After a month-long online poll, Theme Park Adventure/Rick West has been included in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for “Best Theme Park Blogger”. Coming in at #6 in a really close race with the leading industry sites and personalities in the themed entertainment industry, TPA attributes its ranking to its loyal fans and friends – especially those in the haunted attraction community, a part of themed entertainment that the site spends a lot of time and energy promoting throughout the year.
“We are thrilled to place in USA Today’s poll,” says Rick West, founder/editor of Theme Park Adventure. “TPA is much smaller than many of the other sites that were nominated, and so ranking mid-list in the top ten – that is really a testimony to the sheer tenacity of our fans and TPAers everywhere. Without a doubt, the biggest boost came from our friends throughout the haunt community; they rallied behind us and showed amazing love and support that ultimately, brought us across the finishing line so beautifully. We couldn’t be more pleased, and we are absolutely honored by the love everyone has shown these past four weeks.”
A panel of experts picked 20 initial nominees, and winners were then determined by popular vote. Experts Joel Bullock of The Coaster Critic, Roller Coaster Pro, Steve Kalkofen, About.com’s Theme Park guru Arthur Levine and USA TODAY’s Experience America editor James Riley were chosen based on their extensive experience in social media and focus on theme park coverage.
“We certainly want to thank those who nominated Theme Park Adventure to begin with,” says West. “It was certainly a surprise that we weren’t even aware of until voting was underway. To be recognized by folks like Arthur Levine and Joel Bullock in a category with the likes of Ricky Brigante, Robb Alvey, and Lance Hart – all with massive followings – that was really gratifying and rewarding enough, and we celebrate all of the nominees in this poll; it was really neat!”
Theme Park Adventure begins its 20th Anniversary celebration this September. Founded by Rick West in 1994, TPA has covered a vast array of important milestones in themed entertainment history, some of its earliest stories including: Luxor Las Vegas’ First Anniversary, the construction/opening of Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye at Disneyland, opening of Montu at Busch Gardens Tampa, construction/opening of Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags Magic Mountain, opening of Mystery Lodge at Knott’s Berry Farm, and a heart-felt farewell to Disneyland’s Main Street Electrical Parade. In the mid ’90s, TPA published a 170-page book on Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, featuring exclusive content and interviews with Marty Sklar, Tony Baxter, Bob Baranick, and Marc and Alice Davis.
“We’re looking forward to kicking off our 20th Anniversary this September,” added West. “TPA has been around for a long time. We’ve seen amazing attractions built, and we’ve wept with fellow fans as iconic ones have slipped into the history books. This business of documenting the themed entertainment industry is a deeply personal one. The parks and attractions that we cover are part of us, you know? They represent our childhood, our adulthood and are part of our life experience. The themed entertainment community is something very special, just as the fans that are drawn to it. We look forward to starting our next decade – there are amazing adventures just around the corner, and we’ll be there every step of the way!”
Theme Park Adventure is a production partner of ScareLA, Southern California’s only Halloween convention, which is held every August in Los Angeles.
Rick West works in the themed entertainment industry as a Creative Director/Show Writer, and has worked with such companies as Thinkwell, Wyatt Design Group, and BRC Imagination Arts.