The North Bend Eagle

D.C. Lynch carnival
Carnvial rides are always a popular feature of Old Settlers. This weekend marks the 30th year D.C. Lynch Shows will be providing the rides.

Old Settlers staple D.C. Lynch gives North Benders 30th ride

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 6/20/12

Ask any 8-year-old what his favorite part of Old Settlers is, and the response probably wouldn’t require much thought.

It’s all about the rides.

This year will mark the 30th time that Dennis Lynch and the D.C. Lynch Carnival will be at North Bend’s Old Settlers celebration.

Rod Johnson has been the North Bend Chamber of Commerce’s carnival liaison for that entire time. Thirty-one years ago a different carnival company showed up for Old Settlers with one ride and one kiddie ride. Their excuse was that they had double booked for the weekend.

“Needless to say, I went into hiding that weekend,” Johnson said. “Don Satorie had seen the Lynch show in Wahoo so he put me onto them. I called Dennis and he was looking to get out of a gig that wasn’t panning out for them, so he agreed to give Old Settlers a try. The rest is history.”

Since that time, the D.C. Lynch Shows have become a popular fixture at Old Settlers.

“I have stuck with him because he really has a nice show— lots of rides and games and they are clean,” Johnson said.

Lynch has a family history of carnivals. His grandfather was a teacher and would work in a carnival during the summers. His step-father and mother started this carnival in 1957, after working for other shows for a number of years. Dennis started working in the carnival when he was 10 and has been has been doing so ever since.

Based in Chapman, the show makes 32 different stops over the course of a year, with five shows in South Dakota and the rest in Nebraska. It goes to six shopping centers, 12 county fairs and 14 town celebrations or festivals. They set up 15 to 20 rides and 16 to 20 concessions or games on the midway depending on the amount of space available. The carnival season starts the last weekend in April and ends mid-September.

Lynch and his family, including sons Dennis, 42, and Michael, 40, are on the road the whole time. If they are doing a show near home, they might go home for a while but do not stay the night until the season is done. Grandchildren ages 6 to 18 join the traveling family after school is out.

His sons own their own equipment and spend the winter months making repairs.

“In a couple more years I’ll be working for them,” Lynch, 70, said. “Now I spend the winter traveling to trade shows.”

Lynch and his wife, JoAnn, were at a trade show in London, England, this winter and bought a new ride (son Michael is the actual owner) that is on the circuit this year. It was made in the Czech Republic. They went to see it in Cork, Ireland, from where it was shipped. It is titled “Free Style” and is the only one like it in the United states.

When asked what it does Lynch said, “You can’t explain carnival rides. They all go around, but this one is pretty nice.”

Lynch said all of his 25 to 30 workers are from Nebraska. Most of them have been with him for some time, including Wes Imas, who has been with the show for 38 years. He is the only employee, besides family, who works for D.C. Lynch year round.

“It’s a unique business,” Lynch said. “Everyone enjoys it or they wouldn’t be here.”
Lynch said they enjoy all the towns they go to.

“Nebraska and South Dakota are the best people in the country,” he said. “I enjoy North Bend. It’s got a nice park, and it’s just a nice place to be.”

He says that he likes the carnival business because he gets to meet a lot of people, “You have to enjoy the public to be in this business.”

Johnson said North Bend and D.C. Lynch have been a good fit over the past three decades.

“I think we are lucky to have his show come to Old Settlers,” Johnson said. “I know there are a lot of community celebrations that cannot find a good, clean carnival to book.”

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