Fair-goers in Helena respond to carnival accident at Gallatin County Fair


HELENA, Mont. - Just over a week after a broken carnival ride at the Gallatin County Fair sent a young girl to the hospital, the ride operator, North Star Amusements, has moved on to the next town for this week's fair in Helena.

North Star Amusements tells NBC Montana the ride, the Power Tramp, is not in use at this week's fair.

Last Friday, a teenage girl was on the ride when it broke and she fell 10 to 15 feet, breaking her pelvis.

This isn't the first time someone was injured on this ride at the fair.

NBC Montana stopped by the Lewis and Clark County Fair in Helena on Saturday to see how folks feel about North Star and its safety record.

Some fair-goers said they felt uneasy letting their kids go on rides in the carnival after hearing about the accident in Bozeman.

"It's scary because you want to take your kids to the fair, you want them to have fun and you're putting our trust into people that you don't know to make sure they're doing their job and they're checking the equipment," said Helena resident Shanon Burgen.

But other people said they are not deterred by the news.
"I know that everyone takes as many safety precautions as they can," said Helena resident Patty Matthews.

Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds Manager Keith Hatch explained while they heard about the incident in Bozeman, they will not change their arrangements with North Star.

"We've had those folks here for twenty-plus years," he explained, "and they've had an excellent safety record here. I have a lot of confidence in those folks. Accidents are going to happen with every aspect of the fair. There's just always a lot going on, a lot of people."

NBC Montana tried repeatedly to get a comment from North Star on the accident, but all they will tell us is their insurance is handling the investigation.

Next week, North Star Amusements travels to Missoula for the Western Montana Fair.

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