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Burger Boy and Aroostook Roller Derby come together for 1950s car hop

CARIBOU, Maine — Burger Boy, a popular Caribou restaurant that serves ice cream and homemade meals, is in its second summer of hosting a weekly car hop in which members of the Aroostook Roller Derby strap on their skates and serve up food to guests in their cars. 

Burger Boy owner Spenser Ouellette started the tradition last year as an homage to 1950s drive-ins, and has teamed up with the local derby members ever since.

“We do it every Monday from 4 to 8 p.m.,” he said. “It ends when I decide to close Burger Boy for the year, it might be the end of October or the beginning of November, so there is still plenty of time for people to come down on car hop Mondays.”

Ouellette said the restaurant will host the event as long as the weather permits, and even though Caribou had a brief but severe downpour in the early afternoon, it was over in time for the weekly event.

“The rain was really coming down around 3,” he said, “but it looks like we’re all set now.”

In addition to being a throwback to a bygone era, each car hop raises money for a local organization. This Monday, Ouellette said they raised money for Aroostook Roller Derby, which is a non-profit organization.

Aroostook Roller Derby coach Jay Olson said the money will help the team rent their practice space and pay for travel to bouts in Fredericton and Moncton.

“We’re non-profit, so we don’t have much money coming in and try to raise it ourselves,” said Olson. “Spenser helps us out and gives us a place to raise money. Burger Boy became out sponsor last year so we’re going to keep him going with us because we work well together.”

Last year, the car hop raised money for the Caribou Fire Department and this year organizers plan on raising funds to assist the department with the restoration of an antique fire truck. Ouellette said they have another fundraiser lined up for the Caribou High School Class of 2019 and, looking ahead, the restaurant is looking for a couple more non-profit organizations to get involved before the year ends.

The car hop is a win-win for both Burger Boy and the Aroostook Roller Derby, as it gives Ouellette more business and helps the derby team with funding and gives members an opportunity to practice their skills.

While heat advisories were posted for Aroostook County for Aug. 6, Olson said the weather didn’t faze them.

“Tonight has been one of our better nights,” he said. “Everyone loves the car hop, and we like it because we get to put our skates on and get our name out there.”

Olson said that, even on busy nights, the team never gets overwhelmed by multiple orders.

“We’ve got a pretty good system,” he said. “We’ve been doing this for two years. Some girls who have experience with waitressing will take orders, and others will go out and talk to customers to keep their mind off waiting for food, then others will take their tray when they’re done.”

Even as customers drive off, Olson said skaters will roll by, wave and say, “Thank you and have a good night.”

Ouellette said that some of his employees will strap on their roller blades during busy nights, and that even he will occasionally zip around on his hoverboard.

Janet Bosse, a member of roller derby who goes by the pseudonym “Sprockett,” agreed that she and other derby members are “pretty on top of things’ and that there are “enough girls here to help out and jump in whenever needed.”

She said her name came from her son’s interest in kart racing, which he has been doing for the last five years, and that one of her jobs is to change out the sprockets in the vehicles. She soon received the nickname and from there, “it just kind of stuck.”

Bosse said the car hop is “definitely a unique experience,” particularly for Aroostook County, and that she and the team enjoy the opportunity to get out and skate, and raise money for their organization.

“Come on down to Burger Boy,” she said. “Get some ice cream and get some supper; we’re here to help.”

Anyone interested in learning more about Aroostook Roller Derby can check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AroostookRollerDerby/.

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