Carnival Ride Safety

Many people eagerly anticipate the county fair and all that comes with it, including the midway thrill rides.

Milan Stonebreaker runs the Power Surge, a ride that takes you upside down and all around on a 360-degree spin, 60 feet in the air.

"We have this handlebar that comes down and straps you in and it's really tight so you can't move at all," rider, Megan Isaacs said.

Myers International has an impressive midway and even more impressive - its track record.

"We've never had a serious accident. We pinch a finger or have skinned knees every now and then, but knock on wood, we never have had a serious accident," said David Starkey, a Myers International employee .

Myers does daily inspections at least twice a day.

"We're going to check these bolts. We gotta make sure they're tight," said Milan Stonebreaker, Power Surge operator.

Amusement parks usually keep their rides up all year long, even during the winter months.

Traveling carnivals disassemble their rides and move them at least once a week.

"We have a little bit of an edge by moving and taking apart our equipment every week," Starkey said.

"You gotta touch them. If you don't touch them, you won't know," said Stonebreaker, referring to making sure the bolts and "R" keys are tightly fastened on the Power Surge.

It takes about a ten hour day to set the rides up and four to five hours to take them down.

Two-thousand people-a-day are expected at the Hart County Fair which continues through July 8, 2007, and Myers brings nearly 70 workers to keep things running smoothly. But they're not the only ones responsible for the thrill-seekers' safety.

"Through the Department of Agriculture, we have ride inspectors who go around throughout the state. They can go in at any time and inspect these rides," said Jimmy England, Hart County Fair Board President.

Ultimately it comes down to a computer-controlled box to get the ride up and running.

When asked if the Power Surge was a frightening experience for her, Isaacs admitted, "Actually I'm scared of heights so yes, I just closed my eyes and screamed a little."

To view a recent press release concerning ride safety, click here.

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