Missouri State Fair carnival rides inspected daily to meet safety requirements

Missouri State Fair carnival rides go through inspection process

SEDALIA, Mo. - NOTE: This story originally aired on Wed., Aug. 8, 2018.

The Missouri State Fair will open for its 116th year on Thursday.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to come through the gates at the fairgrounds in Sedalia, and many of those attendees will choose to ride the carnival rides. ABC 17 News investigated the safety procedures in place for those rides.

All rides will be inspected every day of the fair. That's in addition to the inspections that have already been done by the state fire marshal's office.

Frank Zaitshik has been the owner of the company providing the rides, Wade Shows, for the past 30 years.

"We do everything we can to ensure the safety of our customers," Zaitshik said one day before the fair opened.

His carnival plays in 14 different states, including the New York State Fair, Florida State Fair and Oklahoma State Fair.

Per Missouri state law, each carnival ride must pass an inspection by a state qualified inspector.

Before ABC 17 News went to the fair, we requested documents from the state fire marshal, which prove the rides have been permitted.

"We're inspected so often in so many different states that we're very prepared to run a safe, clean, efficient carnival," said Zaitshik.

Despite the procedures in place, things can happen.

ABC 17 News uncovered one personal injury lawsuit against Wade Shows in Missouri. The plaintiff was injured in 2010 when a tent collapsed during a wind storm.

Two people, including a nine-year-old, were injured.

"Obviously when we ride 15, 18 million people a year, frequency dictates incidents," acknowledges Zaitshik.

Fair director Mark Wolfe told ABC 17 News organizers try to learn from things that go wrong.

"You certainly have to react to those things that happen," said Wolfe. "Accidents happen. That's just part of life. The goal is to always learn from that, I think, and do it better. So that's what we work on all the time."

Wade shows also has a third party, Wagner Consulting Group, inspect their rides. The ride operators also review each ride for safety every day of the fair.

"Every morning, I will go around and just watch the operators to make sure they're doing their inspections," said Edward LaSalle, an associate with Wagner Consulting Group.

Wade Shows does an internal investigation when an incident is reported, and closes the ride for any mechanical errors.

Everyone ABC 17 News spoke with on Wednesday, said safety is their number one priority.

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