SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – After a 10-year-old in Illinois was thrown from a carnival ride and airlifted to the hospital last week, KOLR 10 Investigates decided to take a closer look at the Ozark Empire Fair’s rides.

Before the gates opened last week, two rounds of inspections found a variety of issues with loose bolts, seatbelts, and a braking issue. By following the proper inspection protocol, those issues were caught and fixed before riders could get on.

Missouri’s Amusement Ride Safety Division inspected some 30 rides at the fair this year and most received all satisfactory marks. The following rides were flagged and fixed for safety concerns.

Berry Go Round

  • Inspectors found the Berry Go Round ride had two broken bolts in tub #3 and #4, marking the issue as a violation.
  • The inspection report KOLR 10 Investigates obtained shows the bolts were repaired by July 28 and the ride was cleared to run.

Mini Himalaya

  • This ride got unsatisfactory marks for a blocking issue. Block brakes are used to prevent cars from hitting each other.
  • The issue was corrected.


  • Inspectors found issues with two seatbelts.
  • Riders were prohibited until Himalaya was repaired.

Harlow’s Happy Dragon

  • Records show the Harlow’s Happy Dragon ride was originally positioned too close to the fence on the backside.
  • It was moved farther from the fence before the fair opened.


  • According to inspection reports, the Dinos had a seat that wasn’t secure.
  • Riders were prohibited until the ride was repaired.


  • This ride had a safety restraint violation.
  • It was corrected before guests could ride Extreme.

Rainbow Rock

  • There were missing parts on Rainbow Rock including a front panel and a back brace.
  • The issue was fixed.


  • On the Lollipops ride, inspectors documented a safety restraint violation for a missing clip.
  • The ride was repaired.

If you have a story you’d like Investigative Reporter Lauren Barnas to look into, email her at lbarnas@kolr10.com.