By Tony Parra
The Murphy Brothers Exposition will bring their show to Portales for the carnival as part of the festivities for the 2004 Roosevelt County Fair.
The Starlight Carnival was the carnival at the 2003 Roosevelt County Fair, but is now out of business. Mike Cone, vice president of the Roosevelt County Fair Board, said his father, Terry, contacted Jerry Murphy, owner of the Murphy Brothers about getting a carnival to go to Portales.
Mike said Terry is on the New Mexico State Fair Board.
“Jerry tried to contact people in the carnival business to come out to Portales,” Mike said. “He called back a week later and said he would bring his show to Portales. The only problem was that we had to reschedule the fair for later in the month.”
Mike Cone said last year the carnival took place earlier in Aug. He said it was changed to the end of the month because it is on the way to Albuquerque for the Murphy Brothers carnival, which will be operating at the New Mexico state fair.
The fair officially opens Aug. 25 and runs through the weekend.
“He usually doesn’t do county fairs,” Mike Cone said of Murphy. “He mostly does state fairs, so we’re glad we were able to get him.”
Murphy said the Murphy Brothers Exposition has been in business since 1946. Murphy said the Murphy Brothers Exposition is currently at the Wisconsin State Fair.
Murphy said the Murphy Brothers Exposition has been at the North Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Tennessee and Mississippi state fairs and also at the Tulsa Fair. He said they have been at the New Mexico state fair for 22 years.
“We have a major lineup for Roosevelt County,” Murphy said. “There’s going to be some great attractions they have never seen at the fair.”
Murphy said some of the ‘spectacular’ rides for the Roosevelt County Fair include:
• Kamikaze: The ride swings in a clockwise motion at 10 rotations per minute. There are 2 passenger cars each capable of carrying 16 people.
• Hurricane: The ride consists of 6 arms, each carrying 4 people, which undergo a fast rotation.
• Spinout: The ride stands 45 feet high and has four to six passenger seats
• A Zipper, a Ferris wheel, a cliff hanger and bumper cars. He said there are many kiddie rides planned for this year, as well.
One ride that won’t be at the Roosevelt County Fair is the Turbo Force. The Turbo Force ride is at the center of a lawsuit against the Murphy Brothers Exposition and other parties by Kim Brust, a Fargo, N.D. attorney, according to an Albuquerque Tribune article.
Brust of the Conmy Feste Law firm has sued Murphy and other parties, such as the manufacturer of Turbo Force, on behalf of a Minot, N.D. woman who lost part of her right arm, alleging it was lost as a result of an accident caused by one of Murphy’s carnival rides in a North Dakota fair in 2002.
Murphy said the woman wasn’t actually in the Turbo Force ride. He said a support rod connected to the ride broke off and she walked into it, striking her on the arm. The woman had to have her right arm amputated, according to the Tribune article.
“We haven’t used that specific ride since (the accident),” Murphy said. “We won’t use that ride ever again. We have served over 300 million people. We wouldn’t put a ride out if we weren’t sure it was safe.”
Officials at the Conmy Feste Law firm said the case is still pending.
Murphy said safety is their top priority with the rides they will bring to the Roosevelt County. Murphy added that people at fairs must also be aware of the environment.
“Even though we have safe rides, the public needs to be aware of their surroundings,” Murphy said. “Accidents do not occur by the rides, they occur when the public is not looking out. We have never had one fatality in over 50 years of business.”