Miami - Bob McKnight, President of the Miami Showmen's Association announced that he has selected Shelby Lauther Royal as the club's "Man Of The Year". Ms. Royal is only the second woman in the history of the club to have this honor bestowed upon them. The first woman was pioneering showman Marilyn Portemont.
McKnight called Royal an "outstanding showman" and hoped her plaque would become one of the biggest ever. The club cited her for her "great spirit, positive outlook and great love for the carnival business".
Shelby Royal was born into a five-generation show family. Her parents, William and Gloria Lauther operated back end shows and were still active in the business until her father's death late last year. Her two brothers, Mike and Billy and her sister, Debbie Pugh, all grew up in the business but quickly di
versified into other areas of the industry, operating rides, games and food concessions. Ms. Royal currently operates food concessions and games on Morris Vivona's unit of Amusements Of America, along with her "significant other", Steve Ianni, the show's lotman.
Ms. Royal has a distinguished career of serving on boards and helping with charitable causes. She is the immediate past president of the International Independent Showmen's Association in Gibsonton, FL. Her presidency was marked by a resurgence in the trade show and exhibitors, numerous improvements to the grounds and parking and one of the most successful banquets ever produced by the club. In addition to her duties in Gibtown, she is an active member of the Miami Showmen's Club, the Tampa Showmen's Club and NICA, the National Independent Concessionaire's Association.
All of these accomplishments would be exemplary for any individual but they are made even more extraordinary because much of it was accomplished during her battle with cancer. Despite her disease and treatments, Royal has kept an aggressive schedule, attending meetings and events, operating her business and encouraging others in their struggles despite the toll the disease and treatments have taken on her body. Throughout her struggles, Royal has kept a positive outlook and encouraging spirit, bearing her hardship with grace, maintaining her work and her charitable duties without slowing and accomplishing all of it with an infectious love of life.
Told of her selection, Ms. Royal said she was "very proud to have been chosen for this honor". She remembered past recipients and their accomplishments including Duke Smith, John Campi, Billy Baxter, Danny Dell, James E. Strates, Morris Vivona, Rick Reithoffer and Father Mac and is honored to be numbered among them.
Congratulations to Shelby Royal, the Miami Showmen's Association "Man Of The Year".
Donations to the "Gold 100 Project" should be made out to the Miami Showmen's Association and mailed to them at 3391 Griffin Rd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33312. Their phone is (954) 967-0073. Proceeds go to scholarships and charities supported by the Miami Showmen's Association.