New Board Leaders

The OABA's 50th Annual Member Meeting, held last Friday evening in Tampa, Florida, in conjunction with the IISA trade show and Fare Foods trade show, plus NICA events, with over 400 members attending, witnessed many changes in the leadership of this trade association. Chairman Chris Lopez turned the gavel over to Michael Wood, as the 2015 Chair, with Officers Tom Gaylin, E. J. Dean moving into the First and Second Vice Chairs, respectively. Jay Strates, formerly a seven year Director, was elected by the board to become Third Vice Chair. Larry Yaffe was re-elected as Treasurer and the following Directors were elected by the members attending this meeting: Charlene Leavitt and Doug Burtch. The following Alternate Directors were elected: Patrick Sheridan, Scott Siefker and Steve Turner. Trustee Bill Johnson, having served on the Board for the the past 15 years, steps down as an Officer, however we know he will always be a great OABA supporter. … [Read more...]


Hall of Fame and Pioneer Inductions

Golden Jubilee 50-yrs-logo

OABA Adds Class of 2015 to Hall of Fame and Pioneer Leaders Recently, four additional industry leaders, including a second female leader, were added to the legacy of the mobile amusement industry’s Hall of Fame and Pioneer recipients in Tampa at the OABA’s 50th Annual Meeting and Golden Jubilee Gala. Since 2001, a total of 43 men and women have been honored by their peers as amusement industry leaders. With an audience of over 400, the OABA recognized Pioneers Dan Dudley and Jerry Barber, with short videos highlighting their lifetime achievements in amusement ride safety and for being an entrepreneur in this industry, respectively. Both men and their friends and families looked on as they gave credit to their mentors and families who have helped them along the way. The OABA’s Hall of Fame recipients included Jean Clair, with Luehrs’ Ideal Rides and Clair’s Classic Foods, an OABA Trustee in 1996, who broke into the then-male dominated board to chair the OABA that year, after … [Read more...]


John Sykes Named 2015 Chair of IAFE

John Sykes, president and CEO of The Park of East Texas, Inc., which produces the East Texas State Fair and Academic Rodeo in Tyler Texas, was elected the 2015 chair of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) today during the final business session of the 124th IAFE Annual Convention. After graduating magna cum laude from Texas A&M University, Sykes began his career ranching. He operated a 200 head cow-calf operation and a 300 sow farrow-to-finish swine farm. In 1984, he was chosen as Texas’ Outstanding Young Farmer and Rancher. Furthering his professional career, Sykes was recruited to promote the USA pecan industry in international markets. He has traveled extensively in Mexico, Central and South America, Southeast Asia, and Europe developing relationships with international companies and individuals. He returned to his alma mater and became a member of the Texas A&M University System Agriculture Program as the legislative liaison for the Texas … [Read more...]


Jim Tucker Inducted into IAFE Hall of Fame

The International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) 124th Annual Convention, Jim Tucker, president and CEO of the IAFE, was inducted into the IAFE Hall of Fame. The IAFE Convention is taking place Dec. 7 through Dec. 11, 2014, at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev. The highest honor bestowed by the IAFE, the Hall of Fame Award is presented annually in recognition of an individual’s distinguished achievement in, or contribution to, the fair industry. Tucker has spent a lifetime advocating for and guiding the agriculture and fair industries. He grew up on his family’s Missouri dairy farm, where he would help with chores beginning when he was five years old. His uncle was a founding member of the Greene County Agricultural & Mechanical Society, also known as the Ozark Empire Fair in Springfield, Mo. There is where he first showed Jersey cattle and his father served as dairy superintendent. In high school, he was active in FFA, serving as his chapter’s president and was … [Read more...]