Ride safety top priority at Boone County Fair

As the 2013 edition of the Boone County fair opened to much fanfare Tuesday afternoon, ride operators prepared to greet a new season's worth of thrill seekers. Fairgoers this year will see three times as many vendors as last year, and have the choice of 15 fun rides.

Fair organizers expect a large turnout this year, and have taken extensive preparations to ensure that all rides are safe. Just last week, a roller coaster accident in Texas left one woman dead.

Behind the scenes of every ride at the carnival lies an array of procedures the carnival uses to keep people safe. "The fire marshall has already been here, he's already inspected, he'll be back for operations inspections," said event coordinator Tracy Mulligan. "These guys have run these machines for many years, and they do it well... they know these machines."

Most ride operators stick to one ride - many of them, operating the same ride for years, in fairs all across the United States.

Operators perform a vigorous safety check of every ride component before they open.

Even before the fair is allowed to happen, the Missouri Division of Fire Safety checks a lot of the same things as the carnival when they perform their initial inspection. "We're talking brakes, we're talking braces... we even observe the rides operate to make sure they operate as designed," said State Fire Marshall Randy Cole.

Safety is the number one priority at Boone County Fair, which will remain open until Saturday. The fair offers a range of activities aside from rides and contests.

The Boone County Fair Website is