About the Company
Ray Swyear Rides was started back in 1958 by Ray and Janice Swyear of New Athens, IL. Ray purchased a small kiddie train ride and that was the beginning of the show. With the birth of three sons and a strong work ethic, Ray, Janice and the family built what is known today as Swyear Amusements Inc. With the passing of Ray in 1997 and Janice’s retirement in 2013, the second and third generations have taken the helm.
Celebrating 62 seasons in business in 2020, the Swyear Carnival is now being operated by Ray’s oldest son, Terry and wife Kathy, their son Adam, and Terry’s brother Roger and his wife Teresa; who all work in the day to day operations of the company. In 2016, Terry and Kathy’s daughter, Amy, joined the family business operating her Skee Ball Game and managing the Swyear Amusements Food Operation. There are currently 19 members of the Swyear Family; Janice, Terry, Kathy, Adam, Andrea, Damon, Livia, Amy, Ella Rose, Alexander, Danielle, Adalyn, Maylie Rae, Axton, Roger, Teresa, Kyle, Allen, and Tim.
When the grandchildren come out to visit, there is hope that Ray and Janice Swyear’s legacy will continue on in the years ahead. With new purchases every year and a love for the industry, the show has grown stronger than ever. New rides, games, and food concessions are upgraded every season. Keeping current with the growing trends of the carnival industry is an enormous task. With a definite love and knowledge of the industry, the Swyear family finds the task enjoyable and very fulfilling.
Winter quarter work is conducted during the months of November through March in our three large buildings in and around New Athens, IL. Painting, repairing and general maintenance is performed at this time. When spring comes around, the rides are clean, shiny, and bright and ready for the special events of the coming season. Roger Swyear, who resides in Apollo Beach, FL during the winter months, completes maintenance on some of the equipment during the shows winter route in Florida. A new building at Roger’s Florida based winter quarters was erected to overhaul rides during the offseason there.
There is little down time in this business as fair meetings, trade shows, and winter quarter work consume any free time during our off season.
The Swyear Family takes great pride in their equipment and safety is our number one concern. We not only want our patrons to have a great time, but also a safe and memorable experience while on our midway.
Perform variety of attending duties at traveling carnival. Set up, tear-down, operate amusement rides, food concessions and/or game concessions. The OFLC ETA requested detail on specific portions of these job duties. Amusement Rides set up & tear down: Mobile amusement rides are trailer mounted. A supervisor would position the trailer(s) at a specific location on the grounds, unhitch the power unit from the trailer, & move the power unit away from the ride. All of the pieces of the ride would travel on the same trailer(s) & be located proximate to their position when the ride is in operation. Work would be performed by individual workers as members of a team, with some tasks being performed individually & some collectively. Restraints holding pieces of the ride while in transit would be released. Ride platform (if any) would be lowered & leveled. Track or railing (if any) would be positioned & connected. Sweeps, supports, bars, pins would be positioned & connected. Cars, Seats, Bench or Carriage (method of conveyance for this particular ride) where patron would stand or sit while on the ride would be positioned & connected. Fencing, signage, ticket collection boxes & illumination would be positioned. Teardown would simply be these duties being handled in the reverse order & items being stored & secured for transit to the next location. May include moving/positioning, maintenance, repairs and refurbishment of equipment. Food Concessions set up & tear down: Mobile food concessions are typically mounted in a trailer. A supervisor would position the trailer(s) at a specific location on the grounds, unhitch the power unit from the trailer. The awnings covering the windows during transit would be raised & secured. Items such as trash cans, screens, tables that may be positioned outside of the trailer but carried inside of the trailer during transit would be manually moved from inside the trailer to outside. Trailer would be cleaned, sanitized & stocked with supplies for the event. Any counters, guidance railings, signage, decorations would be positioned outside of the trailer. Condiment dispensers, napkin dispensers & trash containers would be set up outside of the trailer. Typically the fair or event maintains the tables & chairs for patrons, but is some instances the worker may set up a limited number of chairs & tables for patron use. Teardown would simply be these duties being handled in the reverse order & items being stored & secured for transit to the next location. Game Concessions: Mobile game concessions are typically mounted in a trailer. A supervisor would position the trailer(s) at a specific location on the grounds, unhitch the power unit from the trailer, & move the power unit away from the game concessions trailer. The awning that is closed during transit would be opened. Gaming items (air guns, water guns, darts, etc., as appropriate for the game) would be positioned. Plush toys and/or game appropriate prizes would be positioned / displayed. Signage, illumination, seating (if any), railings (if any), fencing (if any) would be positioned. Teardown would simply be these duties being handled in the reverse order & items being stored & secured for transit to the next location. To clarify the portion of the job duties that includes operate mobile food concessions stand: On a carnival midway, when there is a mobile food concessions, a stand is limited to selling only one or two specific items, such as cotton candy, popcorn, turkey legs, roasted corn, or other specialty foods. The food is prepared in a production line, where an individual may only perform one task, such as measuring corn & oil into a popper. The next individual would salt & bag. The next individual would choose correct bag as per customer order & hand to teller. The next individual would have taken order, taken money, made change & then hands order to client.