The Enduring Legacy of “Trunnis Goggins Sr.” – Skateland Founder and Community Icon!

Trunnis Goggins Sr.

Discover the incredible life and impact of Trunnis Goggins Sr., the charismatic founder of Skateland in Buffalo, New York. 

Trunnis Goggins Sr. (1934–2013) is a Skateland founder who shaped Buffalo’s culture. Complex relationship with son David, a Navy SEAL and ultramarathon runner.

Uncover the story of his roller-skating empire, his unique personality, and his complex relationship with his son, David Goggins.

Unveiling the Life and Legacy of trunnis goggins jr

Trunnis Goggins Sr., born on January 19th, 1934, etched his name into the cultural fabric of Buffalo, New York, as the visionary founder of Skateland. A roller-skating haven that transcended its primary purpose, Skateland became a community landmark under Goggins’ stewardship. 

Beyond the roller rink, Goggins’s influence extended into the realm of nightlife, bringing iconic performers like Gladys Knight, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, and Dionne Warwick to the stage.

The Birth of Skateland– More than Just a Roller Rink

In the early 1960s, Goggins opened the doors of Skateland at 1300 Main St., providing a space where families and friends could gather for joyful skating sessions. 

His bizarre personality and love for old-school records turned Skateland into more than just a roller rink—it became a community hub where memories were made.

The Vermillion Room– Where Nightlife and Roller Skating Converged!

One of Goggins’s innovative touches was the addition of the Vermillion Room, a nightclub situated above the roller-skating rink. This unique space invited patrons to “go up to get down,” creating an unforgettable experience that blended roller skating with the vibrant energy of a nightclub.

Goggins himself was a fixture at the club, engaging with customers over glasses of J&B Scotch Whisky, spinning tales, and sharing his philosophical insights.

Goggins’ Impact Beyond Buffalo

While Goggins made significant contributions to his local community, his influence reached far beyond Buffalo. 

His keen business understanding and passion for entertainment left an indelible mark on the roller-skating industry, making Skateland a destination for both locals and visitors seeking a unique and lively experience.

The Man Behind the Skates– Trunnis Goggins Sr.

A Life of Hustle and Success

Growing up in the Cold Spring section of Buffalo, Goggins was one of 12 children. His journey began at the age of 9 when he started shining shoes, eventually working in a chicken factory and changing tires in an auto repair shop during his spare time. In his early 20s, he drove trucks, delivering everything from chickens to Coca-Cola.

Roller Skating Empire and Nightclub Ventures

trunnis jr Goggins’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to open not only Skateland on Main Street but also the New Skateland Arena on East Ferry Street. 

The second floor housed the Vermillion Room, showcasing his innovative approach to blending roller skating with nightlife entertainment. His success in these ventures showcased his brilliance as a businessman.

A Passion for Cars and Boxing

Beyond his entrepreneurial endeavors, Goggins had a love for sports cars and classic foreign cars. His passion extended to the sport of boxing, demonstrating a diverse range of interests that contributed to his charismatic personality.

A Challenging Father-Son Dynamic– Trunnis and David Goggins!

Strict Upbringing and Work Ethics

While Trunnis Goggins Sr. was a beloved figure in the community, his relationship with his son, David Goggins, was complex. 

David, a former United States Air Force Tactical Air Control Party graduate, Army Ranger School alumnus, and Navy SEAL, revealed the challenges of his strict upbringing in his book, “Can’t Hurt Me.” 

The book provides an in-depth look at the demanding hours David and his brother spent working at Skateland during their youth.

Tough Love and Lasting Impact

Trunnis’s parenting style, characterized by tough love and demanding physical and mental challenges, created a rift between father and son. 

However, the challenges presented by Trunnis became a cornerstone of David’s incredible achievements. Despite the difficulties, David went on to become a Navy SEAL and achieved remarkable feats in ultramarathon running.

Reconciliation and Closure

The strained relationship saw a turn when David, after many years of estrangement, revisited his father shortly before Trunnis’s death in 2013. 

This visit brought closure and allowed David to move forward, acknowledging the impact of his father’s challenges and the role they played in shaping his extraordinary life.

Confronting the Past!

In 2018, David Goggins stood on the stage at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention, reflecting on his journey from a challenging past to receiving the Americanism Award. 

Born into poverty and facing discrimination as a black child in a racially charged environment, Goggins attended the same school as the children of the Ku Klux Klan. His early life was marked by adversity, but it was his own realization, at the age of 24, that he was broken and would quit when faced with difficulties that set the stage for change.

At the heart of Goggins’ transformation was a deep introspection during the event. He recognized a defense mechanism he had developed – going numb in the face of hardships – a survival tactic from the abuse inflicted by his father, Trunnis. 

Even after escaping the abuse, this numbness lingered. Goggins decided to confront his past, making a journey back to New York to face his father after 12 years.

This courageous act revealed a father who was kinder than remembered and prompted Goggins to take responsibility for his own change. 

His decision that day, driving away from his father’s home, was to live every day with a sense of urgency.

The Golden Hour– Applying Emergency Services Principles to Life!

Having spent 15 years in emergency medical services, Goggins drew a parallel between the critical first 60 minutes after an accident, known as the golden hour, and the urgency needed in life. 

The principles of addressing airway, breathing, and circulation during emergencies translated into a philosophy of focusing on what one can control amid life’s adversities. 

Goggins realized that distractions, like his trip to see his father, often hinder progress. Adversity, he emphasized, should not distract but propel us forward with urgency.

No Waste – Utilizing Every Experience!

For Goggins, Christmas held no special significance due to his challenging upbringing. Yet, on the day after Christmas in 2018, he had breakfast with his brother Trunnis Jr., whom he hadn’t seen in three years. 

Their relationship was strained, with Trunnis Jr. often denying the family’s traumatic past. Goggins reflected on his unconventional decision to self-publish his first book, “Can’t Hurt Me,” against the expectations of major publishing houses. Despite disappointing others, this decision proved right for him.

Later that night, Goggins experienced a cardiac episode, reinforcing the idea of not wasting a moment. Raised in poverty, he learned to utilize everything. Goggins advocated for writing down and sharing one’s traumas as a means of healing. By reusing the pain, individuals can empower themselves and others, preventing the dark chapters from going to waste.

Mental Limits– Overcoming the Mind’s Barriers!

After the release of “Can’t Hurt Me,” Goggins found himself thrust into the public eye. Despite not seeking attention, his journey of self-improvement laid bare his insecurities and flaws. 

Training to qualify for the Navy SEAL program, he realized that the real obstacle was his mind. Two months after a health scare, Goggins received an unexpected request to run the Leadville Trail 100, a challenging mountain race, for charity.

Despite logical reasons to decline, Goggins accepted, highlighting the importance of a prepared mind. Training intensively, even at high altitudes, he faced physical challenges. However, his determination led him to finish the race in under 24 hours. 

Goggins emphasized the need to push mental limits daily, drawing inspiration from his grandfather’s disciplined approach and advocating for tough preparation for life’s challenges.

Humility over Pity– Embracing a Growth Mindset

Goggins concluded by emphasizing the value of discipline, humility, and hunger for personal growth. His post-race breakdown, reminiscent of his childhood chores assigned by his grandfather, served as proof of giving his all. 

He cautioned against self-pity, urging individuals to appreciate what they have while staying hungry for more. Goggins highlighted the harm of depending on pity, as it keeps one stuck in a toxic cycle. Instead, he encouraged humility and a relentless pursuit of potential.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What was Trunnis Goggins Sr.’s most significant contribution to the community?

Trunnis Goggins Sr.’s most significant contribution was the founding of Skateland, an iconic roller-skating rink in Buffalo that transcended its primary purpose, becoming a community hub and entertainment destination.

2. How did Trunnis Goggins Sr. impact the roller-skating industry?

Goggins revolutionized the roller-skating industry by blending it with nightlife entertainment. The addition of the Vermillion Room, a nightclub above Skateland, showcased his innovative approach and left a lasting impact on the industry.

3. What challenges did David Goggins face in his upbringing?

David Goggins faced a strict upbringing characterized by long hours of work at Skateland during his youth. His father’s tough love and demanding nature created challenges that became a driving force behind David’s remarkable achievements.

4. How did Trunnis Goggins Sr. and David Goggins reconcile?

Despite a strained relationship, David Goggins revisited his father shortly before Trunnis’s death in 2013. This visit brought closure and allowed David to move forward, recognizing the impact of his father’s challenges on his life.


Trunnis Goggins Sr.’s life—is a blend of Creativity, community impact, and family complexity. His Skateland legacy lives on. David Goggins’ achievements reflect the stable influence of his challenging father.

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