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Kings Dominion Associates Demonstrate Excellence with Golden Thumb Award

Katherine Gittman

Digital Marketing Coordinator

At Kings Dominion, safety is our number one priority and this past December, three of our rides associates received the Golden Thumb Award during Taste of the Season after receiving a perfect score during the International Ride Training Audit.  

Justin Layne, a ride operator at the Carousel (pictured left), Mike Solomon, a ride operator at Snoopy’s Junction and Edward Poppky, a ride operator at the Great Pumpkin Coaster (not pictured) were the three associates to receive the Golden Thumb Award this past December. 

The International Ride Training (IRT) Audit is Cedar Fair’s third-party audit program where the audit is based on how ride operators demonstrate an understanding of 10 key critical components including professionalism, engaging riders, rider screening, loading and unloading, area access control, restraint device security verification, communication, safe zones, pre-dispatch safety check and preparedness.  

Over the course of two days, an IRT auditor will visit a variety of rides throughout the park and evaluate the performance of the ride operators. Once the audit is complete, the auditor will have a wrap-up session with the Rides Department Leadership and Management to discuss the results of the audit. 

Once the final audit scores are given, the ride operators who receive perfect scores are presented the IROC Golden Thumb Award.  

“As a leader of the Rides Department, the audit results give the entire Rides Management team great satisfaction. It took an extreme amount of effort to get the team trained, especially in our current environment and in a short duration of time,” says Rides Area Manager Tyler Bayer.  

“We give all the credit and praise to our Area Supervisor and Leadership teams, as they stepped up and rose to the occasion! Their ability to demonstrate our standards and put their teams in a position to succeed shows our commitment to safety,” says Rides Area Manager Josh Herron.  



“I am very thrilled to have been rewarded a Golden Thumb. After spending seven seasons in Soak City, I have been really lucky to expand my knowledge in the rides world and develop new passions for Kings Dominion as a whole,” says Layne. 


“[The Golden Thumb Award] means a lot to me! It really tells me that I did the best at my position. It means that I can look at this moment when I get older and see how well I did. Also, that I can be proud of what I did while being on the job and at Kings Dominion,” says Poppky.  


Congratulations to these three associates for receiving a perfect score on the IRT Audit! 

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Katherine Gittman

Digital Marketing Coordinator

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