Six-year-old Kate Rombach says her father, Dave, is the best dad in the world.
Dave converted part of the backyard of his family's home on the south end of Tiffin into an ice skating rink measuring 40 feet by 30 feet. Kate said she goes out to the rink a lot.
"It's awesome," she said about the rink and skating.
PHOTOS BY JILL GOSCHE
Children skate on the ink rink in the backyard of Dave and Lori Rombach Tuesday.
When Dave was a child, he used a shoe polish can as a hockey puck while playing in a backyard on Clay Street. He made his children a rink last year by trial and error, but improved it this year.
He did some research online about how to make one.
"One thing led to another," he said.
Dave's project started after Thanksgiving. Brian Coleman, owner of Sticks Lawn & Landscape LLC, leveled the surface, a task Dave said was the biggest challenge of the project.
Dave put PVC pipes together to make the frame, put down a tarp, filled the pit with water and prayed for cold weather.
Tuesday, Dave said he finished making the rink the second week of December, and the family had been skating for two weeks.
"It's been every night for two weeks. ... Hopefully we have some more," he said.
His work continues after the children go to bed.
Every night, he shovels off ice shavings and puts down a layer of water with a homemade Zamboni, which is made of piping and hooks up to a hose. Holes in the piping spray water onto the surface.
Several weeks of cold weather helped the rink be ready for usage several weeks ahead of schedule.
"I was anticipating January or February," he said.
Dave and his wife, Lori, said the rink turned out better than they expected.
"Last year, it was bumpier," Lori said.
Four chairs are lined up along the side of the rink, providing a place to sit for those wanting to watch the children skate. Lights on the house enable the children to stay out and skate when it gets dark. Christmas music plays as they skate.
Prior to Christmas break, the Rombach children skated on the rink before and after school.
A neighbor, friends, classmates and family come to skate on the rink with the Rombach family, which also includes 9-year-old Aaron, 4-year-old Jake and 18-month-old Megan.
Dave said the family got equipment from garage sales over the summer.
"We have plenty of skates in there," Lori said.
Kate said she skates, spins and dances. She said her favorite part of having the rink is skating backwards, and her aunt Lisa Rombach-Wurm, a person she described as a "professional," taught her to skate backwards and do spins.
"(Kate's) really getting pretty good," Dave said.