PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

December 8, 2008

County's Zamboni Machine: For Sale, by Owner

BEAUMONT — Few know much about them. Even fewer know how to correctly pronounce their name.

Jefferson County Judge Ron Walker got it right on his second try last week, but had no problem rattling off the name “Zamboni” Monday afternoon as he and the rest of the county commissioners unanimously agreed to rid Southeast Texas of the publicly owned ice resurfacer.

The Zamboni Machine Ice Surfacer was used by Ford Arena workers to smooth the ice between periods during Texas Wildcatters’ hockey games since the team’s first seasons in 2003-2004. Minus the 2005-2006 season suspension due to Hurricane Rita, Jefferson County got four full seasons out of use out of the machine, which was originally purchased for $59,226.

During Monday’s Commissioners’ Court meeting, the county agreed to sell the ice surfacer back to the Zamboni company for $40,500.

According to Jefferson County Auditor Patrick Swain, it wasn’t hard to find a buyer.

“They (Zamboni) had the highest bid,” Swain said. “We had three come in and they were the highest. We had given it a ten-year life, just for bookkeeping purposes, so we had the net cost after depriciation of $35,536.”

The California-based Zamboni company got its start in the early 1940s when entepreneur brothers Frank and Lawrence Zamboni’s “Iceland” skating rink opened in present-day Paramount, Calif. Seeing an uphill battle in trying to keep good ice on an outdoor rink for 800-plus skaters, the Zamboni’s put a dome around the rink and took on the task of keeping indoor ice resurfaced.

The world saw the first, self-propelled single operator resufacer, the “Model A”, in 1949.

It is common practice for the company to buy back used machines, or take them in on trade when a facility wants to upgrade their resurfacer, Paula Coony, general manager of Zamboni merchandising, said.

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