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  • Thu, February 13, 2020 6:45 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    From the desk of Vanessa Gagne:

    February 13, 2020


    The first hearing for CO SB125 was today, we are hoping to kill this bill before it goes any further.  It is definitely an animal rights written and promoted bill that is being padded with too much misinformation to list here. To those of you who took the time to help oppose it, thank you. If it goes on to another hearing, we have time to keep calling and writing letters to support traveling exotic animals in the state of Colorado, but let’s keep our fingers crossed it will die in committee today. 

    In Florida, USARK is busy fighting reptile laws that would negatively impact private ownership and breeders. Please help them oppose these laws - they help get so many alerts and letters out in support of circus animals. 
    SB 906 & SB 1414


    Judge upholds Maryland ban on pet stores’ sale of cats, dogs Joaquin Phoenix champions a big night for vegans at the Oscars
    Sea lions make splash at Florida State Fair 
    Speaker: Cattle industry plays role in sustainability 
    Transportation funding, removing Robert E. Lee from the Capitol, elephant rides, and more headlines

  • Thu, January 30, 2020 7:50 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Elizabeth (Bette) Bohman Reithoffer was born in Rawlins, Wyoming on January 23, 1921 and went to be with the Lord on January 27, 2020.

    Bette graduated from Rock Island High School in Illinois in 1938 and upon graduation worked as a secretary for the Bituminous Casualty Corporation in Rock Island, IL.

    She met Patrick (Pat) Reithoffer II at a USO dance in Rock Island while Pat was in training to become a B24 bomber pilot. After WWII in 1945, she married Pat Reithoffer. They lived in Dallas, Pennsylvania while he taught science and shop class at the junior high school in Dallas. Pat was also the owner of Reithoffer Shows, an amusement ride company. Together he and Bette grew the show to be one of the largest traveling carnivals in the country.

    Pat and Bette were married for 62 years before he passed in 2007. Bette then moved to Sun City Center, Florida in 2009. She and Pat had two sons, Patrick Jr.  (Geneva) and Richard (Marianne) and one daughter, Jan Stoorza (Jack). She also is survived by eight grandchildren: Megan Foster (James) and John Stoorza, Suzanne Blake (James) and Kristal Knox (Jason), Patrick IV and Ryan Reithoffer (Nelda) and Richard Reithoffer (Victoria) and Matthew Reithoffer. She also had nine great grandchildren: Morgan Blake, James Foster, Orion Reithoffer, John Knox, Karis Knox, Grayson Knox, Nicholas Reithoffer, Carousel Reithoffer and Xavier Reithoffer.  She is preceded in death by her husband Patrick, her father and mother Richard and Elizabeth Bohman and sister Ellen Cornelis and granddaughter Trisha Reithoffer.

    A memorial service will be held at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, 1015 E Del Webb Blvd. Sun City Center, FL 33575 at 10 am Monday February 3, 2020 with a reception to follow at 11:30 am at the Regent Event Center, 6437 Watson Road, Riverview, FL 33578.

    Flowers: Riverview Florist  riverviewflowers.com  813-677-9700

    The family asks that in lieu of flowers donations be sent to one of the following:

    Outdoor Amusement Business Association (OABA) 1305 Memorial Ave. West Springfield, MA   01089 or

    International Independent Showmen’s Museum Corporation (IISMC) PO Box 3359 Riverview, FL 33568

    Cards of condolences may be sent to Bette’s family at PO Box 1080 Gibsonton, FL 33534

  • Thu, January 30, 2020 5:21 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Tom Powell left Amusement Business and began writing a weekly and a monthly article for OABA in October of 2006. This is what the cover looked like announcing his comeback to "On the Earie." He will be missed.

    Read what Tom had to say to us back in 2006 - if you can't read it below, click on the article for a pdf version:

  • Thu, January 23, 2020 6:26 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    From the desk of Vanessa Gagne:

    January 23rd, 2020


    Several bills have come up since the beginning of the year.  You may keep track of them by using www.grassroots.circusfans.org a website sponsored by OABA and CFA to keep members abreast of current legislative issues.  I update it weekly for your convenience. 


    Aspiring vet students learn how to manage animals, humans at National Western Stock Show camp                               
    Students learn about livestock, pets and horses through the Stock Show’s Vet 101 camp

    Rescued circus tigers and lions to be airlifted from Guatemala to South Africa

    Animal Cruelty Charges Reissued Against Exotic Zoo Owner

    44th International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo: a true pillar of the Monegasque heritage

    Wild elephant walks into Sri Lankan hotel and gently wanders around
    This is a tuskless male elephant, called a makhna.  Sri Lanka has a higher population of makhnas compared to the mainland Asian elephant population.  It is said that the tuskless males go through a stronger and more aggressive musth period. 

    Baby gorilla born at LA Zoo for first time in over 20 years

    Llamas and ostriches were taken from an exotic meat farm. Was it theft or rescue?

    Ranch circuit a reminder of rodeo's humble beginnings

  • Thu, January 23, 2020 6:10 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)
    U.S. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices*(dollars per gallon)full history XLS
    Change from
    01/06/20 01/13/20 01/20/20 week ago year ago
    U.S. 3.079 3.064 3.037 -0.027 0.072
    East Coast (PADD1) 3.120 3.111 3.075 -0.036 0.038
    New England (PADD1A) 3.127 3.131 3.132 0.001 -0.059
    Central Atlantic (PADD1B) 3.294 3.291 3.248 -0.043 0.033
    Lower Atlantic (PADD1C) 3.000 2.984 2.948 -0.036 0.064
    Midwest (PADD2) 2.977 2.965 2.937 -0.028 0.130
    Gulf Coast (PADD3) 2.828 2.810 2.797 -0.013 0.007
    Rocky Mountain (PADD4) 3.100 3.065 3.010 -0.055 0.066
    West Coast (PADD5) 3.616 3.593 3.574 -0.019 0.111
    West Coast less California 3.264 3.241 3.206 -0.035 0.091
    California 3.895 3.872 3.866 -0.006 0.127
    *prices include all taxes


  • Thu, January 23, 2020 5:37 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    New SEA Logo

    Dear SEA members,

    We continue to work with our allies in Congress who have direct access to President Trump. We are asking that they make a personal request of President Trump to direct DHS to release the 64,716 visas it is authorized to release. We know that discussions are ongoing between DHS and DOL on the rule. We have been told that they intend to release the visas in time for workers to arrive on or close to April 1. We have spoken with numerous Senior Administration officials but they are keeping things close to the vest. We are confident Members of Congress have spoken with President Trump regarding the visas release but unfortunately do not have any feedback to share.

    DOL has nearly completed issuing first actions on all applicants assigned to Group A. DOL took approximately 14 business days to complete Bucket A. At this pace, DOL will issue first actions on Group D and E applicants by early March. We have made clear to DHS and DOL that all applicants from the three day filing window should have an equal shot at the supplemental visas.

    Status of Congressional letter

    The letter has closed. Since each signature is collected manually and since we had such a tremendous response to the letter, it is taking time to collect the signatures. The final letter should be released shortly. I will send forward it along as soon as I receive it.

    What can you do?

    The rule will likely be finalized in the next few weeks. Now is the time to mobilize and ensure our voice is heard.

    Meet with your member's District Director (DD). Respond to this email if you would like us to schedule the meeting for you. If you have already met with your DD, send me a recap of the meeting. I want to log it into our database.

    Film a one to two minute video documenting the effect of not receiving your H-2B workers on your business. Videos humanize a situation in a way a phone call and email cannot. It is important that you show emotion! You should upload the video to your Twitter account and Tweet it at your Representatives. You should then email the Tweet/video to your Representatives' staffers.

    Introduce yourself and company

    How many American workers do you employ and how many H-2B workers did you apply for?

    Explain efforts to hire American workers

    Effect of uncertainty of whether or not you will have a labor-force this year on your planning for the upcoming season (cancelled and foregone contracts, reduced equipment purchases, hiring of full-time, year-round American workers)

    I will host a Twitter/video training this Monday at 11:30 AM. Click here to add the call to your calendar. 

    When: Monday, January 27th
    11:30 AM ET
    Dial-in number: (563) 999-2090
    Access code: 464343#

    Join the online meeting: https://join.freeconferencecall.com/gray_delany123

    If you do not know how to film a video using your phone, ask someone you know who is technologically savvy. No excuses!

    Equipment Manufacturer letter

    We have drafted a letter to POTUS we are hoping the leading outdoor equipment manufacturers will sign. The purpose of the letter is to inform the President that when the landscape contractors have an adequate workforce, they purchase more equipment. Equipment manufacturers can then expand their American manufacturing facilities and hire additional American workers.

    I need your help in obtaining their signatures. Wright Manufacturing has agreed to sign the letter. Bobcat is also likely to sign the letter. I am waiting on confirmation from Rain Bird and Mean Green.

    Briggs and Stratton and Gravely have declined to sign the letter. They are 100% supportive of our efforts but, at least in the case of Briggs and Stratton, they want to limit their outreach to the Administration to the trade issue.

    I have reached out to the following companies but have not received a response:
    Cub Cadet
    John Deere

    Time is of the essence. We would like to have this lettered delivered to the White House by early next week.

    Gray Delany
    Seasonal Employment Alliance

  • Thu, January 23, 2020 5:30 PM | Deleted user

    On The Earie   
    by Tom Powell, OABA News Ambassador

    The holiday season provides another opportunity to reflect on what a lucky guy I am, to have moved from a mundane profession that is usually the result of achieving a degree in accounting, to an exciting career to as what former Minnesota State Fair Manager Mike Heffron would refer to as an ink stained wretch, in other words, a journalist.

    You could say it happened by accident, but that would not be true. As a sophomore in high school, I told my favorite teacher, V. V. (we called her check check) Clark that I dreamed of being a sportswriter. I wanted to cover my local high school's football games and see that By Tom Powell byline on the top of the story. I was fortunate enough to have an in with the local Scranton, Pa. Tribune when Jimmy Calpin, a neighbor, who was the assistant sports editor, got me a job as a copy boy. That was the start of what has become a wonderful journey.

    Who wouldn't be thrilled to get a job paying 75 cents an hour and working from 10 p.m. to midnight? After a while, my hours changed from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., and that's the way they remained as I spent four years attending the Jesuit-operated University of Scranton.

    I went to school full time and worked 40 hours a week. I wouldn't recommend it, but it worked for me. The tuition was $161 a semester, and I couldn't afford it. My mom, a housewife, and dad, a coal miner, didn't ask me to go to college. Even though I was only the second person in our neighborhood to do that, (Jack McLane was the other), they told me I was going. That was the end of the story. They would pay for the first semester and I would work to pay for the rest. I'm glad I had such loving parents.

    Over the years, as a sportswriter, and even more so as editor of Amusement Business, I have had the opportunity to write about, and wine and dine with an enormous amount of wonderful people. One was Denzil Skinner, who ran the Louisiana Superdome, and another was Andy Osak, who owned the Showtown USA bar in Gibsonton, Fla. Both helped teach me the meaning of humility when each, basically, told me the same thing, that I was equally as comfortable in a bar room as I was in a board room.

    As AB Publisher Walt Heeney said when he hired me, “It helps if you drink.” He was right.

    Alfie Phillips was a key cog in Canada's Conklin Shows for many years. A former OABA director, he and his wife, Pam, always send Christine and me a great Christmas Card from their home in Toronto. This year's showed a painting of a train, with the words on the bottom saying, “In 1976, Conklin Shows, led by Jim Conklin, acquired the contract for the Western A Fairs, Red River Exhibition, Winnipeg, Calgary Stampede, Edmonton Klondike Days, and Regina Buffalo Days.

    At the time, Conklin Shows did not travel by train. However, as this photo shows, they did place some trailers on the train to go west. This photo was taken by Doug Hall, Conklin photographer at the time. Getting this photo proved to be quite a challenge. We played the West for 29 years. Our last year was 2004.”

    I'll never forget going to the Calgary Stampede on one of its busiest days. I approached Phillips and asked if he had time for an interview. He looked at me, smiled, and said, “You showed enough interest in our show to fly all the way up here, and you ask if I have the time. You bet I do.” You never forget moments like that. The rest of the Christmas card included a message from English author P. G. Wodehouse, that said, “It is better to travel with hope than to arrive. Once you arrive, whatever you were hoping for becomes a reality, hope is no longer a reality.” In his own words, the laconic Alfie wrote, “Here's hoping that you have a memorable Christmas. KEEP IT GOING, IT'S GREAT!”

    On one of my first trips to Las Vegas I met a guy who would become a special lifetime friend. That man was Don Greiman, a past president of the Iowa Association of Fairs. We hit it off so well that he, Bill Alter of National Ticket, Don Myers, who ran the building in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and I agreed to meet for a quiet moment and a few drinks at every convention after that. I remember Greiman praising AB and saying, “How would an old country boy like me know anything about Danny Fleenor, Benny (Boom Boom) Koske, and a lot of other people if it wasn't for AB.

    Now 92, Greiman was quoted in a Dec. 17 newspaper article, saying he never thought he would see the day the North Iowa Fair, Mason City, would be recognized as the best in North Central Iowa.” Don is one of the best.

    The spring meeting of the OABA was held in Nashville a long time ago, and a big party was held at the Nashville Palace, that was owned by my good friend, Johnny Hobbs. Morton brought tons of frozen food from Alaska, including salmon and caribou. I kept eating the latter, thinking it was pepperoni, or something like that, and saying it was delicious. That was until I found out what it was. I'm like that, and Christine still insists that labels were attached to every item. I might have had a few drinks!

    One of the many nice guys I've met along the way is Pierogi Joe Stanavage, who lives with his wife, Weezie, and Joe Jr., in Hazelton, Pa., which is about 40 miles from Scranton. He works a lot of fairs in the Keystone State, including Allentown and Bloomsburg. During 50 of his years of working as an independent concessionaire, Stanavage was also employed as a journeyman printer. We both have in common, that printer's blood in our veins. I've known a few. But his words of wisdom sounded as good to me as his pierogis taste, and they are delicious. Wise old Joe said, “I've had bad days in the business, but never a bad year.” Here's to better days for all of us!

    I haven't touched the surface of all the fantastic people my job has allowed me to meet, but you all know who you are, and if I haven't met you yet, I'm in for more treats. Thanks for the memories, so far.

    Have all great days, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and God Bless!

  • Thu, January 16, 2020 6:04 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    From the desk of Vanessa Gagne:

    January 16th, 2020


    Please help oppose FL SB 1048, which would allow for an animal to have a court appointed attorney in an animal cruelty case - this would give animals the same rights as American people in the 6th amendment of our Constitution.  The passing of such a decision would have long lasting and complex ramifications for the differentiation between human and animal legal rights.  It needs to be made clear that under no circumstances is anyone advocating for animal welfare or abuse cases to be neglected however it must be done under existing rule of law.  The bill text may be read here.
    Please call the following representatives and politely request a "no" vote on SB 1048.
    Senator David Simmons (850) 487-5009
    Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez. 850) 487-5037
    Senator Dennis Baxley. (850) 487-5012
    Senator Audrey Gibson (850) 487-5006
    Senator Travis Hutson 850) 487-5007
    Senator Kelli Stargel. (850) 487-5022

    Sale of cosmetics tested on animals banned in California, Nevada, and Illinois

    An update to the Crooked Hollow Zoo in Iowa:
    Judge requiring Cricket Hollow Zoo owners to explain where animals are

    Animal Rights activist groups are pushing for Iowa HF737, and animal cruelty bill, to be passed this legislative session. 
    The bill may be read here.
    Advocates, Legislators Confident Animal Cruelty Bill Will Pass During the Legislative Session


    Let it breed: Why desexing dogs isn’t always the best thing to do

    Researchers develop wearable devices for dairy cow

    Rodeo queens reflect on their reign
    Talking with Kayla Seaman and Rebecca Stroh

    Fair Petting Zoo E. coli Lawsuits: 2019 Minnesota State Fair and San Diego County Fair

  • Wed, January 15, 2020 9:04 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Mike Featherston shared an email with our office Tuesday, January 14, 2020, in which Fr. John Vakulskas wrote:

     I have just returned from a doctor's appointment with the following results. I was trying to lose some weight and wondered why the weight was coming off so easy this time.
     A CT scan was done to determine the size of my Aortic Aneurysm (6.5) and what kind of surgery it will take to correct it. That all came to a halt when they discovered two unknown problem areas.
     My Pancreas has a tumor on it. Most probably cancerous. The Physician stated that the head could be seen so removing it might not be to difficult.
     My liver showed many spots on it. They will be doing Biopsies to determine the extent of the situation.
     The Vascular surgeon mentioned they would talk about doing all 3 at once. They did say they wanted to do this ASAP.
     With the help of God and your Prayers and support I hope to get thru what appears to be a 3 month recovery period. I will face everything one day at a time.  I love you all.
     Father John

    Please keep Fr. John in your daily thoughts and prayers.

  • Wed, January 15, 2020 8:26 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    During this past week the OABA office has fielded correspondence from several members regarding communication with the Census Bureau.

    The Census Bureau is expanding its normal reach to count nontraditional groups in 2020.  Because of the transient nature of the carnival and circus industries they are focusing on reaching out to everyone in the industry by the end of January.

    We requested that our attorney, Wayne Pierce, investigate the matter.  He spoke with a member of the Census Team and these are his findings:

    “Census workers are calling carnivals and circuses using the following screening questions:

    •  Will you have any events during the time of April 9 to May 4, 2020?
    •  If so, will you have any workers living on site?  If so, they want to schedule with the owner so that someone can come and do a headcount during that time slot.

    On the other hand, if you do not have any events during that time slot or if your workers are not living on site, then they are basically assuming that those workers will be counted by virtue of a permanent residence, so they are not going to ask for any special visitations.

     Unlike the other economic surveys, their exclusive goal is to count people.  She also told me that there was not going to be any segregated data, such as how many people work for carnivals or circuses.  Their only job is to determine how many people live in each state.

    She insisted that they were not going to be tracking any of the information regarding bunkhouses, living conditions, wages, or some of those hot buttons.  Now, if it turned out that they were asking other questions, that would be a completely different matter, but she was adamant that they would not.  I see this as primarily a "good citizen" issue and whether you want whatever state you might be in to get the credit for determining federal funding and congressional delegations.  Based on her description, we won't even get credit for employing "X" number of workers or other economic impact statistics.”

    If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact the office. The thing to remember is that we all want to be counted in the census - it's the right thing to do.

    Greg Chiecko

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