In the beginning…
A Kentucky farm family moved and located themselves in Wintersville, Ohio. Their name was Gambill and they maintained a pony farm at the end of the lane on Reichart Ave. During the 1950s, Geary and Eric Bates, neighborhood boys at the time, worked on the farm for the Gambill Family and helped with the pony rings that were set up at local events. Eventually, a portion of the farm was sold and turned into a sub-division which lead to the purchase of the first mechanical rides. Thus, Gambill Amusement Co. was formed by Quinn and Ken Gambill.
Later in 1965, Geary and Eric Bates, with the help of their parents, James and Dorothy Bates, purchased their first ride, the Rock-O-Plane. This purchase was the beginning of many more to come. By 1975 Mr. Gambill retired and the name was changed to Gambill and Bates Brothers Amusement Co. and eventually Bates Brothers Amusement Co. This was a period of growth that seemed endless. By 1980, nearly 10 acres of land were purchased on Bantam Ridge Road in Wintersville, and became the new site of the winter maintenance facility, which was large enough to allow for storage of all the equipment as well as a shop to properly maintain and accommodate the larger equipment.
By 1981, a second unit was formed, and Geary and Eric were each heading out on independent routes. This allowed for yet another period of growth and expansion. By 1993, with growing needs, ideas and families, 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.
Today, Bates Amusement Inc. is owned and operated by Geary and Mary Kay Bates, Geary (Drew) and Karen Bates, and Al and Kim (Bates) Bozich. We operate nearly 40 various amusement rides for children and adults of all ages, as well as funhouses and similar attractions. In addition to a large fleet of 45 trucks, portable offices, generators and living accommodations for employees, we are among the largest supplier of amusement rides for county fairs and festivals in the State of Ohio. During the winter months, all of our equipment is serviced and reviewed by our year-round maintenance team. All equipment is scheduled for regular maintenance to ensure the highest quality of safety and appearance possible. All of our equipment is subject to mandatory licensing and inspections by the State of Ohio. Geary Bates presently sits on the Ohio Ride Safety Advisory Board, which governs ride safety policies and legislature here in Ohio.
We invite any interested parties to visit us at our maintenance facility or come see us in operation at one of our many locations. We look forward to the opportunity to service your event.