This is the 24th year Frazier has been set up with the Ute Mountain Roundup in Cortez, said Frazier owner and president Steve Broetsky.
“To hear the kids screaming on the rides, and see everyone having a good time outdoors, that’s why we do it,” he said. “What sets us apart is our staff, we are a hardworking bunch and are like an extended family.”
Some of the larger rides cost $1 million a piece, he said, and are made in Italy, the Netherlands and France. Maintenance and safety are paramount and include regular inspections and upkeep by certified engineers.
From March to December, a staff of 75 tours New Mexico, Texas, the Navajo Nation and Colorado, putting on 40 to 50 shows per year.
On Friday evening, teenagers, and families with kids enjoyed the carnival scene at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds.
The Salyer family from Mancos has come the past 10 years, and their daughter smiled broadly as she hugged stuffed animals won from a game. Chris Neuwirth of Lewis came with his wife and son, Jonathan.
“It’s the first time we have taken rides together, so it is a special day,” Neuwirth said. “He’s having a great time.”
Hannah and Amelia of from Kentucky were on a road trip passing through when they saw the giant Ferris wheels, food vendors and lights.
“We had to come check it out,” they said.
Olive Littlewhiteman of Towaoc came out with her family and kids, an annual tradition.
“They know when it is every year, and just love it as you can see,” she said, pointing to their gleeful expressions on a nearby ride. “For us adults, we love running into people and socializing. The weather is really nice, and the corn dogs are good, too.”
Over a five-day run, the carnival will see 15,000 attendees, Broetsky says. They operate on an annual budget of $300,000 to $500,000 per year with a home base in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The dozens of rides, equipment and staff are hauled from place to place with a fleet of 40 vehicles including eight box trucks and 25 semitrailers.
“For me, it’s like a working vacation,” Broetsky said. “Carnivals continue to be popular. We compete with indoor video games, but those are nothing compared to these thrill rides, and just the atmosphere of coming out to the carnival on a summer night!”