State Fair rides now required to meet state inspections

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HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – After an accidental death last year at a Kansas City area water-themed park, lawmakers now require state inspections of all rides. And that includes the rides at the Midway at the Kansas State Fair.

“He (State of Kansas certified inspector) was here on opening day and went through all of our books to make sure all of our paperwork was up to date,” says Pat Repp with North American Midway Entertainment, the company that runs the rides at the state fair in Kansas. “All our inspection records and what not, and then he met with the third-party inspector and he was very satisfied.”

Repp says his company hires a 3rd-party inspector to check the rides for safety after they are assembled on the midway. But, he says, the rides are also checked daily.

Just as the rides open for the day, each ride is checked, and paperwork is done to document.

“When our employees inspect them on a daily basis they are looking at things like seat belts, sharp edges,” says Repp. “Basic checklist, daily.”

Still, some parents are hesitant to have their kids on the rides. Shelley and Jeff Defrain only allow their kids on what they consider the more “tame” rides.

“I’m of the notion that they are portable devices, right? So if I’m going to take my kids on a ride I’m more apt to take them on an amusement park where it’s going to be a little tighter on maintenance and on security,” says Jeff Defrain. “That’s my assumption, anyway.”

Some parents are ok with their kids on the bigger rides with names like “freak out” on the midway.

“We are out here for the bands that are marching today. I’m with my daughter,” says Linda Mader of the Hays area. “She doesn’t mind. I don’t mind either. She will ride all the rides.”

The State of Kansas now requires the ride inspections, after a law was passed last session in Topeka. Representative John Whtmer helped craft the law.

“Kansas is now into compliance with the rest of the country for ride inspections,” says Representative John Whitmer, R – Wichita. “I’m really proud of this law. We have to have inspections. One death is too many, and I’m just happy with this law. It’s not government overreach. A state inspector checking the rides just strikes the right balance here.”


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