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2019 AIMS International Safety Award presented to Ronald E. Burback

2019 AIMS Lifetime Contribution Award presented to Gary Slade

ATHOL, Idaho – Ronald E. Burback was presented with the 2019 AIMS International Safety Award during the Golden Ticket Awards held Saturday, September 7, at Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, Idaho. The Award, presented to Ron by AIMS Executive Director, Mary Jane Brewer and AIMS board member, Roger Berry, recognizes a person or organization that has made a significant impact or contribution in improving safety in the amusement industry by demonstrating leadership, innovation, and foresight.

In presenting the award, Roger Berry commented that Ron, who, together with his wife and business partner, Beverly, is the owner of Funtastic Shows. Ron has had an illustrious career with many honors and recognition for his work in the amusement industry and in his communities. As part of the portable industry, Ron has been a leader of the Showman’s League of America, OABA, the Carnival Guild, Northwestern Showman’s Club, IAFE and AIMS. His focus on safety is evident in his work with ASTM F24 advocating for the portable industry.

Ron’s professional background includes over 35 years of operating amusement parks in Portland, Oregon. Additionally, he has more than 50 years of experience operating carnival attractions at fairs, centennials, world fairs and festivals from North Pole, Alaska to Memphis, Tennessee and many stops in between. In 1997 he won a national award for producing the best festival in America.

Ron is currently an OABA Trustee, Finance Chairman for the Northwest Showman’s Club and a member of the Legislative Committee for the Northwestern Showman’s Club, He is a Shriner, a 3rd Degree Mason and a Knight of the Royal Rosarians. Ron enjoys being a community service volunteer, riding his Harley and is an avid book reader.

In accepting the award, Ron Burback remarked that he was honored to receive this award from AIMS,

and shared some history about how safety has been an integral part of his business model from the very beginning, when he started his company with Robert Bollinger in 1971. He went on to thank his wife, Beverly, for her support and passion for safety, as well. He also thanked all of those who have contributed to safety awareness in the portable industry.

Following the presentation of the AIMS Safety Award, Mary Jane Brewer called on Harold Hudson, the first winner of the AIMS Safety Award, to announce the surprise recipient of The AIMS Lifetime Contribution Award, which was created in 2018 to recognize an individual or organization with outstanding dedication and service to AIMS International. That 2019 winner this award was Gary Slade, Founder and Publisher of Amusement Today.

When Harold took the podium he first thanked his wife, Betty Lynn, for her support of his career and went on to remark that Gary began his career at Six Flags Over Texas in 1978. Following many years of personally promoting the industry he founded Amusement Today in 1997 and has continually provided timely industry news to manufactures and the industry at large. Gary, as editor in chief of Amusement Today, has always focused on current events, safety, and positive developments in the industry.

Since its beginning, Amusement Today has included industry safety features but starting in 2017 Gary dedicated a complete section of the paper to promoting safety by presenting timely safety articles from manufacturers, operators and industry experts. 

Gary, a past AIMS board member, also supports the industry uniquely through the Golden Ticket Awards, now a major industry event, the “Extra! Extra! Desktop Edition” providing “now” news to the industry, and the National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives a showcase for industry history typically highlighted by the manufacturers role.

Gary has always supported the industry and is frequently contacted by media outlets and researchers regarding industry news, statistics and safety. He has always represented the industry credibly and accurately while promoting its true character.

Gary, who was a surprise recipient of this award, remarked that he has always valued safety in the amusement industry, and went on to share a story from early in his career, when he was a ride operator, that shaped his perspective and made him a huge proponent of safety and that caused him to advocate for safety every chance he gets. He thanked his staff at Amusement Today for their support and the AIMS Board Members for this illustrious award.

About The AIMS International Safety Award

Created in 2016, The AIMS International Safety Award is presented annually to the individual or organization that demonstrates leadership, innovation, and foresight in improving safety in the amusement industry. With safety as the industry’s #1 concern for amusement industry guests and employees worldwide, efforts in improving safety are shown in many forms: the design and implementation of new products and technology, the development of safety education programs and training, and by exemplary leadership in influencing others. The 2016 AIMS Safety Award was presented to Harold Hudson followed by Har Kupers in 2017 and then to Patrick Hoffman in 2018.

Nominations for the AIMS Safety Award are submitted by individuals within the amusement industry and the winner is selected by a vote of AIMS International’s board of directors. The award is presented annually during the Golden Ticket Awards.

About The AIMS Lifetime Contribution Award

Created in 2018, The AIMS Lifetime Contribution Awardrecognizes outstanding dedication and service to AIMS International. The first AIMS Lifetime Contribution Award was presented posthumously to Mark Moore.

About AIMS International

AIMS International is a non-profit 501(c)(6) association dedicated to improving amusement Industry safety through leadership in education. AIMS International provides training classes and certification (CEU) programs for ride inspectors, operations, aquatics and maintenance personnel through its annual Safety Seminar and at other venues throughout the year. The 2020 AIMS Safety Seminar will be held in Galveston, Texas, January 12-17, 2020.

AIMS also serves to inform its members on legislative and other issues relating to the amusement industry and presents an Annual Safety Award recognizing a person or organization that has made a significant impact or contribution in improving safety in the amusement industry.