Dave Lucas and Joe Halderman founded Sunshine Promotions in 1971 to book local rock concerts. Off to a slow start, Sunshine booked only four shows the first year. That number gradually grew. Steve Sybesma joined the company in 1974, and he and Lucas booked an average of 200 or more shows a year in 15 cities in Indiana and surrounding states by the late 1980s. Sunshine Promotions also produced fairs and expositions, truck pulls, exhibition basketball, closed-circuit boxing, four-wheel-drive truck racing, and ice skating. At the time, the company was reportedly among the top five promoters in the country.
In 1989, Sunshine Promotions overcame residential opposition to build, a 20,000-capacity amphitheater in nearby rural Hamilton County. The center, now known as Ruoff Music Center, hosts performing artists representing a variety of musical styles. It is also the site of an annual fair that features concerts and sports events.
Headquartered in Indianapolis, Sunshine Promotions branched out into a number of related businesses: Karma Records; Tour Design, a company producing radio and television spots for the music touring industry; Global Management, a firm arranging concert and special event sponsorship; and Suntex, a sportswear manufacturing company.
In 1997, SFX acquired Sunshine Promotions, which became part of Clear Channels Communications in 2000. Lucas served as Clear Channel Communications CEO for 2 1/2 years. Clear Channel spun off the events promotion part of its business as Live Nation in 2005.