Thursday, August 9th, 2007
By Timothy Cox
Copter doesn't run but cow does
Helicopter rides are grounded at the Mercer County Fair after fair officials could not come to an agreement with horse owners about where the chopper could take off and land without disturbing the animals.
A woman also was slightly injured Tuesday evening by a runaway cow, one of the 20 midway rides failed an inspection and oppressive heat continues, Fair Manager Scott Riffle reported this morning.
Due to the hot weather, Nursing Home Day activities have been cancelled Friday.
The planned helicopter rides were abruptly scrapped over the disagreement with horse owners, Riffle said. Plans to hold the helicopter rides in the westernmost, remote field at the fairgrounds fell through because the pilot said too much dirt would be kicked up in the bare field. Fair officials could not come up with any other landing/takeoff site that horse owners and other animal exhibitors could agree with.
"We were really looking forward to having it," Riffle said, adding that officials will revisit the issue before next year's fair.
A dairy cow got loose from its handler on Tuesday, requiring eight men to corral the animal and get it under control. A woman was knocked to the ground in the scuffle and a table at the Pizza Hut tent was knocked over, but everything turned out OK, Riffle said.
The woman was given first-aid at the fairgrounds for an abrasion, Riffle said. The cow, possibly bothered by heat, also got maneuvered into a situation where it felt cornered, he said.
One child was injured when he bumped his head on a part of a ride. The injury was reportedly minor, Riffle said. Another youth was transported from the fairgrounds Wednesday due to heat exhaustion, according to the Mercer County Sheriff's Office log.
One midway ride remained closed today until it passes a state inspection, Riffle said. The ride is unrelated to the minor injury to the child, he said.
Local officials conduct daily inspections and Ohio Department of Agriculture officials do their own inspections, Riffle said. The ride had a broken piece that has been repaired and the ride will be opened after it passes an inspection, he said.
The high heat and periodic storms also have hampered the early days of the fair. Wednesday evening's brief storm cooled temperatures but lasted just long enough to cause people to leave the fairgrounds, Riffle said, adding he is hoping for beautiful weather this weekend.
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