Ride company celebrating 50 years

| October 1, 2015

COSHOCTON – Bates Amusement’s story began with pony rides and 50 years later the company is now one of the largest suppliers of amusement rides for fairs and festivals in Ohio, including the Coshocton County Fair.

“I’ve traveled with the company since I was a child, maybe 6-years-old and I’m in my 50s now,” said Kim Bates – Bozich, corporate secretary for Bates Amusement Inc. “It’s really something to see all of the changes that have occurred in the growth and development of the company. We are the second generation and even have a third generation helping.”

The Bates Family first got involved in providing entertainment at local events in their hometown of Wintersville when Geary and Eric Bates helped the Gambill Family with pony rings in the 1950s. After a portion of the Gambill farm was sold the family bought a mechanical ride and formed Gambill Amusement Co. In 1965, the Bates bought their first ride, the Rock-O-Plane and then in 1975 the company Gambill and Bates Brothers Amusement Co. was formed. Eventually the named was changed to Bates Brothers Amusement Co. and according to http://batesamusement.com, “in 1993 the company was restructured and divided into two companies, Bates Amusement Inc. (Geary Bates) and Bates Brothers Amusement Co. (Eric Bates). While both companies are completely separate, they come together once per year, in September for the Canfield Fair over Labor Day weekend.”

“Between all of us we cover more county fairs and festival than any other company in Ohio from April to October when we finish our season up with the last county fair in Fairfield County,” said Bates – Bozich. “The key to our success has been commitment, dedication and a lot of hard work and versification. There are so many different fields (of jobs) here. I handle accounting and paperwork and we have mechanics to maintain equipment. We are fortunate in our family to have a lot of good people and key people that are able to do different facets of everything here.”

Bates Amusement operates about 40 rides for all ages and fun houses.

“We rotate the rides around and this year will be bringing a new piece, the Frog Hopper, to kiddie land at the Coshocton County Fair,” said Bates – Bozich. “It’s been real popular everywhere we’ve gone with it.”

The total number of items they bring to the Coshocton County Fair between rides, fun houses and everything is usually in the high teens.

“Ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds are must haves and then you try to have something for everyone,” said Bates – Bozich. “Some people like to go upside down and some just want something mild.”

To celebrate their 50th anniversary and thank those who have supported them over the years, Bates gave 50 admission tickets to each individual fair for the fairboards to use as they pleased and are sponsoring a Disney Word vacation giveaway.

“We are drawing for the vacation the first week of November,” said Bates – Bozich. “You just have to go online (http://batesamusement.com/disney/) to enter. The winner will be able to go to their local AAA to customize their own family vacation for $5,000.”

Bates has been coming to the Coshocton County Fair for well over 30 years now and the fair’s general admission cost of $8 includes the opportunity to experience what Bates brings out to the fairgrounds.

“There is a certain drudgery that goes with any job, but when you see kids smiling and having fun, how can you not be happy?,” said Bates – Bozich.

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Category: Arts & Entertainment

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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