These vintage photos show Tampa’s rowdy roller rink scene of 1972


In September 1972, photographer Bill Yates was wandering the back roads of Florida when he stumbled across the Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink in Hillsborough County.

Every weekend, for the next 7 months, Yates documented the skaters, the go-go girls, the booze, the humidity, everything. He shot over 600 photographs, but the negatives were packed away and forgotten when Yates moved to Providence to go to school at the Rhode Island School of Design.

40 years later, the photographer unearthed this amazing time capsule.

The traveling exhibit, entitled Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink, was selected in the Photolucida Critical Mass as a top 50 portfolio of 2013, and you can now purchase prints and learn more about Yate's time in Hillsborough County on his site.

All photos by Bill Yates, courtesy of the Ogden Museum.