Carnival ride controversy: BBB and owner speak out - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Carnival ride controversy: BBB and owner speak out

Carnival ride controversy: BBB and owner speak out

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(WSIL) -- More than a handful of festivals and fairs claim an amusement ride company ripped them off. 

Since June, News 3 has reported on five events where organizers have said the company stole money from them. 

In total, there are now at least nine festivals and fairs between central and southern Illinois and Indiana that claim the company ruined their events. 

Between all the fairs and festivals, News 3 calculated more than $21,000 have been taken from the nine events.

News 3 first reported in June about Ava leaders accusing Steel Horse Midway Attractions of ripping them off of their homecoming. 

Days later, organizers from the Carlyle Street Fair told News 3 the company canceled one week before their event. 

Two weeks later, a Fayette County Fair board member said she received a text saying the company could not make it to their fair due to lack of employees and mechanical breakdowns. 

News 3 also learned the Cobden Peach Festival and the Williamson County Fair were both set to have Steel Horse Midway Attractions provide carnival rides at their events. 

Peach Festival carnival chairman told News 3 in early July he was canceling the carnival due to the company's history. 

Earlier this week, a Williamson County board member said they also were canceling the company. 

Both events now plan to have bounce houses instead. 

Harrisburg business owner Lara Shaw said she had to scramble with her inflatable business to make up for the loss carnival at the Saline County Fair.

Shaw said the company canceled the day they were supposed to arrive, leaving the fair without a carnival and a loss of $7,000. 

The company originally told Shaw they had to miss the first day due to transportation and inspection issues. 

Organizer of the Crothersville, Indiana, Red, White and Blue Festival Sherry Bridges said the company canceled on them too. 

Bridges said the festival is out $450 with the company and without the carnival rides, the event lost nearly $1,500. 

Bridges said they previously hired Steel Horse Midway Attractions last year, and the service was fantastic, but this year was completely different. 

Crawford County Fair Vice President Bill Burke said the owner of the company sent organizers a message one day before their fair, leaving them without a carnival. 

Burke said up front they paid the company $5,000 and are now out that money. 

The 2019 English Reunion in English, Indiana posted on their Facebook page there would be no rides at their event because Steel Horse Midway Attractions canceled. 

News 3 has reached out to the organizers of the Reunion, but have not yet heard back. 

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) said they currently have no complaints about this company because they aren't dealing with everyday consumers. 

"With businesses like these, It's really important to do your research because obviously there has been a lot of money at stake with this," Whitney Quick with the BBB out of Cape Girardeau said. "There are no complaints or reviews about this company on our website and that's because the general public isn't using this company. It's fairs and things like that that are using them."

Quick said since there are no complaints or reviews on this company, it's important to get your own references. 

"They (organizers of events) need to start reporting it because it seems like it's a trend and it will help get new releases out about the company," Quick said. 

Click here to see Steel Horse Midway Attraction's profile on the BBB website.

News 3 spoke with the owner of Steel Horse Midway Attractions, Brett Tabor on Wednesday. 

Tabor said he is still trying to make it right with all these festivals and fairs, but is asking them for more time to return their money. 

Tabor originally told the organizers he would return their money in 30 days but so far, none of them have received their money back.

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