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Rosedale Attractions Purchases The Assets of Billet Amusements

2/3/2016

By Don Muret

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Rosedale Attractions and Shows has purchased the assets tied to the old Billet Amusements of York, Pa., which has gone out of business. The purchase covered 16 rides and a generator and Rosedale made the decision to keep six pieces, said Tom Gaylin, the show's owner and operator

The rides Gaylin decided to keep as part of the acquisition include a Zipper, Roundup, Cobra and a carousel. In turn, he swapped the Cobra and Roundup for an Orbiter from Sherwood Attractions, owned by Roger Wadkins, maker of the Expo Wheel. The transaction did not include any dates. "The route was in turmoil by the time they sold the show," Gaylin said.

Rosedale's headquarters and winter quarters are in Baltimore County, Md. The family now lives in Ruskin, Fla., not far from Gibsonton, home of the carnival inPhoto By dustry's annual trade show. Tom and his wife, Barb run the show full-time, assisted by their twin sons, Jason and Joey, both 33 years old. In a few years, Jason and Joey are expected to take over the show that has now expanded to six generations, according to the carnival's web site.

"I'm semi-retired or retired, depending on which family member you talk to," said Gaylin, who's already retired from his side job as an amateur wrestling referee after officiating in 32 NCAA championships. "The boys are excited [to take over]. They're good kids and complement each other. One is a builder, the other is a bookworm."

The carnival dates to 1928, when it was known as Eastern Amusement Company, a two-ride operation that played the streets of Baltimore. The show's name changed to Rosedale Attractions after moving to Rosedale, Md., in unincorporated Baltimore County. Ann and Tom Gaylin Sr., Tom's grandparents, expanded the operation to eight rides before turning the business over to Tom Gaylin Jr. in 1966. Twenty years later, Tom Gaylin III assumed control of the carnival in 1986 and expanded its name to Rosedale Attractions and Shows.

Rosedale owns about 40 rides and plays events in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The carnival sticks within a 150-mile radius of Baltimore on purpose to keep everybody fairly close to home, Gaylin said. The show picked up two county fairs for 2016, the Clarke County Fair in Berryville, and the Amelia County Fair in Amelia, outside Richmond.

"We have consolidated our route and are going out later this year in the last week of April," Gaylin said. "We will stay out later too, until late October into early November."

Gaylin is a member of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association board of directors, and does not use international labor on his show. Instead, he provides his employees with some perks and advantages over what other shows provide their workers.

"We're fortunate to think outside the box to create ways to keep Americans working," he said. " We do the necessary drug and background checks and we treat people as human beings. We pay a fair wage. I don't pay salaries; I pay by the hour and that's key. You pay a person a $350 salary for 40 hours a week and then ask them to work overtime without pay, they resent it. Then you've created a monster."

Rosedale's seasonal labor sleeps in portable dorms, an upgrade over the traditional bunkhouse, Gaylin said. The air-conditioned dorms have 64 square feet of floor space with a closet and storage space, and are equipped with microwave ovens, refrigerators and televisions. 

"We spent a lot of money on those dorms," Gaylin said. "The tradition of our industry is when they hire someone, they become a ride operator who also does setup and teardown, and becomes [an equipment] driver and maintenance man. On our show, we hire individuals for separate jobs. We let them decide what to do."


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