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Pioneer Award

In 2009, the OABA initiated our Pioneer Award which honors an individual OABA member who has made a unique and lasting contribution that has significantly changed or improved the mobile amusement industry. A special committee from our Board of Directors selects an individual worthy of this distinction and presents this prestigious award at our Annual Meeting in February.

2016 Pioneer – Joie Chitwood, Sr. – Chitwood Thrill Shows

OABA’s 2016 Industry Pioneer Award was awarded to the late Joie Chitwood, Sr., honoring a true legend, superior showman and consummate entertainer. Joie epitomizes the OABA’s Pioneer Award recognition.

2015 Pioneer – Jerry Barber – Venture Rides Mfg. & Sunbelt Capital Inc.

OABA’s 2015 Industry Pioneer Award was given to Jerry Barber, honoring his industry innovations and contributions to the growth of the outdoor, mobile amusement industry. Jerry exemplifies the OABA’s Pioneer Award recognition.

2015 Pioneer – Dan Dudley – Dudley Consultants

OABA’s 2015 Industry Pioneer Award was given to Dan Dudley honoring his ride safety contributions to employees and guests in the outdoor, mobile amusement industry. Dan represents the OABA’s Pioneer Award recognition.

2014 Pioneer – Bob Childress – Childress Shows

OABA’s 2014 Industry Pioneer Award was given to Bob Childress, a gentleman whose 60-year career in the outdoor amusement and entertainment industry as an owner of Childress Shows, Hendricks Bros. Circus, Lewis & Clark Circus and Childress Manufacturing, epitomizes the OABA’s Pioneer Award recognition.

2013 Pioneer – Jack Eyerly – Eyerly Aircraft Co.

OABA’s 2013 Industry Pioneer Award was given to Jack Eyerly, Owner of Eyerly Aircraft Co., founder and served in the amusement industry for some 70 years. Jack exemplifies the OABA’s Pioneer Award recognition.

2012 Pioneer – Bruce Sellner- Founder of Sellner Manufacturing

Bruce Sellner, of Sellner Manufacturing, was honored the 2012 Pioneer Award posthumously because of his innovation in mobile amusement business as a ride manufacturer.

2011 Pioneer – Jerry Wisdom- Founder of Wisdom Rides and the Sizzler

Jerry Wisdom, of Wisdom Manufacturing, was awarded the 2011 Pioneer Award for the innovations he brought to the Outdoor Amusement Business and the very beginning of trailer mounted rides.

2010 Pioneer – Robert “Bob” Cassata, Founder of Bob’s Space Racers
Bob Cassata is the founder of Bob’s Space Racers, a games operator and supplier to both carnivals and amusement facilities around the world. Bob’s game designs revolutionized the game industry. He is noted for his industrious approach to his craft and his insistence on perfection in all that he does with the amusement industry.

2009 Pioneer – J.C. Evans, Chairman Gold Medal Products

J.C. Evans was awarded the first OABA Pioneer Award in honor of his exceptional, innovative achievements in our industry. He built Gold Medal Products into the premier supplier in the amusement industry, inventing new products and technologies along the way that have become concession industry standards. His inventive spirit is complemented by his generosity. He is known by all to be a man who consistently believes in willingly giving back to this industry which he loves so much.



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