Inspectors Busy Getting Rides Ready For Oklahoma State Fair 2011

Tuesday, September 13th 2011, 9:25 pm
By: News 9

Jennifer Pierce, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- We are only days from the opening of the great state fair. It's crunch time to get the booths and rides ready for the crowds.

News 9 went along with the inspectors, as they went to check the different rides to insure they are ready for the public on Thursday.

Before a big ride is even loaded off the truck, it is inspected.

"Each and every ride is inspected from the time it pulls off onto the lot," said Don Hankins, ride inspector.

And throughout the course of the fair, they will be checked 15 to 20 times.

"There is a saying in the industry that is said by every school, the more eyes the better," Hankins said.

Hankins is an independent safety inspector. He works with a number of other inspectors that are hired by the state fair board and brought in by the state labor department.

Hankins has been doing this for over 20 years and knows just what to look for to insure a smooth ride.

"You look at the structure of the ride itself, you will look to insure to use the proper type of pin, proper type of bolts... you are looking at the carrier itself. You know any sharp edges or any seat belts in good condition," Hankins said.

Hankins said the number one cause of accidents on ride is actually due to rider error, and then it would be operator error. He said mechanical problems are actually very low on the list when it comes to accidents on rides.

One ride that will stay closed is the space needle. This is the second year for it to be shut down. It was damaged in last summer's floods and fair officials said it's too expensive to fix.