done with it
Thursday, August 16, 2012 8:43:21 PM
Originally Posted by: Scott 

Justin; It's not about 4 sky wheels. It's about Showmanship and style. Todays owners or most of them don't have style or showmen's way of thinking.

Ray Cammack is a good example... they buy their rides from the same place everyone else buys theirs, but they have a different vision than the rest. Yeah I know they have 1 Millon plus crowds at their fair, but today if you don't do something different than your competion you wont look any different.

Conklin Shows featured European Spectaculars, Royal American had a Circus aura with a different style front gate, the light towers, the big shows, the train, the organ and unique rides.

These days the only thing that seperates show x from show z is the color of their canvas.

I saw a bumper sticker that said... "Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did but in heels and backwards".... those shows I mentioned did it Ginger Rogers style.



agree!!,I was just thinking a show with over 200 rides,they could mix it up,every
Once and awhile,im sorry but people do notice,when the same stuff
Is there year after year!!!!!!
chuck
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Thursday, August 16, 2012 8:47:56 PM
Some are forgetting that the east coast and midwest are shark infested waters compared to the west. Too much competition. Where shows like Butler and RCS don't have these worries. Yes they do play to million plus crowds every year but the dates they play are a month or so longer then what you see in the east.

Personally that photo looks fine to me. Is it really a big deal not to see some 4 trailer monster ride(s) on the midway? Not really.
chuck
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Thursday, August 16, 2012 8:50:45 PM
Originally Posted by: done with it 

agree!!,I was just thinking a show with over 200 rides,they could mix it up,every
Once and awhile,im sorry but people do notice,when the same stuff
Is there year after year!!!!!!



Since we're bringing up RCS, they bring pretty in almost all the same stuff year after year. I don't hear people complaining about it and it all still makes money.
thunderbolt85
Thursday, August 16, 2012 9:14:11 PM
"Justin; It's not about 4 sky wheels. It's about Showmanship and style. Todays owners or most of them don't have style or showmen's way of thinking."

Scott, you hit the nail right on the head. It was showmanship and style that helped so much. Show owners became very creative in ways to "flash" their shows and be different. I think in society as a whole now a days there is to much of everyone trying to be the same, "everyone is equal", when everyone is not. But that doesn't mean people don't have special talents and can demostrate them. Why shouldn't carnivals still paint their rolling stock up to be flashy, if you are keeping the trucks in good shape shouldn't be a problem.

Look at that picture of Royal American, you can see about 4 different wheels, not all Sky Wheels, but different wheels (Space Wheels, Sky Diver, S.Wheel, and a standard wheel). Today most of the time you get one wheel, and if there is more than one they are all regular giant wheels. All the color and high rides are beautiful, and more importantly can help attract business. I believe we can "go back" to those glory days but everyone has to work together. Image is lot in this business.
chuck
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Thursday, August 16, 2012 9:32:48 PM
I love reading these old versus new debates.

Ok I have a question? How much did the Space Wheels cost back then and now compare that price to the La Grande Wheel. What was the average wage back then? Where did the help sleep? How much was diesel fuel back then? What was the minimum for insurance and liability? What type of safety gear was provided for the help such as harnesses, lanyards, hard hats? What about medical coverage for the help? What about workman's comp claims? What about providing company uniforms to all of it's employees? What did that cost in the old days? What about dot regulations, IFTA tags, motor carrier permits. What did that all cost in the old days.
Scott
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Thursday, August 16, 2012 10:47:10 PM
Originally Posted by: chuck 

I love reading these old versus new debates.

Ok I have a question? How much did the Space Wheels cost back then and now compare that price to the La Grande Wheel. What was the average wage back then? Where did the help sleep? How much was diesel fuel back then? What was the minimum for insurance and liability? What type of safety gear was provided for the help such as harnesses, lanyards, hard hats? What about medical coverage for the help? What about workman's comp claims? What about providing company uniforms to all of it's employees? What did that cost in the old days? What about dot regulations, IFTA tags, motor carrier permits. What did that all cost in the old days.



Chuck you make some good points, however both the Seattle Wheel and the Space Wheels cost 250,000 each I beleve, and by todays standerds thats not much, but back in the day, that was more than most shows in the US was worth!

Yes all the cost of labor, fuel, and other stuff, but back then... they did it for 10 cent, and 25 cent a ride... Like I said... High heels and backwards! LOL
godsonsafari
Thursday, August 16, 2012 11:43:44 PM
As a dude who never worked in the carnival business and never went anywhere substantial in the amusement park one, I can't really speak from any great place of experience there. As a guy who travels around a lot and rides stuff though, I feel willing to throw my two cents in. You see shows these days paring down to smaller attractions, but ultimately from my perspective, you're seeing attractions that aren't markedly different than they've ever been in terms of scope and size. The biggest difference from my perspective is the dissemination of information through the internet. I can open a First Drop magazine or hit a german language site and see all the routes for every major European showman. The other big difference over 40-50 years ago is the fairgrounds themselves. Places like Toronto and Dallas had permanent attractions (dark rides, wood coasters) that stayed put year round. Count the number of fairs like that now; I've got Pullayup, Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, and the Wildcat sitting in Marietta, GA with midway rides parked year round. That ain't a whole helluva lot.

I think what ride companies have managed to accomplish in building some significant and interesting one trailer flats over the last 20 years is commendable. Long term I'd love to see bigger stuff in the States. Who wouldn't? Sitting at home only hearing voices from friends and reading here, my sense is that the number of companies will contract more and more and you'll see larger and larger companies with several units running a variety of routes throughout the central/eastern US. You're gonna see someone like an NAME or Wade that runs 10-12 spots in a single weekend in the not too distant future IMO.
JustinJames
Friday, August 17, 2012 12:42:51 AM
I grew up in the days where Pugh Shows would set rides like the Flitzer and such at a still date.. and Wade with rides like the Rainbow, Huss Pirat and other beasts at every date the unit played. I know what you mean.
Rockowheel
Friday, August 17, 2012 8:25:41 AM
Interesting to mention in the not-too-distant past, that the big midways actually had a larger total of the standard rides, before the super-spectaculars started entering the scene requiring bigger footprints; of course those rides' capacities were much larger than the smaller majors such as a Roll-o-plane, Loop, etc.etc.
thunderbolt85
Friday, August 17, 2012 8:30:43 AM
Yeah, I agree that costs are way up and there are more of them, but as one person stated as well, they didn't charge as much for the tickets either. What Al paid for those two rides was unheard of in that day, and was more than most shows were worth. Still there are some shows that still put on a good show, Strates still carries three full size music rides and then books more at times. Powers brought a Sky Diver back to life, Wade has bought a Tip Top which I thought was unusual, more Huss rides are hitting the road again. Maybe we will see those days again someday.
tiltcharles
Friday, August 17, 2012 9:58:08 AM
Guys the fact is that this conversation is a result of not so exciting midways that we all wish would be like the good old days. Truth is there are some shows that will furnish a jam up midway still. examples - wade, rcs, funtastic. so always remember the stuff is still out there some where.
hrubetz76
Friday, August 17, 2012 11:30:08 AM
I completely agree with the Showmanship aspect of the business. For example, has anyone ever seen Majestic Midways fleet of Tractors? All of them are painted with a beautiful blue and white color scheme. It almost reminds you of blue tiger stripes going across the hood and the scoop of the tractor that is all painted on a white basecoat. And then each blue stripe is pinstriped with dark blue pinstripe tape. I was the painter for the show for about 3 winters and yes it is a little more work and money to accomplish such a thing but it reaks "Showmanship" when all 9 or 10 of the tractors are lined up at a 45 degree angle on a high foot traffic area of the lot for the public to purposely see. Some customers would even line up their families to take photos in front of the trucks it was so impressive. Some might say who cares but most customers know who Majestic Midways is and don't mind spending the extra money for a quality show. People take notice of way more than a lot of us give them credit for. They may not say anything but they are thinking it. Even the uniforms used to be a Blue shirt and white shorts with white sneakers and the male operators were required to wear a Majestic Midways hat. If they weren't in proper uniform they could not work. They have since changed to Maroon colored shirt and khaki colored shorts but to me that speaks volume to the customers. It could also be why Majestic Midways is doing so well compared to a lot of other shows. I believe it's a snowball effect. Nice show, more customers, better contracts, etc... Majestic has a proven track record of that. Just my two cents which I think makes sense.
chuck
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Friday, August 17, 2012 5:06:10 PM
Originally Posted by: tiltcharles 

Guys the fact is that this conversation is a result of not so exciting midways that we all wish would be like the good old days. Truth is there are some shows that will furnish a jam up midway still. examples - wade, rcs, funtastic. so always remember the stuff is still out there some where.



I don't see your point of what was so great about the old days. The midways of today are far better looking and more exciting. Matching canvas, employees in uniforms, plants and landscaping around the entrances and exits of all attractions, game and food booths, office complex, and the midway entrance. Today's shows are moving forward, but with a different mind set. Enhancements. Making the best of what you already own, but making it better with new paint jobs, different lighting, etc. Which costs a lot less the running over to Holland to buy a Space Roller. That's moving forward. Sure we're seeing big pieces slowly make their way over here, but look who's buying them. Independent operators not the shows.

If we're still discussing the photo in the post, I really don't see what some are seeing. I mean the equipment looks clean, bright, and safe. That's the main priorites. If the fair is hitting or exceeding their projected numbers with what's there, than I don't see why you have to reinvent the wheel. There's nothing wrong with adding new stuff but you don't always need a Tango, or a Flipper to do it.
Rockowheel
Friday, August 17, 2012 6:56:17 PM
It all boils down to opinions that's all. I personally will spend my $$ to go to an old traditional amusement park like Kennywood or Knoebels before laying down my cash to go to a mega-super sanitized-six flags type theme park where I have to wait four hours in line to get on a ride. I feel the same way towards carnivals, I'll travel a distance to see e.g. an old Eyerly ride still operating before going to some local show that has everything another show has the next town over. We like what we like, that's all.
Jackpotter
Friday, August 17, 2012 8:38:59 PM
Originally Posted by: thunderbolt85 

And one other thing while I am on it, Fairs can not survive without carnivals (not on a large scale). Fairs need to understand when they demand these high %s that is really hurting the customer because a show can't bring in more equipment, liked booked. A carnival has to make a profit, and they can't buy those big rides and fill up those midways when they have to pay so much to the fair. Or you get midways with only one music ride that is a one trailer unit. And high gate's are hurting as well, one fair in this area charges about $8 a person, while the state fair (with a midway triple in size) only charges $10? If people are going to spend that much money a lot of times they will just go to an amusement park. I understand fairs have expenses, but think of the expenses a carnival has (high rides, fuel, labor, CDL junk, inspections, insurance, taxes, etc). A lot of shows do still put on a great midway, but if we want to return to the "glory" days, there has to be a balance. I miss those big rides as much as any one, but a man can't go broke trying to move them.




I see your point, but when you are the carnival owner, don't you expect the Fair to pull their weight and produce events that will draw crowds too? Truck Pull Promoters/Producers, Demo Derby Producers and other motorsports producers are chargin anywhere from $3000 to $10,000. Heck a simple rodeo can cost $15,000 to put on. So from the Fair side, how do you make that money if you don't get it at the gate?

I don't really know what the answer is. The stronger county fairs are the ones who have good solid community support from businesses and can sell sponsorships. But small county fairs have a really hard time with that in some areas.

I do think that the most potential issue you bring up is a fair charging a high % on the contract AND having a high gate too.