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Safety of rides at West Texas Fair & Rodeo company's top priority

By Cassandra Webb, cwebb@ktxs.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 05:07:45 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 09 2013 07:17:29 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

The West Texas Fair & Rodeo is in full swing, but after a weekend accident on a ride at a Connecticut festival similar to the Abilene fair, how safe are the rides here?

Carnival owner Alan Cockerham said safety at the fair is his No. 1 priority.

"We stake our company's reputation and livelihood on providing families safe entertainment," Cockerham said.

What, specifically, is done to ensure your safety?

"All rides go through an annual inspection that's very detailed and very thorough," Cockerham said. "In addition to that, all rides go through a pre-opening inspection before each event. When these rides are transported to Abilene, they're inspected prior to opening, as well as being inspected every, single day."

Cockerham said rides don't have a shelf life.

"Rides can last dozens and dozens of years," he said. "It all depends on the type of ride and the maintenance that's been done on the ride."

In his 19 years of experience, Cockerham said he's always had a safe operation.

Viewers on our KTXS Facebook page weighed in:

"Not safe. No way I'd ride any of them."

"I wouldn't get on one."

"How many of us have been going to these fairs and riding them all our lives and are fine? I'm just wondering what the actual danger is."

Cockerham said the most important thing you can do is pay attention to the signs and obey the rules.

Also, if your child is scared on the ground before the ride, do not force them. It will only escalate once they're riding.

Here are some more tips on carnival safety:

  1. Watch your step –look out for those cable lines on the ground.
  2. Don't wear loose-fitting clothing that could get caught in any rides.
  3.  If you have long hair, it's best to pull it back.
  4. Wear close-toed shoes; tennis shoes are the best.
  5. Always pay attention to the instructions of the ride operator.