Ride company owner enjoys Oklahoma State Fair, too
A well-worn roller coaster from New Jersey is among the top attractions brought to the Oklahoma State Fair this year.
The RC 48 isn't really a tower of money. It's more like a tower of wow.
But when people go to a state fair, they expect wow, Frank Zaitshik said.
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Zaitshik is the grand poobah of all things carnival. He's a big guy with bright white hair and an iPhone he barely puts down. He owns Wade Shows, the company responsible for the rides, games and all kinds of other midway attractions at the Oklahoma State Fair.
He wants his fairs to be big, fun, impeccable. Profits will follow.
"A lot of people, when they think of the state fair," he said, "they think of big, exciting rides they can't see anywhere else."
They can't see the RC 48 anywhere else. Zaitshik says it's the biggest portable roller coaster in North America.
Zaitshik bought it in 2008 from an amusement park in New Jersey, where it spent two years in pieces, in open containers.
"We made 'em a fire-sale offer for it," he said.
It wasn't designed to be a traveling coaster, and Zaitshik planned to take his time — maybe up to a year — fixing it up. But then the Florida State Fair called. They were in a bind and asked Zaitshik if he could find them another coaster. He said he'd try. Nothing panned out, but Zaitshik had the inoperable RC 48.
A crew worked around the clock for more than a month, cleaning it and putting all the scattered pieces back together like a jigsaw puzzle.
"Putting it together was the easy part," Zaitshik said. "Getting it to run was the hard part."
The salty sea air of New Jersey had taken its toll. Zaitshik brought in the top roller coaster expert in the country. Finally, the RC 48 was ready.
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