During this year’s Golden Ticket Awards, which took place on September 7 at Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, Idaho, AIMS International presented prestigious safety awards to two celebrated figures in the amusement safety industry.

Ronald Burback was presented with the 2019 AIMS International Safety Award, and Gary Slade, founder and publisher of Amusement Today, was presented with The AIMS Lifetime Contribution Award, in recognition of an individual or organisation with outstanding dedication and service to AIMS International.

The 2019 International Safety Award was presented to Burback by AIMS’ executive director, Mary Jane Brewer and AIMS board member, Roger Berry.

The prestigious award recognises a person or organisation that has made a significant impact or contribution in improving safety in the amusement industry by demonstrating leadership, innovation, and foresight.

When presented the award, Berry commented how Burback, owner of Funtastic Shows with his wife and business partner Beverley, has had an illustrious career with many honours and recognition for his work in the amusement industry and in his communities.

Burback’s credible career in the portable industry has seen him lead the Showman’s League of America, OABA, the Carnival Guild, Northwestern Showman’s Club, IAFE and AIMS.

Burback has 35 years’ experience operating amusement parks in Portland, Oregon and has more than 50 years’ experience operating carnival attractions at fairs, centennials, world fairs and festivals.

In his accepting speech at the awards, Ronald Burback said he was honored to receive the award from AIMS.

Harold Hudson, the first winner of the AIMS Safety Award, announced the recipient of the AIMS Lifetime Contribution Award. The award was founded in 2018, to recognise an individual or organisation with outstanding dedication and service to AIMS International.

Amusement Today’s founder and former AIMS board member, Gary Slade was presented with the Lifetime Contribution Award.

Slade started career at Six Flags Over Texas in 1978. In 1997, he founded Amusements Today, and has, over the years, provided timely news on current events, safety, and positive developments in the industry.

Slade was a surprise recipient of the award. On receiving the accolade, Gary Slade thanked his staff at Amusement Today for their support and the AIMS board members for presenting him with the illustrious award.



Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort in New Braunfels, Texas, has maintained its pole position as being named the world’s best waterpark for the 22nd year in a row.

The accolade was given during Amusement Today’s yearly Golden Ticket Awards, which took place at Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, Idaho.

Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort stretches for more than 70 acres and features over 50 rides and attractions. The attraction site is renowned for its unique German heritage theme and spring-fed river setting.

Cedar Fair, operators of award-winning theme parks, purchased Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort in June for $261 million.

As well as winning the world’s best waterpark title at the Golden Ticket Awards, Cedar Fair picked up the award for the best steel rollercoaster for the fourth consecutive year. The Fury 325 steel rollercoaster is located at Carowinds, a Cedar Park attraction venue in North Carolina.

Richard Zimmerman, president and CEO at Cedar Fair, commented:

“It is always a privilege and an honour to be recognised and we congratulate all 2019 Golden Ticket Award winners in our industry.

“Cedar Fair is proud of our associates who deliver unique and memorable experiences for our guests every day,” Zimmerman added.