From The Oklahomanby AINSLEY MARTINEZ
Published: Sun, September 8, 2019
Among the highlights of the Oklahoma State Fair, and a major attraction for thrill-seekers, are the carnival rides that Frank Zaitshik brings to the 11-day Oklahoma City experience.
Zaitshik is the owner of Wade Shows, a company that has provided rides to the state fair for 30 years.
The company has rides at more fairs and events than any other company in the United States, Zaitshik said. He said extensive work and preparation are required to make sure rides at each event are safe and functioning properly.
Wade Shows recently spent about $1.2 million buying new rides and refurbishing older ones.
“We spend millions of dollars every year on cosmetic, structural and mechanical refurbishment,” he said.
Zaitshik explained that Safety is key as rides sometimes rides often are replaced with others that already are available to the company. This year, Wade Shows purchased a new version of the familiar ride “The Sizzler.” It's one of the new rides added to the rotation. The company has 125 rides.
Overall, a key feature to rides, Zaitshik said, is portability. A state fair is a temporary attraction, so it’s important for rides to be set up and broken down easily and efficiently.
“They’re designed from the manufacturers to erect and dismantle on a regular basis,” he said.
Working in the carnival and state fair industry since 1966, Zaitshik has noticed many differences surrounding the technology used to erect and dismantle rides. He said earlier in his career mainly manual labor was used. Now, there are multiple tools and equipment to make the process faster and easier.
“Today we use manual labor and all other kinds of equipment, such as cranes and forklifts,” to set up and take down rides, Zaitshik said.
He said the main goal is to provide a safe and enjoyable experience at the Oklahoma State Fair.
And to help with that, phone charging stations and about 200 benches will be available for parents and others to relax.
“Our goal is to continue to enhance our guests' experience, both with making memories and being comfortable while they are there,” he said.