Mike Gill, president of ARM reported that their business has been very good. The company has been keeping busy with production of new Vertigo and Rock Star rides, and was excited to report the sale of the second Frenzy thrill ride to Robbie Hauser of West Coast Amusements. The Frenzy is best described as a giant park-style swing ride that propels riders back and forth over the midway. The piece first debuted four years ago and the only model produced belongs to Billy Tucker, owner of Dixieland Carnival. ARM will also be delivering a new Rock Star to Windy City Amusements this April and another will be delivered to an East Coast show during the same time.
"About 80% of our business is portable rides", said Gill. "We have heard concern from a lot of show owners who are apprehensive about the H2B visa situation, however, we have not cancelled any sales due to it. We've had just as much interest this year as in years past and it doesn't appear to be slowing us down."
The company has plans to develop a new major ride for 2019, however, details have yet to be announced on the concept. ARM will be displaying at the IISF Trade Show this February, however, they still debating whether to bring a ride for display.
This past February, ARM built a Super Shot outfitted with virtual reality equipment for the Super Bowl in Houston, Texas. The ride was named Journey to Mars and had a space theme. Riders would wear a virtual reality headset while riding the drop tower, which completely changed the dynamic of the ride. "It was a tremendous experience. While riding, you had no idea that you were 90ft in the air. You were completely submerged in the experience", Gill recalled of the ride.
Journey to Mars was free to ride for all attendees of the pre-Super Bowl festivities. "It ran nonstop 12 hours per day for a total of 14 days. Nobody got sick, and nobody was injured", explained Gill. Unfortunately, the virtual reality experience is not well suited for the carnival industry. Because the equipment is put on the rider's head, it must be properly sanitized after each use, set up for which many carnivals are not ready. The experience also requires additional employees to run smoothly, another impediment for the carnival industry.
KMG & New Rides Europe
Peter Theunsiz, owner of New Rides Europe was busy in and out of meetings the first two days of the trade show, finalizing deals for new sales as well as details on sales made prior to the trade show. Theunsiz represents KMG, Lambrink Dutch Giant Wheels, and Battech Rides.
This January, a brand new RL-33 Dutch Giant Wheel will be delivered to Talley Amusements at the Ft. Worth Stock Show in Ft. Worth, Texas. The new wheel will have a spectacular LED light package on both sides, additional lighting on the gondolas, stainless steel fencing, a Hollywood style front entrance, a sound system, and safety screens on the gondolas. In March, Lamberink will also deliver a RL-46 Giant Wheel to Broadway at The Beach Shopping Center in Myrtle Beach, SC.
On the KMG side of the business, a Speed will be delivered to Kissel Entertainment during the Gibtown Trade Show and a second to Skerbeck Entertainment Group in June. In May, Larry and Kim Sankowsky of ARMCO will take delivery of a KMG Inversion, that will be fully loaded with a lot of extras. The new Inversion will include additional winches for setup and teardown, lighting on the tower legs, an operator booth, and additional scenery panels below the trailer.
A KMG Discovery, themed Tsunami, will be delivered to Broadway at the Beach Shopping Center in Myrtle Beach this spring. This will be the first KMG Tsunami (Discovery) ride of its kind in the USA, and Theunsiz hopes it will catch on in the portable market. KMG will also be delivering a Speed to Deggeller Attractions in November of 2018. At the close of the show on Wednesday, a deal was in the works for a new KMG piece for a show in the USA. Currently, KMG production is booked through 2019.
Paul Muller, owner of OA Financing, was on hand at the Rides 4-U Booth, offering financial assistance to customers of Rides 4-U and KMG. "The industry appears to be in a buying mood", Muller said.
"We've seen shows who have had trouble getting help downsize from 1.5 units to 1 unit, but the overall mood of the industry seems positive."
Stay tuned for continued coverage of the 2017 IAAPA Expo.