High-tech rides protect fairgoers - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

High-tech rides protect fairgoers

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

It's not just food drawing people to the fair this year.

The Panhandle South Plains Fair is featuring four new rides this season, there are now 50 total. The lights are brighter, the drops are bigger and the thrills come faster every year.

Fortunately, the same technology that's making rides faster is also making them safer each year.

Miller Spectacular Shows checks the rides each day before the fair opens, following a manufacturer's checklist that covers everything from nuts and bolts to the safety harness.

Freddy Miller, a fourth generation owner, says technology improvements have made the rides easier to transport and easier to assemble.

"Instead of coming apart in hundreds and hundreds of parts, they actually just unfold. It really makes a difference and improves the margin of safety significantly," Miller said.

Computers make sure the operator is in place and all the passengers are locked in before the ride starts. The harnesses won't open unless the ride is fully powered with an operator in place.

Miller says they go above and beyond for safety. The first incident the fair has seen in decades happened last year. A wheel on the Go Gator Roller Coaster came loose, bruising a 3-year-olds foot.

Riders feel good about the extra precautions.

"We make sure they have the safety precautions. If it doesn't seem safe or feel safe we don't ride it," said Rider, Jule Strheton.

The Panhandle South Plains Fair also employs several ride managers who walk around to make sure everything is functioning smoothly.

Copyright 2011 NewsChannel 11

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