‘Rollerblade King’ skates for the crowd in Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY — On weekday mornings, Reid Cornish fills his water bottle, grabs his headphones and in-line skates and sets out.

After a quick walk from his parents’ apartment in downtown Salt Lake City, he reaches his parking lot of choice, turns on “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack and begins skating.

“I’m like a figure skater,” Cornish, 34, said. “I picture myself on ice doing dance moves from musicals.”

His choreography supports that claim. Sometimes he’ll sing out loud with Hugh Jackman. Sometimes he’ll spin or snap, stomp or clap. And then there’s the occasional glide mixed with a touch of acrobatics.

Some days Cornish skates for hours — it just depends on how he’s feeling. Summer heat doesn’t stop him; neither does a cold winter morning.

Cornish, who has Down syndrome, said rollerblading makes him feel like he’s flying through the air.

“It keeps me limber,” he said above the morning traffic. “Skating makes me happy all the time.”

‘It makes me happy’

It seems Cornish always has a smile on his face — except in a focused moment of skating — and his contagious grins and performances have made him a staple for employees like Londyn LeCheminant arriving to work downtown.

In fact, LeCheminant enjoys Cornish’s morning routine so much she recorded it on her phone so she could show her husband.

“It makes me happy, and I feel like every time I walk by and I see him, he’s so (joyful), moving around and everything, it just makes me happy,” she said. “It makes my morning. I always look forward to seeing him when I walk to work.”

As passersby wave and shout hello, Cornish, clad in a pale yellow shirt and gray sweatpants, notes that he has friends scattered throughout the city.

“It makes me feel so blessed,” he said of the people who stop to talk with him. “They tell me, ‘I love this.’”

Cornish, whose father, Devn Cornish, is a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was born in San Antonio. He lived in San Diego, Atlanta and the Dominican Republic twice before moving to Salt Lake City two years ago.

It didn’t take long for Reid Cornish to locate a spot for his morning skating routine.

“He used to just skate in our garage in Atlanta,” recalled his mother, Elaine Cornish. “He’d take music out there and skate in circles and make up tricks with turns and cartwheels.”

Audience watches

The skater’s practicing led him to recruit family and neighbors to be his audience — something he continues today, as he’ll often pass out flyers inviting people to come watch him skate in Salt Lake City.

“He’d put on skating shows for people and got a lot of attention and applause, which he liked, and kept doing it,” Elaine Cornish said of her avid skater son, her youngest of six. “It’s been part of his life for a long time.”

When Reid Cornish lived in the Dominican Republic while his dad was in the Caribbean Area presidency for The Church of Jesus Christ, he would skate in front of the Santo Domingo Missionary Training Center.

“It’s good recreation for him; he likes to be busy,” Elaine Cornish said. “He likes to be in and out of the house doing active things.”

Occasionally, that constant activity gets Reid Cornish into trouble — he once had an accident while skating and broke his ankle, which kept him off his skates for a few months.

“I do stretches before I start now so that doesn’t happen again,” he said.

‘A cheerful spirit’

When he’s not skating to his heart’s content, Reid Cornish, who began skating when he was 6, loves to play volleyball and basketball. He also boasts a collection of more than 300 movies — musicals are his favorite. Twice a week, Reid Cornish volunteers at the Salt Lake Temple, and he likes to share the story of when he saw President Russell M. Nelson, who told him that he was his best buddy.

“Reid’s quite sociable and loves to make people happy,” Elaine Cornish said. “He calls that his mission in life.”

For commuters and friends, Reid Cornish’s performances are quite possibly the greatest morning show in Salt Lake City.

“He gets a lot of satisfaction from it,” Elaine Cornish said. “He knows he’s good at it and gets a lot of praise. He always dreams of performing in front of big audiences.”

Reid Cornish, who dubbed himself the Rollerblade King, knows his passion for skating also doubles as a way to brighten other people’s days.

“I’m a cheerful spirit,” he said. “I have a great gift of sharing cheer to everybody by doing this.”

News Videos
Report knocks Las Vegas for ozone, but local officials cite improvement
The American Lung Association says Las Vegas has some of the highest ozone levels in the nation, but Clark County air quality officials insist the community is improving when it comes to the smog-causing pollutant. (Michael Quine)
It's Rattlesnake Season
As temperatures start to rise in the Las Vegas area, people are heading outside for various activities. Possibly hiking and maybe with a dog. People and pets aren’t the only creatures coming out of their winter homes – so are snakes. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NHP Trooper sustains dog bite during rescue
A small dog loose on the freeway bites the hand of an Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper that saved it.
Henderson fails to investigate the drug overdose death of one of its officers
Henderson Police Department's internal affairs did not investigate the 2014 drug overdose death of an officer. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NHP trooper and good Samaritans save a life
Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Jacob Fisher and a group of good Samaritans performed lifesaving CPR on a driver suffering a heart attack last month in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Syphilis Awareness Day
Dr. Joe Iser, District Health Officer of the Southern Nevada Health District, discusses the effects and issues with syphilis in the Las Vegas community on April 16, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas diocese IDs 33 ‘credibly accused’ of sexual abuse
The Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas released a list on Friday of 33 “credibly accused” of sexual abuse who at some point served in the Las Vegas Valley. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CCSD Arbor View meeting
The Clark County School Board hears from the public about racial tensions at Arbor View High School on Thursday, April 11, 2019. (Amelia Park-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Parents of autistic student battle Clark County School District
Joshua and Britten Wahrer, parents of a special education student, are battling the Clark County School District for the right to equip their son with a monitoring device. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Metro homeless outreach a shift in strategy
Lt. Joe Sobrio discusses the new homeless outreach team for Metro. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prayer for Opportunity Scholarships
Las Vegas students and adults hold a prayer meeting about the Opportunity Scholarship program on Thursday, April 4, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Solar scams on the rise in Nevada
As Nevada’s solar industry has made a resurgence, solar scammers have followed suit.
Clark County schools and the late bus issue
Year after year, late or no-show buses in the Clark County School District draw the ire of parents and students alike. One year the problem even prompted a parent to crack a school bus window in frustration over a late drop-off. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
I-15 southbound congested near Primm Sunday afternoon
Drivers heading toward California on Interstate 15 should expect heavy traffic and a 13-mile backup Sunday afternoon.
Learning lifesaving skills in advance of fire season
Students and firefighters attend a training session at Fire Station 80 in Blue Diamond, Saturday, March 30, 2019. The training session helps volunteer firefighters obtain necessary annual certification to work wild fires.
Car restoration behind prison walls
Inmates share their experiences working for the Southern Desert Correctional Center auto body shop in Indian Springs while learning valuable skills.
Parent remembers Las Vegas boy killed by car
People visit a memorial at the intersection of South Fort Apache Road and West Arby Avenue at at Faiss Park Wednesday, March 27, 2019, where Jonathan Smith, 12, of Las Vegas, died after he was struck while crossing Fort Apache Monday. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Couple left with surprise medical bills after visit to the hospital
Michael Pistiner took his wife, Marta Menendez-Pistiner, to the ER in January after she fainted twice and appeared to be having a seizure. Despite paying $856 monthly for health insurance, the two, self-employed musicians, were stuck with more than $5,700 in hospital and doctor bills after than hour-and-a-half visit. Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Las Vegas police brief the media on fatal crash
Metropolitan Police Department Capt. Nick Farese addresses the media about a car accident at South Fort Apache Road and West Arby Avenue that left one minor dead and one hospitalized on Monday, March 25, 2019. (Mike Shoro/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Arbor View parent talks about racial issues at the school
Lawanna Calhoun, a former Arbor View parent, talks about the state of the school. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jim Foley talks about 30 years of living HIV-positive
Jim Foley, who was diagnosed as HIV positive 30 years ago, talks at his home in Las Vegas on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Traffic Slows to a Crawl on I-15S Near Primm
Traffic slowed to a crawl around 2:30p Sunday, on I-15S near Primm, Nevada.
Homeless residents speak about safety
The homeless residents living at the corner of Owens Ave. and Main St. reflect on how they feel about their safety after two homeless men died, one was hit crossing the street and another was beat to death by another homeless man. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
CCSD Superintendent address alleged racially motivated threats at Arbor View
CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara gives update on alleged racially motivated threats against Arbor View High School, and says such threats will not be tolerated. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Super Bloom Near Lake Elsinore, California
Crowds packed the hills near Lake Elsinore on Saturday to capture a rare selfie amidst the super bloom of poppies turning the landscape purple. The super bloom was caused by the larger rainfall this year. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fiery accident in Las Vegas
A three-car accident on Spring Mountain Road around 6:30 pm on Monday night
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Stardust implosion anniversary
Twelve years ago today, the Stardust Resort and Casino was imploded. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Lawsuits filed against security contractors at Nevada National Security Site
Two lawsuits were filed today against the current and former government security contractors for the Nevada National Security Site, one on behalf of Jennifer Glover who alleges sexual discrimination and assault and the other on behalf of Gus Redding who alleges retaliation after he gave statements supporting Glover’s claims. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New housing option helps Las Vegas moms keep kids while kicking drugs
WestCare Nevada Women and Children’s Campus in Las Vegas has added a new transitional housing wing for women who have completed the inpatient treatment at the behavioral health nonprofit to help them as they go through outpatient treatment, shore up their finances and prepare to secure long-term housing. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing