David was skating again when we Three visited with Liz, in February of 2010.

    Your Letter that you wrote above, I am assuming that you were most probably one of those younger Kids at the Palisade Gardens Skating Rink, in the 1950’s, who were watching the Rexing Couples skate at the Gardens. And when you were a little bit older, and had joined one of the Rexing Clubs, I’m very sure as you said above in your Letter, (One Thing For Certain, We All Had Some Really Great Times And I Woundn’t Change Any Of It).

    Your Words in your Letter also, (Whille Everyone Else Tried To Belong).

    I never considered my Rexing Partner, Deanna, and myself, as part of those (15 Or So) very beautiful Rexing Couples, at the Palisade Gardens Skating Rink, during the 1950’s. The very best I thought that Deanna, and I were, was like (Two Leaves) swirling around a pile of Leaves in the Fall, just hoping to be able to join this pile of Leaves soon.

    David, made me feel very good though back in 2010, when he said to me, Deanna, and you, were part of our Rexing group. This was very nice to hear David say, but still, Deanna, and I had a ways to go yet, before becoming a part of the Rexing Couple’s in that group of Rexing Couple’s from the 1950’s. It would have been very nice though, had David lived to read your Letter that you posted above. I thank you, for writing such a Letter.

    And in closing this comment, I’m so very lucky to have such a Wife, as my Sandy, who doesn’t mind my still Rexing with (Three) such beautiful Girls as Liz Kelley, from Tucson, Arizona, and Mary Jane Struck, from Chicago, and Terra LuAnne Heggemeier, Strange, from Du Quoin, Illinois.

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