Ferry man to appear on ‘America’s Got Talent’

MARTINS FERRY — A Martins Ferry man is getting a chance to show off his roller skating skills on a nationally televised stage.

Robert Kies, who works in maintenance for Martins Ferry City Schools, is slated to appear on America’s Got Talent, set to air Tuesday on NBC. Marian Klier, secretary for the Martins Ferry Chamber of Commerce, said Kies has worked in the school district for years, including when her own children attended. She said he also helps the chamber clean up after its annual Fourth of July fireworks displays held on the school’s property.

On his Facebook page, Kies calls himself “Disco Bob” and offers “roller dancing for your entertainment.”

On Friday, Kies said he auditioned for the show during an open call audition in Cincinnati at the Duke Energy Center. He said the audition process took several hours, but it was worth it. He said he made it into the first round of competition, set to appear Tuesday. However, he cannot talk about what happens afterward.

“You will just have to watch and see how I did,” Kies said.

Kies described the experience of meeting the celebrity judges, including host Tyra Banks, as “surreal.”

“They were very nice people. I met Tyra Banks. She is really nice. I jumped when I was standing out there waiting for her come out. She was pretty cool,” Kies said.

Kies said before he left for Pasadena, Calif., which is where the show was taped, he received a huge sendoff from the teachers and students in the school district, where he has worked for the past 25 years. He said some of the faculty even gave him some money to take on the trip. The show paid for his flight and hotel, but he had to purchase his own meals during the three-day trip.

“It will be an experience I won’t forget for the rest of my life,” Kies said. “I’ll never forget it.”

Kies said he’s been roller skating for 30 years and skate dancing for the past 10. He said he does it because it’s fun, but he was hoping by appearing on the show he could get some exposure and turn into an entertainment business.

“It makes me happy and it’s good exercise. I just love to entertain. I love to go to rinks and have fun with it. I skate mostly in the middle. A lot of the kids go crazy over what I do, and the adults do, too. I get a lot of compliments. I enjoy it a lot,” he said.

Kies is a 1990 graduate of Martins Ferry High School.