Showmens League of America St. Louis
Memorial Scholarships
Listed below is information on the Showmen's League of America - St. Louis Chapter's memorial scholarships and their recipients for 2011-2012. Congratulations to all the recipients!

Carl Mathis Memorial Scholarship

Carl Mathis Memorial ScholarshipCarl Edward Mathis - February 6, 1932 - July 2, 1987

Born in Wickcliff, KY in a dirt floor shack. He and his brother spent their days in an enclosure while their parents were out working in the fields.

On to East St Louis where he "ran numbers" for the gangs, when gambling was illegal.

Then to St Louis, worked for the streets department and later set up a battery recycling shop on South Broadway.

He dabbled in the carnival business in the early 60's, and partnered with Ed Noerper in a small show, Boyd's Amusements. It grew to be Mississippi Valley Shows, and then finally Archway Amusements.

Carl married widowed Robertta Noerper in 1972 and aquired 8 step children, who along with Carl's son Carl III, keep his memory alive with a scholarship.

Charlie and Barbara Dalton Memorial Scholarship

Charlie Dalton was born on August 10, 1940 to Charles and Margert Dalton. He grew up on the family farm in Wentzville, MO helping his father who owned a Local Sale Barn. The family moved to St Charles, MO in 1952. His father died March 1954 in a boating accident. He then enlisted US Navy in 1958, where he served as a helicopter mechanic on the USS Wasp. On October 4, 1960 in married Barbara Dalton. The first child is Charles Dalton III born August 10, 1961 in Rhode Island. After receiving a Honorable Discharge the family moved back to St Charles, MO. He went to work at McDonnell Douglas in the Spring of 1962. A month later they had their second child, Kimberlie A. Dalton. In 1964 Charles bought a neighborhood Texaco Service Station. In 1966 they had a second son Russell Dalton. Charles and Barbara bought their first home at this time. Another son Kevin Dalton was then born in 1969. At this time Charles was able to buy a Family Farm located in Troy, MO similar to the one he had grown up on. He sold the service station in 1977 and by 1978 he was the Vice President of Operations at Hampton Umbrella Rides (the carnival connection). In 1985 he went out on his own to form Dalton Kid Rides. Still living in St. Charles he was farming and working in Troy, MO.

During his life he was blessed with four grandchildren. After he passed in May 1999 two more grandchildren have been added to the family and we see a little of grandpa in each of them. While working all day on his new farm in Marceline, MO he passed away suddenly. He had built a thriving business from the ground up, raised a loving family and had many friends. All of this being accomplished by hard work, dedication and loyalty.

Chris Shallow Memorial Scholarship

Chris Shallow Memorial ScholarshipChris was born on August 8, 1971. He was born with hemophilia, a bleeding disorder.

Chris and his brother, Michael, grew up around carnivals and circuses and worked along with their parents in the concession business.

Chris was an honest, kind, eager to help others, gentle, shy, but never aloof, athletic, and a lover of life. Chris was a brave soul. His whole life involved hospitals needles, and pain, yet he weathered it all with ultimate bravery and never complaining or wanting pity.

Chris loved sports and played short stop on a little league team. When he turned 16, he bought a 1986 Trans Am, which his brother Michael still owns. Chris participated in school activities, went to school dances, and had many friends.

Chris always remained positive. He constantly struggled to live his life as if there was no disease and he never quit. Due to complications with his disease, he was just 18 when he passed away.

Chris was smart, ambitious, and had a bright future. He was and still as an inspiration to us. He is missed every day as apart of our family. Chris died before he had a chance to attend college. You now have that opportunity, so make the best of it.

One thing for sure is he is with us in sprit and is definitely not forgotten.

Hub Luehrs Memorial Scholarship

Hub Luehrs Memorial ScholarshipThe story begins with a bright-eyed young Hub Luehrs. In 1936, Hub Luehrs, then 18, hitchhiked to Ripon, Wisconsin to join his Uncle Jack's carnival where he began work on a Tilt-A-Whirl.

In 1937, Hub met Frank Schimnowski, formerly of River Park in Winnipeg, Canada and concessions manager at the Milwaukee State Fair. He traveled with concessions and bingo. Frank encouraged young Luehrs before Hub even realized that Frank had a daughter, Winnifred. That realization led to matrimony. They were married in 1938 on Thanksgiving Day.

This young married couple started out with only one ride and eventually purchased a bingo and a few concessions. With their family growing, Hub and
Winnie decided to purchase their own carnival. In the fall of 1956, H.W."Hub" Luehrs negotiated with the late Paul Robertson for the purchase of Ideal Rides, which played in Indiana and Illinois. In the spring of 1957, Luehrs' Ideal Rides, Inc. hit the road!

Luehrs' Ideal Rides began with only five rides: Octopus, Ferris wheel, Merry Go Round, King pony cart and a new Shiff coaster. Hub and Winnie knew with the kids in school that they could not grow fast, so they decided to grow BEST, rather than biggest. With limited funds they started buying, selling, trading and refurbishing.

With the help and cooperation from their family, Hub and Winnie's vision of being the BEST became a reality. FAMILY has always been an integral part of Luehrs' Ideal Rides and this stems from Luehrs' founders. With great pride, they raised four children: William, Jon, Jean and Lorelei. All four children attended college, and worked for Luehrs' Ideal Rides in many capacities. This family atmosphere can still be felt on our midway today.

Winnie passed away in 1983 and Hub in 1999. Their vision of being the BEST has been passed down for four generations. The third generation of Luehrs' presently owns Luehrs' Ideal Rides. Lorelei and Andy Schoendienst, and Jean and Joe Clair purchased the company in 1996. Hub's nephew Jimmy Luehrs, grandson Andrew Schoendienst, granddaughter, Kristin Clair Atkins and her husband Christopher Atkins also work for Luehrs' Ideal Rides. Continuing with the ideals and standards from the generations before them, The Schoendienst, Luehrs, Clair & Atkins families are working hard and striving for excellence.

Jack Bohlander Memorial Scholarship

Jack Bohlander Memorial ScholarshipJack W. Bohlander - 1932-1997

Jack Bohlander became an independent game operator in the early 1950's. Starting with a basketball game and a coke pitch, he continued this through 1966 to supplement his regular factory job.

In 1967, he entered into the outdoor amusement business on a full time basis with the purchase of a small carnival. This being the beginning of Poor Jack Amusements. Over the years this grew to include forty rides operating in two units. The show operated in Indiana and Ohio for a six month season.

Jack was a member of many trade organizations including, the Showmen's League of America (St. Louis Chapter). Jack was a tireless advocate for the betterment of the outdoor amusements business.

Jack was a strong believer in his family and church. He was most pleased with being involved with a business that allowed his family to live, work, and play together. Jack was the President and CEO of Poor Jack Amusements until his death in 1997. Poor Jack Amusements is still owned and operated by his wife Patricia and their five children and families.

Kotton King Scholarship

Kotton King ScholarshipKeith E. Roesch AKA Kotton King was born on May 23rd, 1934 in East St. Louis, Illinois. He grew up in Belleville, Illinois taking care of his horses on his family's property.

Keith could have followed in his fathers footsteps and been an accountant but that wasn't in his heart. Keith did things his way and decided to become a carpenter.

In 1953 he met and later married the love of his life Marian. Together they had 5 children. During that time he became a carpenter and also went to candy making school in Erie, Pennsylvania. With the knowledge of candy making he and Marian opened a store named Candy Land Candies in Belleville, but with 5 children to feed he needed more income.

Dad sold his shotgun and bought a 1963 International bread truck and converted it into a cotton candy truck that he would take thru the neighborhoods of St. Louis and sell cotton candy, popcorn, snow cones and soda. Keith worked 3 jobs for many years, carpenter by day candy maker by night and working the cotton candy truck on the weekends.
Together the saved their money and bought their first carnival ride and Kotton King Concessions was born. Thru the years Kotton King developed into a small carnival consisting of 8 carnival rides and 3 concession trailers (Keith himself built) working school picnics and small fairs throughout Illinois and Missouri.

Keith had a commitment to him that I have yet to see in anyone. Commitment to his family, his business and most importantly his wife.

He would never quit at anything, it wasn't in his nature, he always strived to be the best at everything he did.

Keith worked until the very end, and sadly on August 23rd 2012 he passed away. His legacy will live on in the Kotton King scholarship, I know Keith would be so pleased to know he was able to help a student to achieve their dreams.

Lucy Tinsley Memorial Scholarship

Lucy Tinsley Memorial ScholarshipLucy Agnes (Rossman) Tinsley - November 8, 1909 - July 5, 1990

Lucy was born & raised in the St. Louis area, while her family originated in the Michigan area. She attended Washington University for 1 year in their commercial arts program. Lucy married Richard Henry Tinsley, whom worked for postal department. Together they raised 4 children including Richard in 1936, Rene in 1941, Placide in 1945, and Pamela in 1948.

Lucy was active in many school and church functions throughout years of raising children and assisted in founding of Tinsley's Amusements serving as show secretary. She traveled on the road with the second unit until health reasons prohibited.

Ray Swyear Memorial Scholarship

Ray Swyear Memorial ScholarshipRay Swyear grew up in the coal mining town of Marissa Illinois. He knew early on he did not want to be a coal miner like his father and uncles. He left Marissa at the age of 17 and joined the Navy for two years. When he returned home he married Janice Wiggand and started his family of 3 young sons.

Ray started out painting with his father-in-law until he got his first taste of the outdoor amusement business. He invested in a portable roller skating rink with skates of all sizes and booked it into different outdoor events. He met a lady, "Miss Mare" from St. Louis who owned a small carnival. She was selling a train ride and a kiddie car ride after her husband had passed away and Ray thought he could book that too. Ray set the train ride up in his back yard for the neighborhood children and it fell off the tracks. So the local newspaper the next day ran the story that a train had derailed right there in town. Ray booked his rides and soon found he had his very own carnival to operate.

With his wife Janice, and his 3 young sons, they traveled on weekends and worked the circuit living out of the family car and eventually getting a travel trailer with all the comforts of home. As it became more full time, he gave up the painting business and in 1958, he started Ray Swyear Rides. Ray enjoyed the carnival business. He ran his company with a handshake and a pen and paper. He thought it was a respectable business no different than any other.

He was most concerned about the safety of his rides. He wanted to make sure his customers we enjoying themselves and that his ride operators were paying attention to them. He especially did not like the girls hanging on his ride fence talking to his ride operators when they were working. Ray was a strong boss but also had a very soft heart for those less fortunate then himself. Ray made lots of friends over his lifetime. He built a clubhouse on some land in the river bottoms of the Kaskaskia River outside of New Athens. He did a little farming and had a barn with 40 head of cattle at one time, He called them "the girls" and really enjoyed his off season down on the farm. He would invite everyone to play knock poker and deer hunt in season and fish some as well. Many a Budweiser was enjoyed during these great get-togethers. Ray belonged to numerous organizations. He was president of the St. Louis Showmens Club and secretary as well. He was especially proud of being a Shriner.

A Masonic service was held at his funeral in 1997 and a comment from the New Athens Funeral Home was that was the most flowers they had ever seen there. Ray had alot of friends and they were all there to celebrate his life. We must never forget our loved ones who have blazed the trail with their hard work and love for their family and friends and appreciate the legacy he has left for them. Swyear Amusements INC continues today because Ray Swyear decided to buy a kiddie train ride.

Showkids / Jr. Showmen Living Scholarship

Showkids / Jr. Showmen Living ScholarshipThe question was how were we going to get the next generation excited about being in the Showmen's League of America-St.Louis? Theresa Noerper and Lori Germain-Gould took the question and ran with it. Together they had a vision of any child connected in the industry having a group to call their own. Next they set up a few guidelines, such as the club should be about fun not money or fund raising. They figured the kids have their whole lives to worry about money so now it should be about fun.

2006 was the year the club was formed and by the end there were 47 charter members. The kids elected their leaders and began to form their club. Immediately the club took on a life of it's own. They membership decided to try to do two or three fun outings a year. They asked if they could fund a scholarship with the St. Louis club. They began raising money for many different causes,as well. Over the years they have raised money for Children's hospitals, Toys for Tots, Soldier's Wish List, VFW, Autism, Cancer patients, various Christmas parties for underprivileged /foster kids and several other scholarships and clubs.

It wasn't even a year later and they were asking if we could form a Jr. Showmen Club for the teen-agers. The new club was formed and they assist the Show Kids in every event. The Jr. Showmen help guide and mentor the younger members. Their next step will be to join their adult Showmen Clubs as active members.

In 2009, The club was expanded to the Sunshine State Florida. A group of kids, their parents and friends began forming and contributing to this new branch.

As this club evolves and grows the kids keep connected with Showmen's League though the sponsorship of the Show Kids and Jr. Showmen Living Scholarship. Now they are a part of the great commitment the St. Louis Showmen have in their scholarship program. It is the Show Kids' vision that their scholarship goes to a deserving young person and is used as a stepping stone for their future and dreams.

Are you interested in becoming a member of the Showmen's League - St. Louis Chapter? Check out our membership page for more info!
SLA St. Louis
David Penn, Treasurer
PO Box 345
Hazelwood, MO 63042
Ph: 314-749-7701
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