The 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 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, Clair & Atkins families are working hard and striving for excellence.
Andy earned his degree in Aircraft Engineering from St. Louis University in 1975. He has been part of the mobile amusement industry since 1968. Through his former employer, Ed Murphy, Andy was introduced to his favorite client, Hub Luehrs. In 1986, Andy married Hub’s youngest daughter, Lorelei. Andy is past Chairman of the OABA and past President of the Showmen’s League of America, St. Louis Chapter. Andy is currently the 3rd vice of the Showmen’s league of America Chicago chapter. Andy is known for his personal attention to detail that he feels every event deserves.
Joe earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Las Vegas in 1970. Joe met Jon Luehrs in high school in Hollywood, Fl. Jon introduced Joe to his family and also his twin sister Jean. In the summer of 1969, Joe went to work for his friend Jon Luehrs and soon began dating his twin sister Jean. The two married in 1971.
Jean earned her Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Florida in 1969. Throughout her childhood Jean spent many summers helping her parents run their carnival. It was through these experiences that she learned how to do just about anything, from making cotton candy to selling tickets. She was the first women president of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association in 1996. She is a past president of the Showmen’s League of America, Chicago chapter and a past President of the St. Louis chapter. She was inducted into the prestigious OABA hall of fame in 2015.
Lorelei earned her Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Florida in 1976. Lorelei spent her summers working for her family and learning how to run the office from her mother. After spending a few years teaching, she returned to the family business and became treasurer in 1981. Lorelei was the first woman president of the Showmen’s League of America, St. Louis chapter in 2004. She is currently a director for the Outdoor Amusement Business Association (www.oaba.org).
Kristin graduated in 2000 from Villanova University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. Kristin is the granddaughter of Hub and Winnie. She heads LIR’s media and human resources department. Christopher is also fourth generation. His family is on their 86th year as The Mighty Thomas Carnival. He graduated in 2002 from Rocky Mountain College with a Bachelor of Science degree in History Education. Chris is a certified Level II NAARSO Ride Inspector (www.naarso.com). Besides being a US Army veteran, he is a past president of the Showmen’s League of America, Chicago chapter (www.showmensleague.org). They have son named Thomas born July 23rd 2012 and a son named William born April 29th 2015.
Andrew is a 2009 Graduate of the University of Missouri with a degree in Advertising and Business Administration. Andrew is the youngest grandchild of Hub and Winnie Luehrs. He currently manages the game concessions, assists in the office and with midway management. Andrew is an AIMS certified level 2 operations technician (www.aimsintl.org).
Imagine a day where you could go and enjoy the carnival luxuries of Spinning Rollercoasters, Banana Splits and Dizzy Dragons. A day where it is OK to indulge in deep fried oreos, elephant ears and fresh dipped corn dogs. Drive Crazy Buses, Bumper Cars, Surfer Trains and Frog Hoppers or feel like a pilot and fly Helicopters. Take a ride on the Ferris Wheel and scream your lungs out on the Himalaya. Rack up some big points at the Skeeball or try your arm at the Speedball. We perfectly combine the classic Carnival nostalgia with the latest and greatest in Carnival entertainment!
Staff members attend seminars to keep up to date with the ever-changing safety regulations and training programs. LIR employees take pride in operating safely. All of our staff has been put through our rigorous in-house training and orientation program.
We have full time, on duty staff members that have completed the same training and testing as our state ride inspectors.
Learn about the Circle of Excellence Program. www.oaba.org
Learn about the history of the Carnival industry. showmensleague.org