DOTHAN, Ala. — Coin drops. Dime drops. Toe spins. Outside breaks. A rollback split into a four-arm pike.

They’re all among the moves Josh Tucker and Lydell “Rocket” Dyess are practicing for the Sonic Skate Off competition, along with one other.

“Um . we call this one ‘me jumping over Rocket,'” Tucker said.

Tucker and Dyess, both employees of the east Dothan Sonic franchise, will compete against other skating Sonic carhops in the event, which will be held in Oklahoma City on Sept. 13. In the event, carhops skate through an obstacle course to deliver a meal to a customer. Points are awarded for successful completion of the course and execution of trick moves. They also compete in a freestyle competition.

This will be Tucker’s third trip to the annual competition and Dyess’s second. The two became friends at last year’s skate off. Dyess was living in Kentucky at the time, but a few months after the event, he moved to Dothan and took a job at the local Sonic to learn from Tucker.

“I felt like he could help take me to the next level,” said Dyess, 23.

Tucker started skating at the age of 2 under his grandfather’s tutelage and continued skating into his teen years.

“It allows me to express myself in a way that words can’t,” he said. “Skating is who I am.”

Getting a job at Sonic allowed him to combine his passion for skating and his gregarious personality to earn a living. It was his dream job then, and six years later, he still loves his work.

“Some folks call this a high school job, but I call it a career,” said Tucker, 24.

That’s not to say that Tucker hasn’t made any progress in his time at Sonic. He’s currently an assistant manager at the east Dothan location, and will soon enter the company’s manager in training program.

Dyess’s skating story is a little different. Dyess had never touched a pair of skates in his life until he started work at Sonic.

“The manager asked me if I knew how to skate, and I was going to say whatever I had to say to get a job, so I said yes,” he said.

It quickly became obvious that Dyess didn’t know how to skate, but his manager was nice enough to let him take his skates home to practice. Dyess quickly mastered the basics and moved on to advanced skills.

“It’s something I didn’t know I was going to be good at,” he said. “It combines my love for dancing with wheels.”

Sonic Drive-In has more than 3,500 locations nationwide.


Information from: The Dothan Eagle, http://www.dothaneagle.com

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JIM COOK
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