The 2018 International Independent Showmen's Association (IISA) Trade Show kicked off in Gibsonton, FL on Tuesday. The trade show this year is special for a variety of reasons.
First, this is the 50th edition of the trade show, a testament to the hard work and dedication of the independent showmen who started the club and have managed its growth over the years. They wanted the 50th edition to be special and after many years of consideration, they decided to cut the show's length by one day and run Tuesday through Friday on a trial basis.
Second, the show had a decline in vendor numbers for several years and then, with an influx of some foreign ride manufacturers due to the strong dollar and a new infusion of domestic vendors, the booth pace began to creep back up. This year, the show evidenced signs of past year's Extravaganzas with almost 30 new vendors and aisles filled with rides, stock and other offerings for the amusement business.
A third reason to look forward to the show in 2018 was the debut of some new rides and new variations of other attractions delivered by new companies.
Wisdom Rides Debuts New Spectacular Ride
Perhaps the most highly anticipated debut of the 2018 season is Wisdom Rides' Y-Factor. The new attraction, which was purchased by Duane James of James Gang Amusements, did not disappoint, sporting a beautiful array of color-changing LED lights and a unique look that keeps you guessing a bit as to the action of the ride.
The seats on the two arms hold 24 passengers with over the shoulder lap bars. When the ride starts, the center raises and spins, then the two Y pieces raise up and the 2 booms extend as the tub spins at a sharp angle. The action is different from other spectacular rides and the arms, swinging out above the midway, really creates a sensation.
While the ride has some great action to it, Wisdom's Jared Davis said the ride is made for all ages. "I think adults, kids and teenagers will all like the Y-factor", said Davis. "The ride really has something for everyone."
Perhaps the most amazing fact about the new ride is the setup time. Davis said the ride takes 2 men only 1 hour to set up. By way of example, he said his two person crew, teaching the new buyer along the way, only took 1.5 hours to set the ride up at the trade show. The ride also travels on a single trailer that is legal weight.
Davis said Wisdom invested in a sophisticated safety system for the ride that takes measures of the ride every 3 milliseconds. "It looks at how far the arm is extended, is the boom in the right place? etc." said Davis. If anything is not as it should be, the ride goes into safety mode where the ride brings the passengers back to an upright seated position and then slowly lowers the arms back to the loading position. Typically, the safety systems on Wisdom rides have been mechanically-based whereas the Y-factor has both a software and technical based safety system.
Another great feature of the system is that when a reading is off, it uses a code system to identify the problem. When reading the code and the manual, the operator can quickly identify the problem and make a fix. "All fixes are very simple to resolve," said Davis.
Wisdom will be offering 24-hour, US-based support for the ride and parts will be in stock at all times.
While the James Gang ride, to be delivered next week, is the first model to be delivered, Wisdom has another in production and a third slot available for a 2018 delivery that has had a lot of interest so far.
In addition to the Y-factor, Wisdom had several other rides in production including an Alien Abduction, a Tornado they are making for an amusement park, and 2 Frog Hoppers. Wisdom purchased manufacturing license rights for the Frog Hopper, an S&S Power Ride, last year and they have had some good success with the piece.
Davis pointed out that it is not just the manufacturing the ride that was important but also the parts and service. "The licensing of the Frog Hopper enabled us to provide service and parts to amusement parks in 18 countries." said Davis.
This includes many parks in the United States, a market Wisdom had only limited success with in the past as mainly a carnival-focused manufacturer. Now that the Frog Hopper has given the company an opening and stated relationships with parks in the US and around the world, many are looking at the other rides in the Wisdom catalog for potential purchases.
Davis is hoping the Y-Factor, which has generated some interest in the park world, will sell to their new park clients. The addition of a new looking spectacular ride will certainly get the attention of parks and carnival operators, many of whom are looking for attractions that are new and different they can offer to their guests.
In addition to his duties with Wisdom Rides, Davis owns and operates rideparts.com, a company he started in 2011, mainly to service and support Wisdom rides. As the only approved purveyor of parts for Wisdom rides, Davis but a reputation for customer service and quality. He initially believed that ordering through the internet would take off but over the years he has found that because they are often-times on the road, his customers still prefer to order by phone.
When Wisdom began making the Frog Hopper, Davis expanded his line to also offer parts for the S & S ride. Also like Wisdom, he has now gained many new amusement park clients in addition to his tried and true carnival customers.
Tuesday's beautiful weather is expected to continue throughout the week for the show. There are many new rides and manufacturers to report on in 2018. Stay tuned as we bring you news and information from the show each day. Also check our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/carnivalwarehouse for pictures and information from throughout the day.
Mariah Weiland-Duchow, Chad & Lisa Duchow of Wisconsin based Mr. Eds Magical Midways.
Dalton Kid Rides
Blake Donohoe, Jack Thorn, and Jack Stimpson of Fiesta Shows
New from Rocken Graphics
2018 IISF Trade Show Coverage