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The Industry Buzz

The Industry Buzz features carnival, amusement park, fair and festivals news direct from the lots. If you have newsworthy information that you would like to share on, please email For full feature news articles and exclusive interviews, please check our news and interviews section.

Wood Entertainment's Magnum gets another facelift
Michael Wood announced another update to his Mondial Magnum this spring.  In addition to an upgraded LED light system from Denny's Electronics that was installed last year, the ride's backwall sceenery was repainted with a new mural.  Wood hired a artist from England who specializes in painting amusement rides and flew him in to give the Magnum a completely new look.  The ride is currently playing the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar, CA.

CLICK HERE to view additional photos of the ride
  Posted by Matt Cook on 6/29/2015

Long time Wade Shows employee Bill "Shag" DeGrace passes away at the age of 55

Bill De Grace, known by all as Shag because of his affinity for long unruly hair, died suddenly on Tuesday, June 16 of unknown causes.

A lifelong Wade Shows employee, many wondered how he got away with wearing his long hair when the practice was forbidden by show rules. When asked, Wade Shows owner Frank Zaitshik  replied "Shag is just Shag and I guess he got grandfathered in".

"He was truly an 'old school' Carnival guy said Frank Zaitshik. "He was with us for 35 years doing a variety of jobs. Prior to joining WADE shows he was with Art Lampkin who owned Johnny's United Shows", he added Shag initially made his mark as a Sky Wheel foreman, but for the past 15 years he moved the show's Zyklon Coaster. Ironically, the show recently sold the coaster after the Florida State Fair to make a new purchase and Shag  was excited to get a crack at moving the new Cyclone Coaster that is being delivered later this summer. 

Shag was known as a talented, kind-hearted co-worker who would do anything to help a friend or any fellow showman.  Shag is survived  by his Father William De Grace, sons Joseph and Daniel Akers, Grandaughter Alexis Ackers and  ex-wife Tina Griffen.

He is fondly remembered by his friends and family at Wade Shows.  

  Posted by Ron Weber on 6/20/2015

Rio Syrup Celebrates 75 years
Saint Louis, Missouri based Rio Syrup is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2015.  The company was founded by Stuart S. Tomber in 1940 and is currently in its third generation, headed by Phillip S. Tomber.  Rio Syrup manufacturers beverage flavors for Shaved Ice, Slush Drinks, Sno Cones, Fountain Drinks, Icees, Punch Drinks, Malt and Milk Shakes.  Posted by Matt Cook on 6/8/2015

Skinner's Amusements takes delivery of NEW Chance Zipper
Illinois based Skinner's Amusements took delivery last week of a brand new 2015 Chance Zipper during the Harvard Milk Days festival in Harvard, IL.  The Zipper is the first produced by Chance Rides since 2001 and features many upgrades over older models.  One of the most noticeable upgrades is a state of the art LED lighting system from by Denny's Electronics.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 6/8/2015

Hickey Culpepper passes
It is with great regret to announce the passing of long time industry veteran Hickey Culpepper. 

Culpepper, Milton "Hickey", 83, of Tampa, Florida passed away on May 11, 2015.  
Hickey was born on August 26, 1931 in Wright City, Oklahoma to the late Tom Culpepper and Flora Yardley-Culpepper. Hickey followed his life's passion into the carnival business where he owned and operated an outdoor amusement business. He was a lifetime member of the Showmen's League of America, The Greater Tampa Showmen's Association, and the International Independent Showmen's Association. He will be remembered for his upbeat positive attitude and his love for "His Club". Hickey is survived by his beloved wife, Bonnie Woodard Culpepper; daughter, Patricia Yhnatko; brother, Charles Culpepper; granddaughters Marlo and Meagan Yhnatko.; and many extended family and friends. He is preceded in death by his parents, Tom and Flora Culpepper, grandmother Burns; and brothers, Dudley, Hubert, and Tommy Culpepper.

Friends are invited to attend a memorial service at 11:00 A.M., on Thursday, May 14, 2015, at A Life Tribute Funeral Care- Tampa Chapel, 4040 Henderson Blvd, in Tampa, FL. 

In lieu of flowers memorial donations can be made to the COPD Foundation at, 3300 Ponce de Leon Blvd, Miami, FL, 33134, or, so others can breathe better tomorrow. Condolences can be shared with the family at In lieu of flowers memorial donations can be made to the COPD Foundation at, 3300 Ponce de Leon Blvd, Miami, FL, 33134, or, so others can breathe better tomorrow. 

  Posted by Matt Cook on 5/12/2015

Battech Enterprises acquires ORI, LLC to service Eyerly rides
Oregon based Battech Enterprises, LLC. announced the purchase of ORI, LLC (formerly Oregon Rides) and will now be the sole provider of parts and service for Eyerly rides.  Battech will be selling the parts under a new company, Replacement Parts Resource, LLC.  According to a press release from Battech, former ORI owner, Tod Sherbourne will be working for the new company in the parts department.  All fabrication and manufacturing will take place at the company's headquarters in Salem, Oregon.  Battech Enterprises, LLC. currently produces the Cliff Hanger, Zero Gravity, Hog Rally motorcycle ride, a variety of Super Slides, and other pieces formerly produced by Hrubetz/Kilinski/Dartron.
  Posted by Matt Cook on 5/8/2015

Showmens League seeking new executive director
The Showmen's League of America is seeking a new executive director.

Joe Burum, the former director, has resigned after six years to pursue other business opportunities, according to Paul Kasin, the group's president.  Burum's final day on the job was April 10. 

For the SLA, a nonprofit organization based in Chicago, qualified candidates must have strong management skills with the ability to market the organization at industry trade shows in Gibsonton, Fla., Las Vegas and the annual IAAPA convention. "We're trying to find new ways to raise money and create member benefits," Kasin said. "It's important for the future of the club." 

Carnival industry experience is a plus but not required for the position. The job application indicates flexibility is key trait for the position. It reads,  "Must be ... equally at home, both at a black-tie party and 'jackpotting' on the midway,"  A college education is preferred and the salary is commensurate with experience, Kasin said.

All inquiries should be directed to to the Showmen's League home office at 1023 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, Ill. 60607, or email Paul Kasin at

  Posted by Don Muret on 5/4/2015

Danny Roark Passes
It is with a heavy heart that I that I write this email. Danny Roark (better known as J.R. to his friends and family) passed Saturday at his home in Covington, VA. J.R. has spent  the last 25 + years with us here at Cole Shows. He was a great asset to our company and more  importantly, he was a great friend. Services will be held Tuesday at Arritts funeral home in Covington, VA.

  Posted by Cole Shows on 5/3/2015

Ed Burlingame Passes
It is with deep regret to announce that Pride Amusements owner, Ed Burlingame passed away on April 29.  Visitation will be held from 1-5pm on Friday & Saturday with a the funeral scheduled for Sunday at 2pm at Parks Brothers Funeral Home in Prague, Oklahoma.

Parks Brothers Funeral Home
1405 E Main St
Prague, Oklahoma

  Posted by Matt Cook on 4/30/2015

Skerbeck Family Carnival adds new equipment for 2015

Bill Skerbeck's Skerbeck Family Carnival announced the purchase of several new pieces for the 2015 season.  The show purchased a Zamperla Air Raid from Jeff Brady and also a new Motorcycle Jump from Dalton Kid Rides.  The Air Raid is set to debut this spring while the Motorcycle Jump is scheduled for summer delivery.

The show also purchased all new canvas for its games and has changed their color scheme from pink, white and teal to blue and green.  In addition to the new canvas, the show has begun converting equipment over to LED lighting including a new LED package from Denny's Electronics for their Century Wheel.  The Gravitron and Ring of Fire are also being retrofitted with LED lights.

In December, Skerbeck Brothers Shows announced a succession plan, separating the carnival into two entities - Skerbeck Family Carnival, owned by Bill Skerbeck and his family and Skerbeck Entertainment Group, owned by Joe Skerbeck and his family.  
  Posted by Matt Cook on 4/22/2015

John Streeter Passes (updated)
It is with sadness to announce the passing of John Streeter.  John spent a number of years teaching speech at the University of Indiana and Wayne State University while also working as a scenic designer in several professional productions. In the summer, John worked in the outdoor amusement business. 

In 1966, John purchased a Sky Diver from Chance Rides.  In 1968, John went to work for Mack Duce and sold rides for Chance and SDC.  This relationship lasted for over 15 years before John went to work exclusively for Chance in 1983.  By 1985, John was promoted to president of the company and helped promote sales worldwide.  He was influential in the development of the Thunderbolt, Wipeout, Giant Wheel, Century Wheel, and Pharaoh's Fury through the 1990's.  John was responsible for the growth of Chance Rides in the US Carnival market as well as the overseas markets in Asia until his retirement in 1998.

"We are all grateful to John for is efforts and dedication to Chance over the years and will all miss him", said Dick Chance of John Streeter.

He is honored on the Showmen's League of America's Wall of Honor and donations can be made to the Showmen's League of America Scholarship fund in his name. 

He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Marion; his daughter, Linda; and grandson, Jeffry.

Services will be conducted at a later date in National Cemetery in Sarasota.

John Streeter (left)

  Posted by Matt Cook / Obiturary on 4/20/2015

Concessionaire Bob Mason passes
Long time concessionaire and MCW visitor, Bob Mason ("Six Cat") has passed away.  Bob was a concessionaire based out of New England and spent time on several east coast shows including Reithoffer Shows.  For more information, click here.
  Posted by Matt Cook on 4/10/2015

Myers adds new 4-story Fun House; expands route
Joey Weaver of Myers International Midways announced the purchase of a new Italian built, four story fun house from Gosetto that is set to debut this July at the Wisconsin State Fair in West Alis, Wisconsin.  The fun house will be themed "New York New York" and will feature over 32 mechanical tricks including a rotating barrel and a spiral slide from the fourth floor.  The attraction stands 45ft tall with over 75ft of frontage length and will be transported on two trailers.

The show which sold most of its equipment in 2014 and scaled down to a unit booking primarily independently with other shows and fairs will be booking equipment for the second straight year at the Wisconsin and Minnesota State Fairs.  New for 2015, Myers will be booking equipment into the Texas State Fair in Dallas.  "We look forward to starting a positive working relationship with the State Fair of Texas" said Weaver.

Myers most recently booked equipment at the Florida State Fair with Wade Shows.  "Tampa was a big success in 2015, and we look forward to the opportunity to work with Wade Shows again" explained Weaver.  Weaver was also excited for the opportunity to book their Ice Jet (Alpine Bobs) with EK Fernandez Shows at the upcoming 50th State Fair in Hawaii for the month of June.  

  Posted by Matt Cook on 4/8/2015

Showmens League of America establishes Diane Burmeister memorial scholarship

In honor of long time Showmen's League office assistant, Diane Burmeister, President Paul Kasin has established a Memorial Scholarship fund in her name. If you would like to contribute please mail checks to the office made out to The Showmen's League of America with a note 'for the Diane Burmeister Scholarship'. 

Address: 1023 W Fulton Market, Chicago IL 60607.  Or to use a credit card call 312-733-9533.

  Posted by Matt Cook / SLA on 3/27/2015

2016 IISF Gibtown Trade Show Dates Announced
The IISA in Gibtown announced the 48th annual IISF Trade Show and Extravaganza will take place February 9-13, 2016.  The show, which traditionally follows the clubs Super Bowl Sunday party, will be falling a week later then it has the last couple of years due to the Super Bowl taking place on February 7.  The trade show will be taking place during the second week of the Florida State Fair which will be open February 4-15, 2016.
  Posted by Matt Cook on 3/6/2015

Ralph Biancardi of Ace Amusements passes
It is with great sadness to report that Ralph Biancardi, co-owner of Ace Amusements of Yonkers, NY, passed away yesterday.   He has been in the business for over 40 years and was best described by his sister, Roseanna, as "a one man show who did everything.  He had hands of gold".  Ralph was 64 years old and is survived by his mother Philomena Biancardi, sister Madeline Murray of Tommy's Midways, twin sister Joanna Valentini,  youngest sister Roseanna Biancardi and brother in-law Fred McDaniel of McDaniel Brothers Shows.

Services will be held at F Ruggiero & Sons Funeral Home in Yonkers, NY (732 Yonkers, Ave) on Saturday March 7 and Sunday March 8 from 2-4pm & 4-9pm.  Mass will be held on Monday, March 9 at St. Barnabas Church in Bronx, NY at 10:45am.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 3/4/2015

Deggeller Attractions & The Arkansas State Fair sign a multi year contract extension
Deggeller Attractions has announced the signing of a multi-year contract extension to provide the midway at the Arkansas State Fair in Little Rock.  Little Rock is the furthest west that Deggeller travels, trucking the majority of their show from the Virginia State Fair in Doswell.  The show supplemented its own equipment last year with additional rides from PBJ Happee Day Shows and Luehr's Ideal Rides.  Posted by Matt Cook on 3/4/2015

Lionel Miller Passes
Long time concessionaire Lionel Miller passed away on February 22, 2015.  Lionel was the youngest of eight siblings. He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years Barbara, and two daughters Gina and Cheryl. Lionel was preceded in death by his son, also named Lionel. Barbara and Lionel were married on New Years Eve and their grandson Ronnie followed suit and got married on New Years Eve also. Lionel and Barbara have eleven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. He was a wonderful husband, father, son, brother and friend.

Lionel served his country proudly in the ARMY and was one of the select few to serve as a guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier in Arlington VA. Lionel also had the honor to escort Mimi Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth. Lionel joined his brother's circus "The Paul A Miller Circus" which was the first combined circus and carnival. Lionel owned food and game concessions, traveling with Reithoffer Shows for over 30 years and serving as concession manager for about 9 of those years. Through the many years in his career, Lionel made numerous life long friends. He was always sharply dressed and a first class guy. Just to interject some of my own opinion, but when first meeting Lionel you have to be impressed by the man. His stature was impressive and his confidence would exude from his stride as he walked and his voice when he spoke. I'm a pretty big guy with good sized hands and a firm grip, but when Lionel would shake your hand, you knew he was shaking your hand.

As Lionel let go of his earthly bounds and raced towards the Heavens, the "Field of Greats" has narrowed by one. He will be loved, cherished and greatly missed by many. May God bless you and be with you always.

Service for Lionel A. Miller will be held 11 AM Thursday the 26th at Hamlin & Hilbish Funerals.
326 East Orange Ave. Eustis FL. 32726
  Posted by Matt Cook / Obituary on 2/26/2015

Wade Shows purchases new Zyklon Coaster
Frank Zaitshik announced the purchase of a brand new Zyklon Roller Coaster from Interpark of Italy.  The new coaster will replace the shows existing Pinfari Crazy Cat Coaster (Zyklon).  The new Zyklon is the exact same size and track configuration as the one which it replaces.  The new coaster is scheduled to be delivered August 1.

Interpark, an Italian company, purchased the assets of the Pinfari Coaster company in 2007 after the company declared bankruptcy.  Interpark is currently producing some of the coaster models that were acquired from Pinfari including the Zyklon in addition to Interpark's original coasters.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 2/24/2015

Donnie Reid of Wade Shows passes
It is with great sadness to report Reid, Donald E. "Donnie", 59 of Land O' Lakes, FL passed away Thursday, February 19, 2015.  He was born in Bradenton, FL and worked for W.G. Wade Shows for the last 30 years.  Donald is survived by his loving wife of 38 years, Peggy, two daughters, Michelle Reid Whitman and husband, Ryan and Melinda Reid; brothers John Reid and Mike Reid; sister Tamra Reid; and grandchildren Dylan, William and Robbie.  A funeral service will be held at 10am on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at Loyless Funeral Home in Land O' Lakes, FL.  The family will receive friends from 6-8pm on Monday evening at Loyless Funeral Home.  Interment will be at Sunset Gardens, Thonotosassa, FL.
  Posted by Matt Cook / Obituary on 2/20/2015

Skerbeck Entertainment Purchases KMG Inversion

Sonja & Jamie Skerbeck's Skerbeck Entertainment announced the purchase of a KMG Inversion at the Gibtown Trade Show.  The piece is scheduled for delivery in the late fall of 2015.  KMG is typically booked solid for delivery at least one year in advance, however, a showman in Europe canceled his order and Skerbeck was able to take advantage of the situation and fill that delivery spot.  Posted by Matt Cook on 2/13/2015

Todd Armstrong Shows & Crabtree Amusements add two new European Spectaculars
Todd Armstrong Shows has added a Technical Park Street Fighter to their show.  The ride was purchased through on the secondhand market from a showmen in Austria.  Themed, Air Maxx, the piece comes will a full backwall sceenery.  Pat Crabtree's Crabtree Amusements also purchased a used spectacular ride, a KMG Tango through  Both pieces are being transported on the same ship from Europe and will debut this spring.  Posted by Matt Cook on 2/12/2015

Florida State Fair Photos
Photos of Wade Shows debut at the Florida State Fair as midway coordinator have been uploaded to the MCW Photo Gallery.  To view photos from this years event, click here.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 2/5/2015

Ride gross up 18% in West Palm Beach
Wade Shows' Frank Zaitshik reported a 18% increase in ride gross over 2014 at the South Florida Fair in West Palm Beach, despite loosing half of one of the busiest Saturdays at the fair.  The show is currently setting up for its first run operating the midway at the Florida State Fair in Tampa, which opens Thursday morning.  The show closed Sunday in West Palm and trucked over 50 rides from the fair into Tampa, including two roller coasters.  Some of the equipment had been set up the week before in Tampa in order to ease the jump and allow enough time for opening.  As of Tuesday evening, most of the rides were set up with crews still working on some of the larger pieces.
  Posted by Matt Cook on 2/4/2015

Showmen's League to hold Meet & Greet at Gibtown Trade Show

The Showmen's League of America will hold a brief meeting at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 5 during the International Independent Showmen's Association trade show in Gibsonton, Fla. The meeting at the Gibtown show club is open to all SLA members and others interested in joining the organization. Paul Kasin, SLA's president for 2015, will lead a discussion on the group's fund-raising efforts for this year in addition to how it can work closer with other carnival trade groups to improve the industry.

  Posted by Don Muret on 2/1/2015

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