Once upon a time, in the year 1967, a visionary man named Walter Larson embarked on a remarkable journey in Plainview, TX. Together with his beloved wife Sharon, they founded Larson International, an enterprise that would leave an indelible mark on history.
The genesis of Larson International lay in the realm of tractors, but not just any ordinary tractors. These were high clearance marvels designed to cater to specific needs. With their impressive six-foot clearance, these tractors could effortlessly traverse over the burgeoning crops of corn, vine tomatoes, and delicate wine vineyards. Over the years, the company crafted around 3000 such specialized tractors, finding homes all across North America through the late-1990s.
But destiny had more adventures in store for Larson International. In the year 1970, fate took a delightful twist when a man named Mr. Walter House from Amarillo, TX, approached Walter Larson with an extraordinary prototype amusement ride. Enchanted by the possibilities, the two collaborated tirelessly to refine the design. By 1972, their efforts bore fruit as they unveiled their first creation, the spectacular Super Loops.
As the 1980s dawned, Larson International found itself amid an oil boom. Seizing the moment, they diversified their portfolio, not only continuing to build tractors but also venturing into crafting mobile cement batch plants, street sweepers, pump jacks, mobile drilling rigs and even more Super Loops. With two bustling facilities in Plainview and nearby Kress, TX, Larson International was fast becoming a prominent name in both agricultural and amusement industries.
In 1989, the amusement side of the company soared to new heights with the introduction of the Hi-Roller, an elongated and thrilling iteration of their beloved Super Loops. The year 1994 saw Larson International secure a patent for their next innovative creation, the Stardancer. This telescoping observation tower offered a grand alternative to the traditional Ferris Wheel and was soon followed by another successful collaboration, the Aviator, co-produced with Chance Rides.
The late ’90s witnessed Larson International spreading its wings further, reaching out to a broader customer base in larger regional parks. Their ambition culminated in the creation of the colossal 22-meter Giant Loop, a majestic freestanding park model loop.
In 2001, the company revived a beloved classic, the Flying Scooter ride, originally crafted by Bisch-Rocco. But their ambitions didn’t end there. Larson International, in conjunction with ARM, co-produced the awe-inspiring Supershot tower. Alongside this venture, they also ventured into constructing portable car displays for automotive dealerships.
In 2010, the spirit of collaboration led Larson International to partner with Mine-ARC, resulting in the construction of several life-saving mine refuge chambers. The year 2011 brought yet another significant acquisition – Sellner Manufacturing, a renowned company that had brought to life the iconic Tilt-A-Whirl and various other midway favorites since 1923. Larson International continued to build on this legacy, incorporating themed Tilt-A-Whirls into their repertoire.
In 2018, the company’s innovation knew no bounds, as they introduced the revolutionary Hubless Wheel and the gargantuan 100-foot-tall Giga Loop, a thrilling spectacle to behold.
In the 2023, Larson International joined forces with the illustrious team at Rocky Mountain Construction. Hailing from Hayden, Idaho, this roller coaster manufacturer had made waves in the industry with their patented track system, and together, they set forth to create a new chapter in the history of amusement rides.
And so, the story of Larson International, a journey that began with tractors and traversed through loops, towers, and coasters, continues to this very day, etching its name in the annals of history. The legacy of Walter Larson and the dedicated team lives on, enchanting thrill-seekers and leaving a legacy of innovation for generations to come.