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2023 Gibtown Trade Show Well Represented by Manufacturers from US and Europe
Equipment Solutions International Debuts New Family Swing; Eli Bridge Continues Sales of Scrambler and Wheel Products

Wisdom Rides of America Showcased a New Alien Abduction
The new piece will be delivered to Alex Arnold of Arnolds Amusements following the trade show.

Rides 4U - New & Used Rides Hildebrand Rides is now booking
It was another beautiful sunny day for the IISA Trade Show on Thursday, February 16th.  Crowds were steady throughout and vendors and suppliers continued to report steady sales.  Some people could be heard walking around and lamenting the “old days” when the show was full of equipment, but if you looked hard enough, there were many manufacturers and suppliers who made the trek to Gibtown.

Sellner Manufacturing once told Carnival Warehouse that bringing a ride to the show long ago was easy.  You could bring an unsold ride and sell it at the show.  Back then though, the ride was a red Tilt A Whirl with very few options.  Now, just about everything is custom built, so bringing an unsold ride is a much more speculative endeavor. 

The show has manufacturers from Europe such as Bertazzon, Technical Park, Moser, SBF, Lamerink, KMG, and Gosetto as well as Wisdom, Wadkins,  Fredricksen, Battech, Eli Bridge, Majestic, Dalton, ADM and others from the US.


Equipment Solutions International

Steve Lisko and Tommy Coffing were in the Equipment Solutions International Booth, representing Italian manufacturers.  They had their new swing ride on display which was getting a lot of attention from attendees.

The ride being exhibited was sold to Wright's Amusements, but they have since sold three more to Trans America Amusements, Brown's Amusements and MidWest Shows.

Lisko and Coffing said the ride was receiving a lot of attention because it has a nice presence on the midway, standing 40 feet tall, with beautiful painted mural and dazzling lights.  The ride also has a large capacity, holding 40 at a time and it is a ride for both kids and adults; a true family ride.

Perhaps best of all, the ride is easy to set up and tear down, taking only 2 hours to go up or down.  In addition to the swing ride, Lisko said he was closing some deals on kiddie rides which we we hope to reveal here tomorrow. 

In addition to the family and kid rides, Equipment Solutions International also represents Technical Park, with a wide array of attractions.

Tommy Coffing & Stephen Lisko of Equipment Solutions International


Eli Bridge

For over 100 years, Eli Bridge has been making some of the most iconic amusement rides in the US, including the Scrambler and the #5 and #16 wheels.  Just about every carnival in the US has had, and continues to operate, one of these two attractions.  Parks as well come to Eli Bridge for permanent versions of the attractions.

With such a large market share in the carnival and amusement park business, the company has found some interesting new outlets for its equipment.

One of the largest new customers for Eli Bridge is not a carnival or park but Scheels, a sporting goods company based in North Dakota.  The company has 31 locations in 14 states.  In 2012,  Scheels announced it would be opening a new flagship store in Overland Park, KS.  When the store opened in 2015, not only did it have entertainment options for shoppers, but an Eli Wheel in the middle of the store. 

Tim Noland, General Manager of Eli Bridge, says the goal is to keep guests in the store with activities, and that in turn helps to ring the cash register.  Noland relates the stores sell $1 wooden tokens for the ride, which are purchased in the store.

Eli installs the rides and briefs the employees on maintenance while a third party inspection company trains employees on the safe operation of the wheels. 

The company has now installed more than 10 rides in Scheels stores, some #5s and a few #16s and the partnership between the two family owned businesses has continued to grow.


Moser Rides

Stefano Moser of Moser rides was among the Europeans who were happy to be in Florida in February. 

The company was proud to be presenting their portable ride models, which they are trying to sell to expand their market.  Moser hopes the portable models will be popular for the US and hence, his trip to Gibsonton.

Among the rides being offered by Moser are 30 - 45' tower rides which can be made in even larger sizes, a Speed Flip ride which is a spectacular ride like an Orbiter but has free spinning gondolas, and they are also bringing back a portable version of his Swing Ride, the Dream Machine.

Moser recalls selling a portable model of the ride to Jim Murphy of Bluegrass Shows 1993.  The ride opened in Nashville, TN to rave reviews and received a lot of attention in the US market.

The Speed Flip hold 24 riders at a time and is about a 6-8 hour set up.  The towers on the other hand, have 10 seats and take only 2 hours or so to set up, making moving the ride, in a market with labor shortages, a big advantage.

Moser said he received attention from not only US buyers in Gibtown but also from ride operators from Australia, the Uk and Canada who were attending the show.


World's Finest Shows

Speaking of Canadian Shows, World's Finest Shows was busy looking at rides and ticketing solutions after a couple of down seasons due to Covid.  “We only hope this year is 1/2 as good as last year”, enthused Patrick Jamieson of WFS. 

Jameison was so ready to get back to work during the Pandemic that he kept a detailed account of how long he was out. Holding out his phone, it read, 21 months, 92 weeks, 642 days, 15,406 hours and 924,366 minutes — the amount of time the show was closed before re-opening.

WFS operates approximately 40 rides on two units in Ontario and they were forced to condense the units a bit due to labor shortages after the Pandemic.  For instance, they only operated their Himalaya one week last year due to lack of help.  The show has had to hire over 20 foreign laborers to keep things on the road.

Jamieson purchased a used Lifetime bunkhouse as well as a funnel cake trailer from Danny Ottaway.  He is also researching ticketing options in hopes of finding a ticketless solution to combat his shortage of employees, including ticket sellers.
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