Despite lack of ND inspection, RRVF manager says carnival rides safe

WEST FARGO--The Red River Valley Fair has hit West Fargo again, July 10-15, for the 51st year. With it comes food, live music and rides, but how safe are the rides we trust every time we visit the fair?...
A colorful machine takes riders on a scream-inducing trip in every direction at the Red River Valley Fair Tuesday, July 12 2016, in West Fargo. Dave Wallis / Forum News Service

WEST FARGO-The Red River Valley Fair has hit West Fargo again, July 10-15, for the 51st year. With it comes food, live music and rides, but how safe are the rides we trust every time we visit the fair?

Currently, North Dakota doesn't require a state inspection of amusement park rides, but past incidents reveal how dangerous amusement park rides in North Dakota and Minnesota can be.

Red River Valley Fair General Manager Bryan Schulz says the rides are always properly inspected, despite the lack of state regulation.

"We hire an independent ride inspector who goes around and checks everything before the fair begins. Along with that, every morning, a superintendent goes to check it out to make sure everything is tight and parts are correctly lubricated," Schulz says.

Schulz says having an independent inspector eliminates the possibility of a ride being overlooked in favor of the fair or carnival company.

"These rides go from location to location; we want somebody who is not an employee of the fair or carnival, so they are able to give an impartial opinion on the rides," says Schulz.

According to him, the independent inspectors are required to fill out an AR-100 inspection report for each ride.

In addition, Schulz notes that Cass County sheriff's deputies, Fargo-Moorhead ambulances and five other security teams are on-site throughout the Red River Valley Fair.

"We take safety very seriously and make sure everyone is having fun. I have been here 11 years, and that has always been my top priority," Schulz says.

The last ride accident at the Red River Valley Fair occurred in 2015 when a six-year-old boy was pinned under a motorcycle that detached from a ride.

The boy walked away with only bumps and bruises, and Schulz stressed the ride had been inspected that day. The reason for the bike detachment was unknown.