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Thursday Highlights from the IISF Trade Show in Gibtown
Kolmax showcases multiple rides; Lifetime Trailers Increases Production

2/9/2018

By Ron Weber

Photo courtesy of Matt Cook

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The third day of the 50th annual IISF Trade Show and Extravaganza was another bright, sunny day with temperatures hovering close to 80 degrees.  Traffic seemed steady but relatively light, close to the patterns of Wednesday.  Thursday was also the opening of the Florida State Fair and many vendors and operators were busy with getting ready for opening day.      

Kolmax Continues with Large Outdoor Display
    
Czech Manufacturer Kolmax Plus again had a big presence at the show.  For the last several years, the company has made great gains in the United States,Photo By Matt Cook starting with its Flying Elephant ride and expanding into wheels, Scooters, Tea Cups, Carousels, and other attractions.  The company had six rides on display at the show and company CEO Rudolf Kamenicky reported a brisk business.  

Kolmax has been  manufacturing rides for the past 30 years in Europe, where they have a proven track record and well known name.  His first ride was a Scat ride but his breakthrough ride was the Miami.  The company has sold 136 models of that ride.  Once they broke into the US market, the carnivals here began to see that the company could deliver on the product, provide good customer service and "go above and beyond" for its customers, according to Kamenicky.

Asked about the sudden influx of other Eastern European manufacturers including several from the Czech Republic, Kamenicky said his company was the "first to blaze the trail, we made it easy for the others."  He said potential customers should still do research on the manufacturer and not just rely on price so as not to be disappointed, noting his company has a proven track record in the US.  

On display at the show were the company's Carousel, Scooter, Wheel, Dragon Wagon, Tea Cups and Train ride.   On Thursday, a Flying Elephant Ride, sold to Ray Cammack Shows and a Ferris Wheel were being set up at the show after a delay at the US shipping port.  Kamenicky is leveling three new ride concepts, some of which he hopes to bring to market for the IAAPA trade show in Orlando this November.  

The first ride is similar to the Miami but with a new drive system.  Gone will be the two large wheel turning the ride, replaced with a new proprietary design he believes will revolutionize the Miami concept.  The second is a swinging plane ride that is a family-friendly piece and the final ride is yet unnamed but similar to a Tea Cup ride.  The attraction will have three separate movements, all spinning options.  First, the tub itself will spin, next the platform the tub is built on will spin and finally, the ride's turntable will also spin.  The ride will boast 8 large cars fitting up to 4 adults.  

The company brought along Jack Souijee to the show, a technical advisor to the company for the last five years and formerly a KMG sales representative.


Lifetime Trailers Offers a Full Line of Heavy Duty Bunk Houses and Expands Its Gibsonton Based Manufacturing Facilities

Lifetime Trailers is an American company that has also seen great success over the past several years.  The heavy duty, "no wood" design which weighs only 13,500 lbs., has been a hit in the carnival market, with many companies purchasing multiple models. 

On display in Gibtown was a model built for Kaitlin DeStefano of Dreamland Amusements, a NAME bunkhouse and a unit for Campy's Blue Star Amusements.  

Also getting a lot of looks was the company's new guest relations trailer built for NAME in late 2017.  NAME use the trailer at a fair in the fall then Otterbacher  took the piece to IAAPA in November in Orlando and then to the show in Gibtown.  

The guest relations trailer is 14' x 8', sturdy, waterproof and equipped with nice amenities such as heaters, roll chairs and cabinets for paper storage.  Otterbacher was receiving quite a bit of interest in the new trailer and they were hoping to write some new orders in the near future.  

Gary and Karen Otterbacher were proud to welcome son Nick to the company over the past couple of years.   

Nick Otterbacher was a college football player and later a college coach, working most recently at the University of Missouri as a recruiter.    While the coaching jobs were exciting, in order to move up the ranks, you have to be able to move around and Otterbacher was tiring of moving so often and began thinking about joining the family business.  

A phone call back home to his father with an expression of interest in the company resulted in a simple "Come on Down" from his father.  

At the time, Lifetime had just moved into a new facility in order to expand output.  Otterbacher took the reins to move into the new place and plan and organize its opening and operation.

The expansion took the company from producing 1 - 1.5 trailers at a time to up to 5 trailers at a time at the new facility.  As business continued to grow, the new factory is undergoing an additional expansion to again increase the factory's output if needed.  The company has began to slowly move into building other products including ticket boxes and benches.  Otterbacher said he hopes the company will continue to expand int he future, building more lines of products as the demand arises.  They will be able to expand by building more bunkhouses or moving into new product lines.

Otterbacher is comfortable with his decision to move back into the family business and he hopes to work alongside his parents to grow the company.  As the person in charge of the shop, he has taken on the responsibility of increasing efficiency and value to the customer. 

Otterbacher said he is constantly learning and improving on his manufacturing process.  The company recently introduced a new custom King Pin Hitch for its trailers.  Lifetime builds its own boxes for the King Pin.  Otterbacher also swears by his mattresses, claiming the his top of the line offering is the best in the business.  

With a long history of quality trailer manufacturing in his family, Nick Otterbacher is looking to make his own mark on the carnival industry.

Stay tuned for coverage of the final day of the 50th IISF Trade Show and Extravaganza and continuing coverage of the Florida State Fair.



2018 IISF Trade Show Coverage







Lifetime Products



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