Mo Sanders comes by his love of roller-skating honestly. His dad, a firefighter nicknamed Cowboy, traversed their town of Tacoma, Washington, via quad skates, even wheeling home from the bar if he had had one too many. According to Mo, roller-skating was “just what you did” in the Northwest in the 1970s and ’80s.
“Growing up, roller-skating was always the cheap babysitter,” he says. “It was like give a kid 10 bucks and drop him off at the rink at 6 pm, then pick him up at 12:30 am, and then your parents had six hours of free time.”
Since those early days of freedom at the rink, Mo has had a storied career in the skating world. He has competed in the X Games as an aggressive in-line skater, starred as a jammer on the roller derby TV show RollerJam, coached derby leagues in Washington and Texas, skated in blockbuster films, and designed quads for the biggest names in the business. In November 2020, he added roller skate purveyor to that list. He opened Good Foot Skates, named for the James Brown song, in Oak Cliff. Part of his start-up capital came from selling some of his sneaker collection.
Sitting in Mo’s shop surrounded by a rainbow of skates straight out of Xanadu, it’s hard not to get nostalgic for simpler times, where evenings spent at the roller rink skating to Prince or Bon Jovi resulted in a meet cute. According to Mo, that nostalgia started driving skate sales during the pandemic.
“You couldn’t do anything during the pandemic,” he says. “You couldn’t go to the gym or go work out, and so it was like, ‘OK, we can walk or ride bikes, or we could roller skate. Remember we used to roller-skate?’ And then it was just an explosion!”
Mo makes the process easy, fitting each skate to the person. Comfortable and sturdy skates start at about $100, and Mo suggests sticking with reputable brands such as Riedell or Von Merlin. His advice to new skaters and people taking it back up is the same: practice. “Look for a smooth place like tennis courts or basketball courts,” he says. Of course, you can always hit up a local rink, where you might catch Mo in action. He advises Gen Xers to be careful and pad up. “That floor is undefeated!” he says. “You will lose!”
What Makes Mo So Money
- Mo’s roller derby name is Quadzilla LK, an homage to his love of Japanese pop culture and Lanny, the owner of the rink he grew up skating in. He was often called “Lanny’s Kid,” hence the LK.
- Fans of the 2007 film Enchanted will remember Mo as a featured skater during the musical number set in Central Park, “That’s How You Know.”
- Mo performed alongside Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in a 2017 commercial for Nike’s Alpha Menace cleats.
- Forum Roller World in Grand Prairie, Texas Skatium in Garland, and Thunderbird in Plano are among Mo’s favorite local rinks.
- Mo skates for the Dallas Derby Devils on the Death Row Rumblers team.