How safe are portable fair rides?

How safe are portable fair rides? »Play Video
TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- It's a beautiful evening at the Benton Franklin Fair and Rodeo but some people say they wouldn't set foot on the rides. They question just how safe it is to ride a ferris wheel that's here today and gone next week. KEPR looked into safety inspections on these portable rides.

A trip to the fair or two is in the Glasgow family plans each and every year.

"Every summer, it's a family tradition," said Trixie Glasgow.

From the animals to the corn dogs to the slushies. And who can forget the rides. Mom Trixie Glasgow isn't concerned about risks.

"I know that safety is always the number one concern of anybody cause you have kids and so they just make sure these are safe," said Glasgow.

The ride supervisor for Davis Shows would agree. Jesse Jimenez ran me through the inspection play-by-play for the Spider ride.

"Boom boom, you can tell that's a solid thump right there, opposed to something's gonna move, it's a different sound. Boom Boom, you hear no movement that's what we want," said Jimenez.

After checking the blocks, Jesse makes sure the bolts are tight, and greased. These checks happen daily.

"Some of our rides we have to stop half way during the day. We have to re-grease because it's so hot and they're running so much so a lot of rides, they have to get shut down for 10 to 15 minutes," said Jimenez.


Before the rides could even open for the week, they were inspected by the Department of Labor and Industries. The agency follows a lengthy checklist. They scan for major hazards like electrical issues, and minor ones, like cords that could trip someone.

"Every town, every city we go to you have to be inspected before you open in the state of Washington and Oregon and that pertains to the state laws," said Davis Shows Manager, James Daniel.

But it doesn't end there. Each ride also has manufacturer requirements for a more in-depth inspection. For example, the drop zone cable is changed every two years. And the Spider is ripped down to its part every five years.

"We want them to be safe and we want them to have a good time. Safety is first and foremost," said Jimenez.

Rides actually opened an hour late on the first day because state inspectors hadn't finished their run-through. A wristband for unlimited rides is $30.00.