Tri-State fair takes extra precaution for rider safety

Tri-State fair takes extra precaution for rider safety
"Freak Out" at the 2017 Tri-State Fair / Source: KFDA
"Freak Out" at the 2017 Tri-State Fair / Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - An amusement park ride similar to the one that left one Midwestern teenager dead this summer is at Amarillo's Tri- State Fair.

However, fair officials said that ride is not a concern here.

It's called "Freak Out" and is a spinning, swinging pendulum-type ride.

Crabtree Amusements owns and operates this and the other 40+ rides at the Tri- State Fair.

Their directors say safety is their number one priority, and that sentiment is echoed by the staff of the fair.

"[Crabtree Amusements is] one of the biggest fair entertainment companies in the whole country," said Mark Zimmer, President of the Tri-State Fair Board. "They have inspectors, and Mr. Crabtree inspects a lot of [the rides] himself."

"Freak Out" is from a different manufacturer but very similar to "Fire Ball," the ride that broke at the Ohio State Fair in July, killing a teenager and injuring several others.

Zimmer does not think that tragedy will stop people from coming to the fair in Amarillo.

"I think those have been addressed by people who that happened to, and it makes everybody stronger in this industry to make sure we don't have anything like that happen," he said.

In response to that incident in Ohio, Crabtree amusements did a special inspection of its "Freak Out" ride, checking each individual piece of the ride for damage or other problems.

It passed its inspection, and is a popular attraction among thrill-seekers at the fair.

Every ride is tested and inspected daily before the fair opens to the public.

"Every day," said Zimmer. "If it was alright yesterday they're going to inspect it again today. Everything's about safety on the rides. That's the top priority."

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