Zach Stoppelmoor Found His Skates

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Get ready to feel old: the little kid in front of John Schulte in this photo just graduate from high school.  Zach Stoppelmoor was an inline prodigy back then, but is now a high school grad training for the junior world inline championships.  A Des Moines news station took a break from measuring corn stalks to cover his inline development.  They tell of his removing his skate bag from his truck as he prepared to wash it, and then driving off without the bag. The bag was subsequently turned into the police after the new story reported surveillance cameras had a clear view of the license plate of the driver that left with his bag.  Below is part of the KCCI feature story on Stoppelmoor and a link to the entire article here.


Zach Stoppelmoor has been reunited with his speed skates after the special set was turned in to West Des Moines police Wednesday night.


A West Des Moines teenager hoping to make a mark for himself on the world stage of inline speed skating has hit a speed bump on his journey.

Zach Stoppelmoor just graduated from Valley High School, and the first thing on to-do list this summer was to qualify for the junior world inline speed skating championships, which would be hard to do without his skates.

“I wasn’t great when I started; I was pretty bad but just practiced,” said the 18-year-old Stoppelmoor, who has been an inline speed skater since he was 7.

Each training session can last several hours.

“I train six days a week doing bike riding, skating and plyometrics,” he said.

Stoppelmoor has traveled the world, including Germany, Italy and France. He easily won a race earlier this year in Seattle. But his ultimate goal is a world junior championship this summer in China, but to do that, he has to first qualify for the U.S. world junior team in two weeks in Colorado.

Everything was on schedule until he decided to wash his pickup truck late Friday at a West Des Moines car wash. He took out his equipment bag so it wouldn’t get wet and drove away without it.

Admittedly, it “felt kind of dumb.”

The car wash surveillance cameras caught the man who took the bag an hour later.

“He didn’t even look around at all,” said Lucas Cross, of Ultimate Car Wash. “He just washed his car, walked out, picked up the bag, threw it in his car and left.”

Stoppelmoor’s $1,500 custom-molded skates were attached to that bag, so he’s using regular skates to practice. But he said without his custom skates that were molded to his feet specifically, his chances of qualifying in Colorado are not good.

“I’ve been able to try out for the world team every year since I was 15, and this year’s my best shot. So it’d be pretty upsetting if I couldn’t go,” Stoppelmoor said.

Car wash management said they were able to get what they believe is the correct license plate, so the family’s next step is to go to police and see if they can track down the owner of the car.