ELYSBURG, Pa. — "Amusement Today's" Golden Ticket Awards recognize the best of the best in amusement parks, and they are a big deal for people who work in that industry.
Knoebels Amusement Resort has won its fair share of these awards over the years. Park president Dick Knoebel was expecting to bring home another Golden Ticket when he stepped on stage at Saturday's award ceremony in Texas, but he wasn't expecting that the award was for him.
"They ran a video about everything I did, and it just blew me away," Dick Knoebel recalled.
Dick was recognized with a Golden Ticket Legend Award. According to Amusement today, a person is recognized as a legend because of their major accomplishments or their long-running status of noteworthy effort. Knoebel is one of fewer than a dozen people worldwide to receive this award.
"I think it was a very great honor, but I have to accept it for all my staff. It belongs as much to them as to me because I couldn't have gotten here without them."
Knoebels opened in 1926. Dick started working there at the age of 5. Now at 83, he is still at the park every day with no plans to retire.
"All of his accomplishments through the years, his dedication, resiliency, passion has finally come to fruition, and his industry peers have voted for him," said Brian Knoebel.
In addition to the Legend Award, Knoebels also won awards for the best food and best wooden rollercoaster — the Phoenix."
There are 184 operating wooden rollercoasters worldwide, and only three have won this award multiple times in a row. The food has won the Golden Ticket Award 19 times.
As Dick Knoebel likes to say, "The food better be good; I eat all of my meals here!"