Board of Governors and Trustees
|BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Peter Andrews Past President
Peter Andrews was the first Chicago born and raised President since Paul Olsen in 1960. He attended the Chicago Latin School and the Francis Park Academy. He worked hard in the business and was on Royal American Shows where everyone was truly a gentleman. When he was young he had an accident and was in the hospital for 20 days. One day a very nice gentleman came into the hospital to visit him and told him “Don’t worry kid, the Showmen’s League of America will take care of your needs” – and that gentleman was Noble Case. From that day on he has had a true affinity with the Showmen’s League. One of the high points of his life was to hold the Presidency of the League. Now a days, he’s a little older and set in his ways and doesn’t like to go to far away from his wife and his home. Past President Peter Andrews and his wife reside in Miami, Florida.
Chris Atkins was raised in Austin, TX. He is the son of Past President Tom Atkins and Margaret Atkins of the Mighty Thomas Carnival. He graduated from Rocky Mountain College in Billings, MT with a BS in History and Political Science Education. Besides a stint as a radioman in the US Army he has been involved in the amusement industry his entire life. He is happily married to Kristin Clair Atkins and between the two of them they have five family members that have or currently are serving as Showmen’s League of America Presidents.
Paul has been in the business traveling on the Mighty Thomas Carnival for over 40 years. He grew up near Sioux Falls, SD and now spends his off season months in Montana. Paul has one daughter, Aria, three granddaughters; Desirae, Samantha, and Kaya.
Tom Atkins Past President
Tom Atkins was raised on a farm in South Dakota where he attended and graduated from the South Dakota State University with a major in Zoology. Tom was a ranger qualified Infantry Officer in the US Army with service in South Vietnam. He started working for Thomas Carnival as a summer job while attending college and has been in the business full time since 1971. Tom is the President and General Manager of Thomas Carnival, Inc. He has been married to his wonderful wife Margaret for 42 years, they have two children, Chris and Alison and two grandchildren.
Jeffrey Blomsness Past President
Jeffrey Blomsness was born in Iowa, raised in Wisconsin and has resided in Illinois since 1974. He is the President of All Star Amusement Company since 1974 to 2009. He is a Principal and one of the founding members of North American Midway Entertainment. Jeff has a BA from the University of Wisconsin. He is a US Army Officer as a Captain of Airmobile Field Artillery. He was the Chairman of the OABA in 2000, President of the Showmens League of America in 2002, Executive Council Member Northwest Suburban Council Boy Scouts of America since 1995, Owner of Blackwater North Training Center for 15 years. He was a Partner of Fundways of Illinois for 10 years and partner of Thebault- Blomsness Inc. from 1974 to 2009 with one great partner Steve Thebault. He has one brother Andy and is married to the beautiful Patti Blomsness for 35 years and they have one daughter Kristina and one son, Robert.
Ron Burback Past President
Ron Burback of Portland, OR has been in the amusement business for 62 years. He is married to his fabulous wife and partner Beverly for 54 years. Ron and Beverly own and operate Funtastic Shows Inc. Ron has a Bachelor of Science with his main area of concentration in Economics. Ron is an avid Harley rider and is involved in many industry organizations.
Joe Burum, Secretary
Joe Burum was born in Amarillo, TX. He graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Accounting and spent the next fifteen years in sales and management with Consolidated Freightways. In 1993 he and an investor group purchased Waterloo Tent. Joe later became the sole owner before selling the company in 2009. He lives with his wife Melissa Bass in Atlanta. Joe is the Executive Secretary for the Showmen’s League of America.
Dick Chance Past President
Dick Chance was born in Wichita, KS in 1947. He started in the amusement industry at the age of 3 helping his father, Harold operate a steam train at Joyland Park. Dick worked in the shop throughout high school helping build trains and amusement rides. He graduated from Fort Hays State University in Kansas and started full time managing with Chance Manufacturing Co., Inc. Dick is married to Carol and they have three children, Amie, Mike and John who are all involved in Chance Rides Mfg, Inc.
Jean Anne Clair, Past President
Jean Anne Clair was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and grew up in the amusement industry under the leadership of her parents, Hub and Winnie Luehrs. Jean’s family was always active in the Showmen’s League of America, at the age of five she can remember riding on the train to Chicago with her mother for League activities. Jean moved to Hollywood, FL at the age of 17 and majored in Journalism at the University of Florida. She met her lifelong love, Joe Clair in highschool in 1969. Jean Anne was the first chairwomen of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association which was chaired by her father in 1980. The family company, Luehrs Ideal Rides has a long lasting legacy in the amusement business of over 50 successful years. Jean and Joe reside in Jupiter, FL and have two wonderful children, Joe and Kristin. Jean is the second woman President of the Showmen’s League of America.
Sharie Davis was born in DeSmet, SD in 1957. She grew up in the carnival business, working with her father, Richard Vander Vorste, before she married Tom and they started their own carnival. Sharie is a Past President of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Showmen’s League of America and the Pacific Coast Showmen’s Association.
Tom Davis, Past President
Tom Davis was born in San Francisco, CA in 1953. He and his wife Sharie own Davis Enterprises. Tom and Sharie have three children who work in the business with them. Tom is a Past President of Showmen’s League of America, Show folks of America and Pacific Coast Showmen’s Association.
Jimmy Drew III Past President
Jimmy Drew III was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in June of 1945. At this time Jimmy’s parents were working for Gooding Amusement. Jimmy has lived in Augusta, Georgia all his life. He graduated from Hephzibah High School in 1963 and attended Augusta State University for 4 years and during the 4th year his father became ill at the Chattanooga Interstate Fair and Jimmy left college to run the family business, “Drew Expositions”. Jimmy is married to Evangeline Drew, they have 1 son James (Jim) H. Drew IV and one granddaughter Karly Drew. Jimmy is a member of many fraternal and service organizations and served 2 years as commissioner of the Augusta Aviation.
Mike Featherston Past President
Mike Featherston was born and raised in Rockford, IL. Mike started in the business in 1976, joining Jack Thompson Shows. There he met the love of his life, Connie, who happened to be Jack’s daughter. They married in 1979, and eventually took over the show after the untimely passing of Jack in 1986 and his wife, Hope in 1991. They renamed the operation Gold Star Amusements. The show plays dates from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border annually. Mike and Connie have three children, Melissa who is married to Adriaan, Jessica who is married to Tm and Mike who is married to Krissy, who are all involved with the show and two grandchildren, Natalie and Sophia.
John Hanschen Past President
John Hanschen was born in Minneapolis, MN in 1951. He is the secretary-treasurer and co-owner of the Thomas Carnival, Inc of Austin, Texas. He is a graduate of Macalester College, St.Paul with a degree in economics. John and his wife Carolyn have three children: Andrew, Katherine and Michael. John joined the carnival in 1976. He was elected President of the Hot Springs Showmen’s Association in 1993, President of the Showmens League of America in 1999 and was the Chairman of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association in 2007.
Bob Hauser of West Coast Amusement in Langley, British Columbia was born and raised in the amusement industry. Bob is married to Wendy Hauser and they operate the family business “West Coast Amusements”. Bob and Wendy have three beautiful children, Stephanie, Jaclyn and Robbie and 2 wonderful son-in-laws, Rino and Darcy and one beautiful daughter-in-law Tarrah and seven precious grandchildren.
Wendy Hauser has been in the amusement business for 38 years. She attended Douglas College and Simon Fraser University. Her family resides in beautiful British Columbia. She is married to Bob Hauser and they operate the family business “West Coast Amusements”. Bob and Wendy have three beautiful children, Stephanie, Jaclyn and Robbie and 2 wonderful son-in-laws, Rino and Darcy and one beautiful daughter-in-law Tarrah and seven precious grandchildren.
Ron Heftman, Counsel
Ron Heftman is an attorney, practicing in Chicago, IL. He has served as Counsel for the Showmen’s League of America since 1975. He his married to Ronna and they have two sons who are both attorneys. His father, Harry, operated a restaurant “Harry’s Hotdogs” in the Showmen’s League of America building since 1955.
Christine Hoss started in the amusement business with her parents in 1950 when her uncle purchased Rainier Shows. Christine’s mother worked in the show office and then took over the Food Concessions. Christine worked in the Food until she married Howard Hoss and worked in the Games. She received her BA of Education in 1969 and taught for two years before she was married. Howard and Christine finished with Rainier Shows in 1998 and have traveled with West Coast Amusements ever since. She was born in Minneapolis, MN and currently resides in Tacoma, WA. Howard and Christine have two children, Traci and Mitchell and four grandchildren.
Barry Jamieson of Simcoe, Ontario has been in the amusement industry for 50 years. He attended the University of Southern California and is the President of World’s Finest Shows. Barry has two sons, Stacey and Patrick and three grandchildren, Parker, Morgan and Leah.
Dave Jaros was born in 1951 in Chicago, entering the coin-op trade when he was 18. Dave studied electrical engineering at Purdue and in 1999 began working in the food segment of the carnival industry. He plays local fairs and festivals as an independent and is the go-to guy for all things mechanical or electrical at the SLA Building.
Bill Johnson Past President
Bill Johnson was 11 years old when he got his start in the carnival business. At 24 years old, he bought his first ride, by 25 he became a Ride Supervisor for Loop Amusements. In 1985 Fantasy Amusement Company Inc. was started with 8 rides. Bill’s girls, Katie, Kelly and Alyce have all contributed to the families success. Past President Bill, Mary and family live in Arlington Heights, Illinois
Samuel Johnston 2012 President AND Past President
Sam Johnston started as a young boy working for his parents who operated a small amusement business in the 1950’s. His involvement in the business continued through his college years at Sacramento State when he majored in business administration. After college, Sam joined the army and served in Vietnam with the Army Corp. of Engineers. At his discharge he had attained the rank of First Lieutenant and was ready to resume his position at the carnival. During these years, Sam and his wife Gail traveled with Johnston’s Amusements, running nearly every aspect of the show. When his father passed away in 1978, Sam kept the dream alive, booking a handful of rides from the former Johnston’s Amusement with several larger west coast carnivals. A short time later, his new endeavor became Sam Johnston’s Midway of Fun, which he owned and operated until 2002. On March 4, 2002, Sam sold half of his show to longtime manager Harry Mason and retained the other half naming it California Carnival Company. In 1999, he was the President of the prestigious Outdoor Amusement Business Association. He is a past Board member of the Western Fairs Association and is the only carnival operator to be nominated to the Western Fairs Association Hall of Fame. He is guest speaker in fair management classes at California Polytechnic University. Having been involved in the carnival amusement industry for over 40 years, he has also held the position of President of the Showfolks of America.
Jerry Kasin Past President
Jerry has been involved in game concessions for a 'very long time'. He had a significant role in the set-up of the games at Circus Circus in Las Vegas, the city to which he retired. He counts as a notable achievement in his life that he was the Best Man for Wayne Kunz.
Paul Kasin of Belvidere,IL graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelors of Science. He is a part of Kasin concessions est. 1939 which his father Clarence Kasin started at the Riverview Park in Chicago, IL. Paul and his wife Karen have two children each, Kylie and Kevin and Andrew and Danielle. Paul has been a proud member of the SLA for the past 32 years.
Peter Kasin, born Chicago, IL 1956, third generation owner of Kasin Concessions est. 1939 in Grayslake, IL. He is married to Margaret and they have one son Matthew and one daughter Jacqueline. Peter has been a member of the SLA for over 30 years and is a Gold Card Member. Peter is the Christmas Party Chairman and serves on the Scholarship Committee. Peter was the first recipient of the SLA Chicago Scholarship in 1974.
Wayne Kunz Past President
Past President Wayne Kunz was born on December 23rd, 1937 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and grew up in Wisconsin before moving to Tampa as a teenager. He graduated from Brewster Tech High School, in Tampa, in 1957 and was captain of the football, basketball and track teams. He turned down a football scholarship from the then #1 college football team in the nation, Auburn University, to work for his father, Al Kunz. Al had just purchased the L. J. Heth Shows and needed his help. A few years after that, Al had the opportunity to send his new Allen Herschell SkyWheel to the “World’s Fair” in Seattle, Washington in 1962, because the Velare Bros. new project, the “Giant Seattle Wheel” was not yet complete. So, Wayne made history and drove non-stop for 3,200 miles from Birmingham, Alabama to Seattle, Washington in 5 days. Wayne had the Skywheel up for the fair’s opening on May 27th. When the Giant Wheel was ready, the Skywheel was moved out, and replaced it with the new “Seattle Wheel” (Which Al bought during the World’s Fair). Wayne had the task of delivering one of the most famous rides in our industry’s history to its first fair in Jackson, Tennessee.
Wayne became Vice President of the newly named Century 21 Shows, after the World’s Fair. He managed a unit for Century 21 Shows, one of the largest carnivals of its generation, for 25 years. He married Patricia “Tesha” Zielen from Elmhurst, Il. during the Iowa State Fair on August 23rd, 1963, and went back to work that night. It was the biggest kids day of the fair. He and Tesha have 3 children; Scott, Kelly and Todd, and 5 grandchildren. Tesha is the love of his life. He served as President of the Showmen’s League of America and it’s St. Louis Chapter. He also has served as director for the OABA for 2 terms.
After Century 21 Shows was sold, he worked for Jim Murphy and the “Mighty Blue Grass Shows” for 20 years. He retired from the road in 1996, and worked as a technical consultant for Chance Rides for a year, but was called back to service with MBGS for 8 more years. He currently is the operation manager for the newly formed North American Midway Entertainment. Wayne “Daddy Rabbit” travels with the International Unit of NAME moving the show to world class events such as the Miami Dade County Fair, Calgary Stampede, The Big E, Canadian National Exhibition, South Carolina State Fair and more every single year. He is also the CEO of Galaxy Amusement Sales, a leading midway supplier for parks and carnivals, which his two sons manage.
Wayne has established himself, as one of the best “Ride Men’ in our business. With his leadership skills, and dogged determination, he has worked to make the Carnival Industry a respected and safe environment for its workers and patrons. He is commonly referred to in our industry as the James Brown of the Midway, “THE HARDEST WORKING MAN IN SHOW BUSINESS.”
Jeff Lapin was originally a 'performance artist' for the Chicago Bulls as the mascot 'Benny The Bull' for a decade. An avid baskeball fan he parlayed his love of the game into a vocation by framing a number of long-range games on a variety of shows in Chicago. Jeff is also the proud chairman of the SLA Building Committee.
Jeanne grew up in Michigan where she met and married her high school sweetheart, Tom McDonagh. Tom & Jeanne, along with their three children Matt, Blake, and Sarah and their families, operate McDonagh’s Amusements, based in Michigan where they have been operating since 1958. Jeanne has served 8 yrs as an OABA Director and is currently 3rd Vice Chair. She serves as Chairman of the Mobile Amusement Industry, Inc, dba OABA-Duke Smith Memorial Education Fund. Tom & she live in Venice, Florida with their two three-pound yorkies, who go everywhere with them!
Claire Morton Past President
Claire Morton of Golden Wheel Amusements is a Showwomen of the State of Alaska. Her carnival was established in Alaska in 1967. Claire was the President of The Royal Hawaiian Showmen’s Club in 1995, the President of the North West Showmen’s Club in 2000, the President of the Ladies Auxillary in 2002 and the First Lady President of The Showmen’s League of America in 2005. Claire has two daughters, Cathy and Jacqueline and five grandchildren, Kyle, Jolie, Chase, Haden and Alexis.
JJ Murphy Past President
James J. Murphy, Jr. is a graduate of the University of Florida and grew up in the amusement industry. This 3rd generation showman was the youngest member to ever hold the office of President. Past President James J. Murphy Jr. (heir apparent of the Mighty Blue Grass Shows) resides in Tampa, Florida and is the President of Mighty Blue Grass Shows.
David Norton Past President
David Norton of Coldwater, MI graduated from Reppert’s School of Auctioneering in 1966. He is the President of Norton Auctioneering of Michigan, Inc. David is married to Christine and they have three children and seven grandchildren.
Debbie Powers resides in Wilmington, North Carolina with her husband Les "Corky" Powers along with their four children, spouses and six grandchildren. Together they own and operate Powers Great American Midways taking their tour up and down the east coast. Debbie was born in Buffalo, New York and was exposed to the industry via grandparents and other family members. After completing a degree in Medical Technology and working in a hospital for two years the lure of the amusement business was too strong and forty years later I still love what we do.
Graham Putnam of Chicago, IL was the long time owner and President of Fun Incorporated. He is a former pitchman. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a MBA. Graham has been producing jokes and magic shows for over 35 years.
Pat Repp started in the amusement industry at the age of 11. He graduated from Avon High School in 1981 and Carl Sandburg College in 1983. Pat is married to Kris and they have 2 boys, Matt and Adam. Pat is a Fair Unit Manager for North American Midway Entertainment.
Stan Rozmin is a veteran Chicago-area Concessionaire, and will only say that he has been in the industry a long time and around too many shows to remember! His friends say he's retired...which he will neither confirm nor deny.
Andy Schoendienst of Belleville, IL has been in the amusement industry for over 40 years with Luehrs Ideal Rides. He is married to Lorelei and they have one son, Andrew. Andy and Lorelei have recently resided to Juno Beach, FL and divide their time between IL and FL. Andy has a degree in aircraft engineering and was the Chairman of the OABA in 2008.
Lorelei Schoendienst of Fairview Heights, IL and Juno Beach, FL has been involved in the amusement business her entire life. She is married to Andy Schoendienst and they own and operate Luehrs Ideal Rides, Inc with her sister Jean Anne and brother in-law Joe Clair. Her parents, the late Hub and Winnie Luehrs, commenced Luehrs Ideal Rides in 1957. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from the University of Florida. Lorelei and Andy are the proud parent of their son, Andrew.
Renate Skinner grew up in Illinois where she was introduced to the amusement industry when she married her high school sweetheart, Doug Skinner. Renate and Doug assist Doug's parents, Pat and Doug, in the operation of Skinners' Amusements which has been family owned and operated for the past 102 years. They reside in Harvard, IL with their two children, Taylor and Doug III.
Terry Swyear was born and raised in the amusement business. His father, the late Ray Swyear started Swyear Amusements in 1958 in New Athens IL. After his father's passing in 1997, Terry took over as President of the company with his mother Janice and brother Roger Swyear. Terry is a Past President of the St. Louis Showmen's League club and also Past President of the Hot Springs Showmen's club in Arkansas where he started the scholarship fund for that club. He is a Shriner and belongs to many related associations. He married his high school sweetheart, Kathy, and they have three children who all reside in New Athens IL with their spouses.
Mary is a fourth generation show owner, born and raised in Texas. She began her career at the age of six in a cat rack game, going on at various times to work in all phases of show operation from food to rides, to games and back. Her immediate family has over 200 years of show experience. Her husband Tom Talley’s family started their operation in 1908, Mary’s family began show business in 1910.
Tom Thebault of Carpentersville, IL has been with Astro Amusement Company since 1981. Tom is a General Manager of North American Midway Entertainment since their inception in 2004. Tom has two sisters, Kris and Sandy and is the son of Steve and Ursula. Tom is married to Rebecca and they have two children Cameron and Kyra. Tom graduated from Ripon College in WI in 1987.
Robert L Thorson
Bob Thorson graduated from Central High School in Omaha, NE; the very next day he boarded a plane to Chicago to work for his Aunt and Uncle’s small carnival company (Mary and Bill Johnson - Fantasy Amusement Co.), which had just started its first year of being a full-scale carnival. Being young, he thought he had just taken on a different summer job than that of his friends back home. Little did he know that 24 years later this would be his full time career and that he would be asked to write a bio of himself for the first organization ever formed for the carnival industry. During the course of his employment with Fantasy Amusement Co., he has started a small concession of his own, Lucky Ducky Amusements. He is truly amazed and pleased to have watched his Aunt and Uncle’s family carnival grow over the course of time, along with his own family as well. He is also very proud and honored to be a 19-year member of the SLA, and even more, he is honored to serve on its Board of Governors with some of the most preeminent movers and shakers in the carnival industry. He has formed lifetime friendships with some members of the Showmen’s League and would highly suggest membership to anyone associated with the outdoor amusement business.
Ron Porter was born in April of 1959 in DuQuoin, Illinois, the son of Raymond and Carolyn Porter. He graduated from DuQuoin High School and attended Southern IllinoisUniversity. Ron’s father, Raymond, started the family business in 1958 under the name Porter Foods; however, the business primarily focused on restaurants and schools. Ron decided to purchase the family business along with his wife, Laura, in 1990 after Ron’s father decided to retire.
Ron’s has always been passionate of the fair industry. As a child, he lived close to the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds where he attended the annual fair. He would go with his father to the fair and assist him in taking orders from many concessionaires. This is where he gained the knowledge of the food concession business.
It was at the DuQuoin Fair where some concessionaires asked Ron if he would deliver supplies to them when they went to the Tulsa State Fair in Tulsa, Oklahoma. When Ron drove up onto the fairgrounds in Tulsa, he was also met by other concessionaires asking where he was from and when he was coming back to make another delivery. At this point, this is when Ron’s business outlook changed and the idea of delivering to the outdoor amusement industry became his main focus. This was the beginning of Fare Foods.
Today, Fare Foods has warehouses located in DuQuoin, Illinois and Tampa, Florida. With their own fleet of trucks, deliveries are made to over 40 states and Canada. The business has grown each year since it was established in 1990. Ron is a member of OABA, IAFE, Showmen’s League Chapters of St. Louis, Chicago, and Gibstown. He is also a member of the Federation of Fairs as well as NICA. Ron coordinated one of NICA’s first food shows. Today, Fare Foods is responsible for producing one of the best food shows in the industry during Florida week each year.
Ron has served on the Illinois Tourism Board, the DuQuoin Tourism Board, and was also responsible for bringing the Street Machine Nationals to DuQuoin, Illinois. Ron and Laura reside just outside the gates of the DuQuoin State Fair. He always said, “One day, I want to live right outside the gates of the fairgrounds.” They have two children, Trampas and Jennifer.
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