Brass Ring Award winner gather for a photo

The Haunted Mine Drop at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park won the coveted Brass Ring Excellence Marketing Award for Best PR Campaign, besting such notable competition as LEGOLAND California and Six Flags Great Adventure and Safari.

Glenwood Caverns grabs the brass ring!

The Haunted Mine Drop is an award-winning rideThe Adventure Park’s newest ride, The Haunted Mine Drop—the world’s first drop ride to go underground—won a prestigious Brass Ring for Excellence in Marketing for the best public relations (PR) campaign at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions’ (IAAPA) annual conference in Orlando, Florida. It was one of just three American attractions honored out of nine marketing categories, winning out over fellow finalists LEGOLAND California and Six Flags Great Adventure and Safari in New Jersey.

“We couldn’t be more proud to be recognized by IAAPA alongside the top parks from all around the world, especially when you consider our budget versus those of the industry giants,” Steve Beckley, who owns Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park with his wife Jeanne. Both were on hand to receive the award. 

Award is a major achievement

IAAPA’s Brass Ring awards are presented to amusement parks, water parks, zoos, aquariums, museums, family entertainment centers and suppliers from around the world to honor excellence in various categories. The tradition of the brass ring, a term now synonymous with spectacular achievement, dates back to the amusement industry in the 1800s. Rings were suspended above carousel riders—low enough for them to grasp, but high enough to pose a challenge. Skilled riders who grabbed a brass ring often earned prizes, including a free ride on the carousel. Most rings were made of iron, but a few were made of brass, so grabbing the brass ring was a valuable treat.

The PR campaign was led by Mandy Gauldin, Peak Communications, who has represented Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park since 2003. Jeanne Beckley said, “It has been such a privilege to work with Mandy over the last 15 years. Prior to coming to Glenwood Caverns, Mandy spent five years working for FleishmanHillard, the world’s largest PR firm at the time. With her incredible talent, knowledge of the industry and can-do attitude, she has played an integral part in bringing us from our small beginnings to a world-class adventure park.”

The Haunted Mine Drop spiked massive media coverage

Pre-dawn on opening day of the Haunted Mine DropMedia interest in the Haunted Mine Drop began as soon as the park announced its plan and grew steadily during construction; the highlight was being named one of the 12 Most Anticipated New Theme Park Rides of 2017 by USA TODAY.

The grand opening on July 31, 2017, was attended by journalists and industry writers from as far away as New York. Same day coverage started at 5:15 a.m. with live video on Denver’s NBC affiliate of on-air personality Matt Renoux screaming all the way down to the bottom of the mine shaft, followed by live coverage of on-air personality Kevin Torres doing the same on the FOX affiliate. The Post Independent ran live video during the opening on their social media sites and featured the ride in two stories that covered the front page the following day. Leading industry magazine Park World editor Paul Ruben was one of the first to ride, which resulted in a three-page spread in the publication.

In terms of audience reach, the attraction’s inclusion in USA TODAY’s 10Best contest for the top new amusement park attraction of 2017 and the resulting coverage from earning the top spot on the list was by far the biggest hit.  Additionally, Sunset magazine, with a circulation of 1.25 million, named it a finalist for Best Attraction in its annual travel awards issue, and the story in EnCompass reached 670,000 Colorado travelers.

Focusing on video content

The park made video a priority on opening day, with an emphasis shareable content. Chris Tribble, owner of Versatile Productions, shot footage and edited two videos onsite, one for social media and one that was sent out that day with an electronic press release for traditional media usage. The social media videos were viewed more than 90,000 times on Facebook. The reach on the page was phenomenal as well, with 530,460 people reached on opening day alone. For the month, the page reached 3.94 million versus 818,000 the prior year. Traffic to also spiked, with a 48.4% increase month over month versus the prior year.

Find out more about Colorado’s must-see attraction Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and the Haunted Mine Drop at

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