1946 marks the beginning of what is
now Wood Entertainment Inc., when the late Cecil L. Wood along with his wife Elizabeth and
three children, Beatrice, L.W. Bill, and F.G. Red began the
familys storied career in show business. It was 1946 when the family left
their home of 7 years in Phillipsburg, KS where they owned and operated a tire shop, gas
station, and restaurant equipped with an arcade room in the back and took to the road.
First operating a Penny Arcade and food concession with Central State Shows, and then
Brodbeck and Schrader Shows, Cecil and his sons also oversaw the maintenance, operation,
and transport of several rides for the carnival as well as the arcade and food concession
of their own. The family worked together at the carnival until 1951, when Bill was drafted
into the USMC where he served two years and the returned to the family business. In early
1952, Cecil was taken from the family in a truck accident, leaving his sons to carry on.
1953 was Reds turn in the military, when he was drafted by the US Army and served
two years before returning to the family business. The Wood family operated the arcade and
food concessions until 1960, when Red ventured into the ride business as an owner, while
Bill along with his mother and sister continued on with the arcade and food concession
until 1964. In 1964 Bill, his wife, mother, and young daughter settled in Kinsley, KS and
opened a tire and muffler shop.
Red continued his new career in ride ownership and began what
would become a long and distinguished career in the amusement ride business. 1961 marked
the beginning of a long-term friendship and business association with W.G.
Glenn Wade, first operating his own ride, and then performing maintenance on
rides for the W.G. Wade Shows. In 1963, the Allan Hershel Company produced Americas
first spectacular ride, towering an impressive 100 feet, and named it the Skywheel.
Contractual obligations for the Michigan State Fair facilitated the purchase of this
spectacular attraction by Glenn Wade and Red Wood, and a lifelong partnership was formed.
First partnered in the Skywheel and then in the W.G. Wade Shows in 1965, the company grew
to a size of over 100 rides and attractions before its sale in 1981. Along the way,
F.G. Red Wood is credited with many accomplishments:
- Reorganized the transport of the Skywheel from 3 to 2 transport trailers
for the Allan Herschell Company.
- Assisted in drafting Act 225 in Michigan, the first legislation governing
the use and operations of amusement rides in the United States.
- Began supplying rides to State Fair of Texas, Americas largest fair,
as an independent ride operator.
- Appointed by the industry trade association, Outdoor Amusement Business
Association, as its safety committee chairman.
- Began representing the industry on the ASTM F-24 subcommittee charged with
developing the standards governing amusement rides, at the request of its trade
association, the Outdoor Amusement Business Association or OABA.
- Along with his partner Glenn Wade, sold the W.G. Wade Shows and started a
smaller carnival for an employee of 25 years. Jim Elliott became there partner, and
the three owned the newly formed Elliott Amusement Co. naming the show after Jim Elliott
for all the years of loyal service.
- Formed W & W Specialist, Inc., an inspection and ride maintenance firm
servicing exclusively the portable amusement ride business. The first customer was the
State Fair of Texas in Dallas, TX. -manager Wayne Gallagher, requested Red personally do
an evaluation of all the rides contracted there in response to a tragic accident one year
earlier to promote public safety.
- Contracted by the Del Mar Fair, Americas fourth largest fair in
California perform the same job he had for the State Fair of Texas.
- Served as one of the founding members of the National Association of
Amusement Ride Safety Officials or NAARSO, an organization charged with strengthening
communication amongst operators and inspectors of amusement rides through sharing of
information. NAARSO also developed a test to determine the competency level of an
- Begins supplying rides to the Del Mar Fair, Americas fourth largest
- Elected president of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association.
- Sells the Elliott Amusement Company and forms Wood Entertainment Inc., an
independent ride operations firm. Also begins supplying rides to the Minnesota State Fair,
Americas second largest fair.
- Awards given by NAARSO and AIMS at their annual safety seminars to the
individual making the most outstanding contribution to amusement ride safety named in his
honor. The F.G. Red Wood award is given each year.
- F.G. Red Wood succumbs to heart disease, leaving a legacy to
his sons Michael and Glen to carry on the family business.
- The State Fair of Texas names a newly constructed training room in honor of
the late F.G. Red Wood. Known as the Red Wood Training Room.
- Inducted into the OABA Hall of Fame by his peers.
Michael Wood, also a lifelong industry veteran, now heads Wood
Entertainment Inc. After graduating from Michigan State University Michael followed in the
footsteps of his father in the family business. He currently holds a NAARSO Level III
Inspectors certificate, the highest level obtainable through the organization. Michael has
attended numerous NAARSO and AIMS safety seminars and served as an instructor sharing his
knowledge since 1989. He currently serves on the NAARSO Education committee governing the
curriculum for the annual safety seminar held each January.
In 2000, Wood Entertainment Inc. was contracted by Six Flags
Corporation to manage the carnival midway at two events. It produced in Albuquerque,
NM and El Paso, TX. This process included the evaluation of each attraction, and the
operation of it by its owner in order to be considered for presentation to the
public under the Six Flags brand name. The company was also responsible for the site
layout, electrical power grid, and management of the daily operation, including ride
coupon sales, games of skill, food concessions, and gate admissions. Currently the company
serves as a consultant to several amusement ride manufacturers and suppliers, in addition
to operation of amusement rides at 5 of the top 10 fairs in the United States.