Brooks Trimper and his family are poised to continue the 115-year tradition of delighting visitors from near and far at Trimper’s Rides in Ocean City
More than 115 years ago, the warm days of spring meant that Daniel B. Trimper and his wife, Margaret, were gearing up for the new season of tourists to Ocean City. Back then, their turn-of-the-century business was modeled after Great Britain’s Windsor Castle. It was two hotels and an amusement park, which became known as Windsor Park.
Today, it’s the fourth and fifth generations of the Trimper family who are responsible for continuing the legacy established all those years ago. And while much has changed when it comes to the daily operation of what is now Trimper’s Rides, some things have stayed very much the same.
“When the carousel was in its infancy, it was powered by the same steam engine that provided some of the first manmade light in Ocean City,” said Brooks Trimper, the business’s current operations manager and chairman of the board.
Obviously, that steam engine was replaced by conventional electrical power decades before Brooks, 34, was even born. Still, for all his vision as an entrepreneur, Daniel B. Trimper, Brooks’ great-great-grandfather, never could have imagined that the same carousel and all the rides alongside it would be run by something called a computer.
“Sure, technology is part of our business like everyone else’s,” Brooks said, “but there is still something about this business that is independent of time and technology.”
Brooks remembers, for example, that his mom, Gail, took him for his first ride on the iconic 103-year-old carousel before he was even a year old. To this day, he can vividly recall the aroma of cotton candy wafting through the salted air, and the sound of belts, gears and other machinery that the calliope music drowned out during peak season. In a way, it’s something like being in the circus, in that it is a life mainstream Americans may appreciate or even envy from the outside but one they can never fully understand.
“Every spring, as soon as the weather warmed up, and we were setting up all the attractions for the new season, we would ride the carousel and all the other rides before we were officially open and had to share them with the tourists and other visitors,” Brooks recalled. “We had them all to ourselves, and as kids, we reveled in it. Those were almost magical times and some of the fondest memories of my childhood.”
That same sense of nostalgia not only infused Brooks but also the rest of his family, all of whom have treasured personal memories similar to his own. It’s what makes their proprietorship different than most, because it’s not fueled by profit, glory or ambition alone.
“To us, it’s as if the amusement park were a member of our family who we have been trusted by our ancestors to care for and protect,” shared Brooks. “We consider it not only a sacred responsibility but also an honor. Moreover, we feel the better job we do, the more people we give pleasure to. So, I ask you, how could anyone possibly have a better job than that?”
Credible evidence of this tireless dedication is the current protocol that has Brooks and the rest of his key crew wearing pedometers during peak season, to measure how much of the park they patrol during each shift. According to Brooks, the typical distance covered on any day is 20 to 25 miles.
“We definitely get exhausted from covering that much territory every night during peak season,” said Brooks, who works an average of 70-75 hours a week during that time.
Still, no matter how much one loves their job, there are always stresses to be borne, and Trimper’s is no exception.
“It may look like all fun from the outside, but this can be a challenging business,” Brooks confessed. “When I have a tough day at the park, my favorite thing to relieve stress is actually to ride the carousel and talk to the various generations of people riding it with me, whether they’re from around town or the other side of the country. Sure, I solicit their feedback about their experience at the park, but what I like most is when they share the stories of when they were young, and their parents or grandparents used to take them here, and the memories they made from those innocent, simpler times. When I hear that, it gives me such a sense of perspective, such a sense of history, that I find whatever I was stressed about has basically disappeared.”
Trimper’s Rides is pleased to announce some changes for the 2015 season. Not only have they added the Balloon Fiesta ride, which is a Ferris wheel designed for kids of all ages and their families, but they’re unveiling the brand-new Spin Coaster, which also has broad-based appeal but is targeted more to the thrill-seekers among us.
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