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  • NAME's Giant Wheel featured in Chicago's NFL Draft Town this week
    4/27/2016
    The 2016 NFL Draft starts Thursday in Chicago, the second consecutive year the event has taken place in the Bears' home city. This year, there have been some additional programming features attached to Draft Town, the fan festival held downtown in Grant Park, including North American Midway Entertainment's Chance Giant Wheel.

    Mike Sievers, North American Midway's director of business development, is supervising the company's operation during the three-day event. All rides are free, said Sievers, who declined to discuss financial terms. The carnival's agreement is with C3, an event promoter from Austin, Texas. The wheel is set up at the north end of Grant Park. Hours of operation are noon to 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Draft Town's final day.

    The Draft Town deal came about through Siever's existing relationship with C3 tied to some other events.

    "We have a reputation for doing these kinds of events," he said. "It's a small world ... and they wanted a Ferris wheel. I've worked with C3 managers at another festival and they reached out to me. The wheel was all they wanted. It's a year to year deal for the draft. We'll see what happens after this year."

    If the wheel returns for next year's event, it could be somewhere other than Chicago. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said publicly that there is a strong possibility that the 2017 NFL Draft could move to another city after its two-year run in the Windy City, according to local reports.

    For this year's Draft Town, though, show officials expect big crowds at Grant Park. Last year, both the draft at the Auditorium Theatre and Draft Town drew combined attendance estimated at 200,000. The carnival has a six-man crew handling the wheel led by ride foreman Jarrett Starr.

    For Draft Town, the wheel is branded with the NFL's iconic shield logo. NAME works with TGI, a Chicago graphics firm, to develop the vinyl decals that adorn the wheel's flat surfaces. The same company helped the carnival brand the wheel for the 2016 NCAA Final Four men's basketball tournament at Reliant Park in Houston. The carnival's deal is with Turner Sports for the basketball tournament and is their fourth year providing the wheel at the Final Four.

    Rides were also free during the Final Four. "It went well," Sievers said. "We ran full loads from open to close." From Houston, the wheel moved to Chicago for Draft Town. 

    In addition to those two sports-related events, the attraction is booked for two music festivals, Hangout (May 20-22), along Alabama's gulf shore, and Electric Forest (June 23-26) in Rothbury, Mich. For both those events, the carnival charges $5 admission for rides. The ride has been part of Hangout for the past six years, a beach-side event where attendance is restricted to 35,000. Electric Forest meanwhile, where camping is allowed and the wheel makes its fourth appearance, draws up to 45,000, Sievers said.

    Sievers is no stranger to running Ferris wheels at high-profile events apart from the fair circuit. For many years, when Sievers worked for the old Farrow Shows, the carnival booked a wheel at Taste of Chicago, the city's annual food festival at Grant Park. Farrow is now part of North American Midway Entertainment.






    Photos courtesy of Danny Ecker (@DannyEcker on Twitter)


  • County Fair With State Fair Quality:  Another Record Year for Maricopa County Fair
    4/25/2016
    No matter how windy the start, the Maricopa County Fair racked up a positive 2016. 

    Situated in the Phoenix market  an area growing in population, jobs and housing, the Maricopa County Fair has been one of the fastest growing county fairs in recent years.

    The fair has implemented new marketing in 2016 and has eliminated the high-overhead headline concerts in favor of the more economically feasible motorsports, while at the same time enhancing other attractions through better scheduling. The result is a family-friendly 21st century fair for a marketing whose young family population has begun to soar.

    Sean Butler, Unit Manager for Butler Amusement pointed out that the last couple of years "have been great years," and this year the midway revenue was up 7 percent. "the fair went very well," he said. "We have had very good years, and last year we had a very good year. This year was the best year we've had here."
     
    Hot Market
     The point being is that that the positive 2016 showing was not an anomaly - a lucky confluence of good weather and timing - but the fair itself growing along with the community it serves.  "From concept to how they run the fair, this county fair has state fair quality," he said. "They do a greet job of marketing and it is a safe, family atmosphere. They push the family fair and the community supports it."

    He added, "the Phoenix market is growing.  After the recession hit and the housing market crashed, this area was impacted.  But now there's more money flowing in Phoenix, there has been a recovery and there are more families in the area and they know the fair is the place to bring families."

    The  Maricopa Fair has an attendance of more than 70,000 and while Karen Searle, Executive Director, said that the numbers are not completed yet,  she said attendance was up by at least "3 percent." 

    Considering that the midway had a bigger uptick than attendance, the conclusion is that people were spending more than recent years.

    "It was good, we're up from last year," said Searle. "I'm still working on the final number as we are processing Groupon vouchers still.  

    I know for sure we are up. If I was only judging the economy of Arizona on our fair, I would say things are getting better.  Not only did people come out and spend money, our livestock auction hit a new record."

    Another sign of improved consumer confidence was an increase in fairgoer lingering. "People were staying longer," she said. "We continue to improve the product, and people stay longer and the longer they stay helps the food and the carnival." 

    Strong Wind
    According to Searle, weather-wise  was " both excellent and terrible," on  Friday "we had sustained winds of 40+ mph. It was windy on Thursday and breezy on Saturday with Sunday absolutely gorgeous."

    While technically the fair and midway never closed, attendance was so negatively impacted by the gusts that it wasn't really an issue. As precautions, "we took down umbrellas, and secured our tents, We didn't have any damage or incidents. We also wet the dirt as much possible. That was the major concern, dust and visibility."
    While the fair has endured rain in previous years, "we've not had the sustained high winds before," said Searle,

    She added, "the people that did come went to exhibits inside the buildings."
    Food revenue was up 5.5 percent, with 29 food vendors. Traditional deep fried concoctions were again standouts at the fair. " Deep fried Caramel Macchiato, Deep Fried Hot Chocolate and Deep Fried Coffee remained popular," said Searle.

    AZ, AG & EWE 
    The fair's advertising tag line this year was "AZ, AG & EWE," which "we will probably use for a few more years," said Searle.

    The fair's advertising budget was $100,000, with the media breakdown being TV:  45.8 percent, Radio:  20.5 percent; Print: 14.4 percent and "other" (including billboards, printing of flyers, etc.): 19.3 percent.

    While social media was essentially the same - "we boosted a few more posts on Facebook than last year" - with other advertising the fair took the production of cable and online commercials in-house. Previously, the video component of marketing was created by cable companies "WE took in house this year, which means we owned the video and were able to boost the video. We had a tremendous response, and we got more online attention than traditional media.

    Searle said the video combined still images, birds-eye view fair footage shot by a drone, and high energy musk, with its own tagline "Join Us!"
     
    Free entertainment was key to the success of the fair. The newest act was the Dueling Pirates High Dive Show. "This was the biggest show we ever had - 70 feet in the air - we put a lot of focus on  the show with the media," said Searle.

    Better Scheduling 
    Other acts at the fair were Skip Banks the Balloon Man, Godfrey the Magician, Cirque Adventure, Superhero BMX Bike Show, Safety Magic with Calamity Jo and Sponge Bob. 

    In addition to an enticing array - and a slight increase in the amount - of free acts, fair organizers took a more systematic approach to scheduling. "We schedule things far enough  apart this year," explained Searle, which not only avoided conflict but kept "people on the grounds longer, you cannot see the dive show and the magician at the same time. We worked at having something every 30 minutes, either a contest, or a band starting or an act. There is always something to do, and we make every effort to spread them out so people can walk the grounds to get to each show."

    The Maricopa Fair is known for its motorsports. Several years ago, the fair decided to expand its motor sports offerings, mainly to replace the headline entertainment, which was not only a cost savings but helped differentiate the county event from the Arizona State Fair later in the year. "We did four nights of motorsports, similar to last year," said Searle. "People seem to love the monster trucks and Demo Cross."

    With the new scheduling, "it was easier to program with the times staggered. We things starting every half hour, so it was a very busy fair and people had a lot of things to enjoy."

    The one issue to keep in mind in coordinating the ground acts with the motorsports is that one of the stages "is right near the motorsports, and it can get very noisy. You don't want to start the magician during Monster Trucks."

    With the cost of headline entertainment rising to astronomical levels and the precarious nature of today's fractured, online-based music business fragmenting audiences, the Maricopa County Fair is content with a non-headliner fair. Searle pointed out that the crowd coming for trucks, motorcycles and demolition derbies are more conducive to the fair experience. "When you put on a concert, a lot of that audience comes for the concert and just leaves," Searle said. "After motorsports, more of that audience goes to the midway and stays longer at the fair."

    Butler Midway

    The Butler Amusement Midway featured  39 rides, with new amusements being the 1001 Nachts and Crazy Train, which were new for Maricopa and two new rides in the Butler Amusements arsenal, an A.R.M Quasar and a KMG Inversion. 

    The Crazy Train is actually an "old school" signature ride for Butler Amusements. Butler describes the ride as "a kind of Zipper, and we use it sparingly, it is a very high maintenance ride," he said, It also takes up a lot of space, but a new layout meant "that we moved some rides, so we had the space for it this year. It is a very impactful ride and you get a different response." 

    The most popular rides at the Maricopa Fair were Butler signature rides  Xcelerator Coaster, Giant Wheel, and the new Inversion. 

    The Butler Amusements season began in February and so far the weather has been cooperative and fairgoers plentiful. The unit Sean Butler manages has mainly played in Arizona. "So far, we are on track to having a record year. As long as the weather holds, this could be one of our best years." 

  • Midway Millennials
    4/22/2016
    Midway Millennials is an ongoing series profiling the new generation of fair professionals

    For 28-year-old Andrew Schoendienst Jr., General Manger of Leuhrs Ideal Rides, the carnival business is about family. He is third generation in the business.  The company is on the brink of its 60thanniversary - founded by grandparents Hub and Winnifred Schoendienst in 1957 - has been family owned and operated ever since.  

    Not surprisingly, his earliest fair memory centers around family. "I was riding in a car with my grandfather "Hub," at the Will County Fair. It was a very busy day, and grandfather took me for ice cream and then we watched kids on the merry-go-round. It was the a tradition with him, to watch the kids on the Merry Go Round."

    By observation, training and probably osmosis, Schoendienst both learned and grew to love the industry. "I'm very close to my family, and that aspect is spectacular because you grow up close and that is a blessing. We all have the passion for the midway. There's nothing like what we do, and there's nothing like the action on the midway. The travelling is great too. If you love it, you really don't have any other hobbies, although we play a little golf once in a whittle."

    He added, "you better find this business fun because it is a lot of work. If you don't find it fun, you'll be miserable." 

    Schoendienst graduated in 2009 with a degree in Journalism and Business Administration from the  University of Missouri, and he pointed out that education was of paramount importance for the family. 

    "My grandparents and parents always stressed education. I was not forced into the family business, they always wanted it to be a choice."

    But, except for a summer spent as an intern at a cellphone company, the family business has been his life. "I was ready to get back on the road. The best job offer I had was from my father (Andrew "Andy" Schoendienst, President, Leuhrs Ideal Rides)."

    As a general manager of Leuhrs Ideal Rides - Schoendienst insists that titles are not really used by the company- he has a variety of tasks and responsibilities.  The most important is probably Game Concessions Managements, but also oversees ticket boxes and other midway supervisory duties. 

    But he also works in midway layout, and "putting out the electric and helping to set up and break down the midway." 

    The Leuhrs Ideal Rides route runs from Mid-April to Mid-October, and includes 23 rides and 15 games with a total of about 90 employees.

    This year, the new rides include a Cliffhanger and a Street Fighter, a new midway office and all new canvas.

    A family business means that relatives are involved at every level of Leuhrs Ideal Rides, creating an atmosphere of trust, dependability and unity of purpose.   "You have complete control, you can keep everything very clean, you're able to make sure the games are run right and the food service is up to quality standards," said Schoendienst. "That control is an advantage to our carnivals because they have the same standard of quality, that's what they want to project to out customers. "

    He added, "the overall perception is important, and as family, we are able to the keep the midway uniform. We are very proud of the appearance."

    Not upgrading the midway and keeping up to the new consumer expectations - essentially having the mobile amusement midways meeting an amusement park standard - seems to be the dividing line for Schoendienst between how the fair industry was growing up and the one he has chosen to make his career in. 

    "There's not as many carnival companies in business than there were when I was younger," he said. "It's not about how big you are or the industry consolidating, it's about the strong surviving and changing with the times. You need a good quality midway, that is professional, safe and clean and well marketed." 

    The Leuhrs Ideal Rides route is through the Midwest, especially Indiana and Illinois. Being long established and family owned and operated means that the traveling can be a more pleasurable situation. "We have friends in towns, we know the people and we see them every year. "We know what hairdressers to go to and where to find a dentist, because you need to know these things to make the travelling easier." 

    But not all employees are relatives. Like most carnival companies, Schoendienst relies on H-2B workers, which because of legal issues delayed processing the workers, and the company was scrambling to fill their work-force requirements. "It is a little tougher this year," he admitted.

    But in spite of a more hectic process and increased uncertainty and only a few days before their first event, "We are very optimistic that we will be getting the workers within a week and definitely by May we will be fully staffed," said Schoendienst. 

    The long term issue regarding labor in the outdoor amusement, he preferred not to address. "Labor in general is the biggest issue facing the industry," said Schoendienst. "Labor is not a short term issue, but a long term issue. We need to figure out how we can appeal to more American workers. It's tough to figure out but if the industry unifies, we can figure it out.

    Like many fair industry members, Schoendienst is worried that the new anti-immigration rhetoric being bandied about among some candidates during this year's heated presidential race could negatively impact the H-2B program, he said "At the end of the day, it is just rhetoric. When the dust settles, the industry is going to have cooperate to solve the problem."

    But coming from a carnival family - and being involved with the Showmen's League of America - Schoendienst has a decidedly longer view of the issue. "History repeats itself. You look at the history of the industry, labor issues have always been here. When my grandfather met with other carnival operators, they were dealing with labor issues. For this industry to thrive, we have to continue working together on this issue and get over these hurdles." 

    When Schoendienst was in school, other business majors "understood that it was a family business. Anyone with a business sense can see the value of a family business."

    This emphasis on education by the older generation on their offspring Schoendienst finds a distinguishing factor for millennials. 

    What a more educated generation of midway providers pushes for  the evolution of the midway. "There were a lot of things that created a bad image for the midway," said Schoendienst. "My grandfather implemented policies where everyone clean shaven, and really started to change the perception of the industry."

    In addition to style, boomers created a more professional substance to the workforce. 

    Leuhrs Ideal Rides conducts drug and background test on all employees and implemented an ongoing training program, using videos and other instructional tools, which he credits his father with starting. 

    "From the first day, after we finish the paperwork and the background and drug testing, we start and continue the training," he said. "We always have new rides and even returning workers have to be brought up to speed."

    This improved image is now being transmitted to a new generation of young families and other fairgoers. "We grew up with the internet and are very comfortable using social media and Facebook. As a carnival company, we promote and advertise through Facebook everywhere we go. We reach out to the fairgoers and coordinate with the fairs on their promotions. Social media by the carnival company grows every year."

    The new generation of fair and midway professions like Schoendienst are not just building on the a new standard of quality, he feels they are making sure one of the oldest forms of American popular culture keeps in steps with the changing pop-culture landscape. "We are bringing a new voice to the industry and the industry needs,that " he said. 

    "The older generation enjoys the new blood in the industry and they want know what today's youth are thinking. Young people are bringing a new level of quality to the midway. I think we are putting a lot more importance on customer service, giving me what they need and the information they want."

    Fairgoers and heads of young families who make the entertainment dollar purchasing decisions Schoendienst characterizes "as having a short attention spans, but that means they want things now, easier to understand. They want things like ticketing simplified. But you have to be able to "Wow" them, and that means having a good quality midway." 

    The unique experience of the midway is timeless. "We grew up on video games, but you can't get the thrill from a video game that you can from the a carnival ride," he said. "Once you get them on the ride, they will come with their families to the fair every year. I believe in that appeal, there's a lot in that appeal. It's Americana, and you have experience in person, not on a screen."  

  • Rainier Amusements Goes Funcard: Ticketless Midways Becoming a Trend
    4/20/2016
    The paperless, automated ticketing midways just got smaller. Rainier Amusements,  a start up carnival company based in Portland, Oregon, has a mere 26 rides and about 30 games and other concessions. 

    This midway provider - owned by the husband and wife team of Crystal and Mitch Hoss - may have a long and recognizable pedigree in the outdoor amusement business, but the company was formed in 2015 and its 2016 route has about 25 events throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

    The company just completed the purchase, installation and training for a new Funcard System from Amusement Consulting Services, the wireless midway system developed by Funtastic Shows. Many of the largest carnival companies in the U.S., including James E. Strates Shows, Ray Cammack Shows, and Wade Shows have installed a Funcard system. In addition, several large fairs with an independent Midway, such as Texas State Fair, have likewise gone the cashless midway route via Funcard. 

    Smaller Market
    Rainier Amusements is in good company when it comes to an automated midway, but what makes the newest Funcard client not just unique, but a potential harbinger of a things to come is its size. Rainier  Amusements, according to Rob Rhew, Vice President of Amusement Consulting  Services, is by far the smallest carnival company to adopt the system. 

    "Yes, this is our smallest midway company," said Rhew, adding "by far."

    Rhew believes that this distinction will not last. "We are in negotiations with several other companies their size," he said. "The smaller midways are very interested in this system."

    He stated that the reasons for the investment by smaller midways is the same as for larger companies: improving the bottom line. "It's a wise investment for any business working with money, you are open to the theft," said Rhew "The system increases grosses every time it is used and that increase has nothing to do with how many rides and games a carnival company has."

    Carnival Families
    Crystal and Mitchell Hoss are fair industry veterans and most recently operated West Coast Amusements, a game concessionaire working Canadian routes. The couple purchased assets of Haworth Family Shows in 2015, essentially merging the rides with the West Coast Amusements games.

    The Rainier  name was in recognition of Rainier  Shows Carnival, a long running midway provider in the Pacific Northwest that ceased operations in 1997. Mitch Hoss's uncle, Andy Andersen, operated Rainier Shows Carnival in the region for many decades and Mitch Hoss grew up on the show.  When Rainier ceased operations, Mitch & Crystal along with their parents, moved their business, S&H Concessions, to Canada to work with West Coast Amusements.  After 16 years with West Coast Amusements, Mitch & Crystal took their concession business back to the US where Mitch worked as unit manager at  Funtastic Shows, where he became familiar with the Funcard System.

    With more than 30 years experience as operators and an extended family, the carnival business is both in their blood and part of their DNA. The couple knew that for a midway provider to thrive in today's outdoor event industry, with standards and expectations by both customers and organizers constantly rising, a company's reputation is based on its professionalism, which includes the ticketless midway. 

    "We consider ourselves a traveling amusement park, and we bring the level of professionalism ones sees at an amusement park," said Crystal Hoss. "That includes the quality of rides, the cleanliness of the grounds and our staff.  We are the face of the fair, and there is real appreciation of that. We felt that buying the Funcard System, was the smartest thing we can do at this time."

    This time meaning the company's full year as Rainier  Amusements - a smaller midway provider, with mainly smaller events, except for the Oregon State Fair - due to the larger Washington State Fair changing its 2016 dates causing a scheduling conflict, Funtastic Shows had to select one of the two fairs and opted out of the Oregon State Fair.  In fact, "Uncle Andy" Anderson ran the carnival at the 1952 edition of the Oregon State Fair.

    "We couldn't be happier about the opportunity to collaborate with Rainier Amusements," said  Mike Paluszak, CEO Oregon State Fair. "Co-owners Mitch and Crystal Hoss more than earned our confidence in their team's proven ability to stage an amazing carnival for us in 2016. We were particularly impressed with their energy and vision and tendency to think big." 

    "We intend to bring a major 'wow factor' to the Oregon State Fair," said Mitch Hoss. "And we look forward to announcing those new rides in the not-too-distant future."
     But before the automated ticketing system "wows" them at the biggest stop on their route, Rainier  Amusement debuted the new midway at a parking lot event, the Spring Break Carnival in Yakima, Washington. "The system is transparent, financially it makes sense," said Crystal Hoss.

    Metrics & Scheduling
    In addition to removing cash from the midway, removing pilfering and making financial accounting more accurate, Crystal Hoss pointed out that generating new data and metrics will improve the fledgling carnival company in the long run. "All the reporting is done by the system, and you can run different reports for the fair to see and for your own use," she said. "You can see what games and rides are doing better."

    She added, "amusement parks run on a system where you just swipe a card, and we felt we could have a bigger impact if we were able to bring that system to our fairs. It provides great customer service, you can run different promotions. For the smaller events, it makes sense because they don't have the staff, so we eliminate all the hand counting and weighing of tickets. They love the idea. Everything is online now, no matter what size fair you play."  
    "Customers love the system," said Rhew. "It cuts down on labor and costs"

    According to Rhew, the Funcard computer program is 16 years old, making it one of the oldest in counting use in the fair industry. "We keep updating the system and adding features."

    One new feature is a ticket printing system.  In case of system failure - mainly if a fair's Wi-Fi connection is lost, usually temporarily - midway companies bring back-up ticket rolls. The new feature is a ticket printing system for users, "this allows the carnival company to go right to tickets, we are cutting costs and saving time." 

    The core of the ticketless system, with its money-saving digital accuracy and new reporting mechanism, has already been accepted on a larger scale, but Rainier Amusement incorporating the Funcard indicates those advantages have similar appeal to smaller scale events.  "You don't need 60 or 70 rides to see double digit savings with the Funcard," said Rhew.  "It doesn't take a large spot or a 100 ride show, the smaller companies can have equally good results."

    While Rhew declined to discuss the cost of the system, he said the major costs are the individual scanners - every ride and game basically requires the staff member to have a scan gun, thus the cost of a system depends on the number of scan guns needed. Rhew said that very small companies, "with only five rides will probably not benefit from the system, but companies the size of Rainier  Amusements, will see savings immediately. By the end of 2016, we expect more of these sized carnival companies will have the Funcard System."





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HEADLINES from the web
4/27/2016
SHOW ROUTES
Houghton Enterprises
St. Gregory Church Carnival
Philadelphia, PA
4/26/2016 - 4/30/2016
Belle City Amusements
World's Big Fish Fry
Paris, TN
4/26/2016 - 5/1/2016
Amusements of America
St. Paul's Carnival
Ramsey, NJ
4/27/2016 - 5/1/2016
Butler Amusements
Merced County Spring Fair
Los Banos, CA
4/27/2016 - 5/1/2016
Butler Amusements
Santa Barbara Fair & Expo
Santa Barbara, CA
4/27/2016 - 5/1/2016
City of Fun Carnival
Safford Carnival
Safford, AZ
4/28/2016 - 5/1/2016
Amusements of America
Sparkleberry Country Fair
Columbia, SC
4/28/2016 - 5/1/2016
INDUSTRY CALENDAR

11/15/2016-11/18/2016
IAAPA Attractions Expo - Orlando, FL
[more info..]

2/7/2017-2/11/2017
I.I.S.F. Gibtown Extravaganza - Gibsonton, FL
[more info..]

2015 TOP 50 FAIRS
1. Texas State Fair - Dallas, TX
2. Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo - Houston, TX
3. Minnesota State Fair - St. Paul, MN
4. San Antonio Livestock Show & Ex. - San Antonio, TX
5. Canadian National Exhibition

View Top 50 Fairs
The Industry Buzz
Wade Shows adds first portable Looping Street Fighter in US
Wade Shows CEO, Frank Zaitshik announced the purchase of yet another new ride for the 2016 season, a Looping Street Fighter from Technical Park.  The Looping Street Fighter is in similar design to the traditional Street Fighter, but it makes a complete 360 degree loop upside down.  The show purchased a used Street Fighter from a showman overseas and Technical Park will be converting it to the looping model at their Italy based facility.  While several Looping Street Fighters have been sold to piers and small amusement parks in the US, Wade's Looping Street Fighter is the first portable version to be owned by a US based Carnival.

The Looping Street Fighter joins a long list of purchases made by Wade Shows for the 2016 season - totaling over $5 million.  Earlier, Wade Shows announced the purchase of a 45 meter Giant Wheel in partnership with Wood Entertainment.  The Show also added a Zero Gravity from Battech, a Puppy Roll from Featherstone, a Dumbo ride from Kolmax-Plus, and a used Jungle Twist coaster.  The show also is having its Zipper re-manufactured by Chance Rides, which will be like new and feature the manufacturers new open air tub design.  Posted by Matt Cook on 4/25/2016
Chance Rides President, Mike Chance, passes
Statement from Dick Chance, CEO Chance Rides and father:

"Yesterday our family and company suffered a tremendous loss. Our son and company president Mike Chance lost his long‐term and well‐fought battle with depression. Mike had suffered from this tough disease for years and had faithfully sought treatment and relief from its effects. Like any other disease that is not yet well understood, depression is often difficult to successfully treat.  

We are proud of Mike for bravely fighting this disease for years while living a full and rich life as a wonderful husband and father, son, grandson, brother, friend and a great company leader. He was a triathlete who competed alongside friends in Iron Man triathlons across the country.  

Mike valiantly fought this disease while focusing on doing great work together with our employees so the fact that he had this disease will come as a surprise to many who knew him.  Just as with other diseases that take our loved ones too early, our family's hope is that research into the treatment for depression will advance. And that those seeking relief from this disease will find a path to successful treatment."

Mike Chance died Tuesday, April 19 at age 42. Service arrangements and memorials are pending. Chance Rides announced the news to employees this morning and is offering ongoing grief counseling for its 100 employees. 

A celebration of Mike's life will be held Wednesday, April 27, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church 1550 N. Chapel Hill Drive, Wichita, KS 67206. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the following organizations:  
KidzCope, 9415 E. Harry, Suite 501, Wichita, KS 67207
Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas, 555 N. Woodlawn, Suite 3105, Wichita, KS 67208.    


  Posted by Dick Chance Press Release on 4/20/2016
Wisdom Rides Walter Williams passes
Long time Wisdom Rides parts department supervisor, Walter Williams passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, April 8, 2016.  

He lived his youth all over the world as an "Army Brat". It was a life he loved and one that led him to join the United States Air Force on his 17th birthday. He served 8 years, being stationed in the U.S. and Korea. He was a part of the effort in shipping of all ammunition at Kunsan Air Base to the Vietnam War. While a member of the Air Force, he also received numerous citations for various services. He was honorably discharged in December of 1967. He was then employed at Coors Brewery in Golden until he was forced to resign after developing asthma which rendered him allergic to the hops. He and his family the moved to Sterling, where he worked for Evans Railcar until its plant closed. In December of 1987, he went to work at Wisdom Manufacturing where he worked in purchasing and selling until his death. He loved his work.

Visitation will be from 4 pm to 6:30 pm Tuesday, April 12 at Tennant Funeral Home in Sterling, Colorado. Vigil and Rosary evening service will follow at 7 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:00 am Wednesday, April 13 at St. Anthony's Catholic Church with Father Michael Bodzioch celebrating.
  Posted by Matt Cook / Obiturary on 4/11/2016
Tim Murphy Passes
We regret to inform you of the passing of Tim Murphy. 

Funeral arrangements are as follows:

Monday March 21
9:00 visitation followed by service at
St. Augustine Church  
1910 West Belle St.
Belleville, IL 62226

  Posted by Matt Cook on 3/15/2016
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
In our efforts to chronicle the history of our industry, we could think of no better way to further this endeavor than to interview industry pioneers and preserve their videos for posterity.

MODERN MIDWAYS - BOOKING CONCESSIONS & RIDES

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