People you should know: Debbie Green of Casey’s Rides

Published 10:40 am Thursday, June 30, 2022

For going on two weekends at the Clark County Fair, Casey’s Rides Inc. has provided all the thrills that one would expect from a fair’s midway.

What fairgoers may not know is that the current economy has not been kind to carnival industry.

Inflation and high gas prices business have made business difficult as of late for co-owners Debbie Green and her husband – a third-generation business owner in the field.

“This year’s a little different. It’s tough with the fuel prices being up so high, and our rides run from generators which take diesel fuel.” she said. “You’re talking $6 a gallon. You can’t just say ‘We’re going to go up on the prices’, because it wouldn’t do you any good.”

Casey’s Rides Inc. – originally out of Utica – was thankfully able to get the carnival contract with the Clark County Fair Board. The company has set up rides at another location in the state this week and has also sent trucks full of carnival equipment to locations as far away as Tennessee this year.

And what Casey’s brought to Clark County is all the traditional favorites like the ferris wheel while including the Superman and Space Sled rides.

Casey’s wants to cater to all age groups.

“We definitely want to cater to our real young ones, because they pay to get in just as well as an adult,” Green said. “We want to make sure we have a good variety. up to those that are brave and want to have a thrill!”

However, not only have gas prices taken their toll, but finding the work necessary to staff the carnival has been a challenge this past year.

“You don’t have the help,” said Green. “Over the last 16 years, I’ve depended on H-2B visa workers. You’d think we could attract some of those 18 to 29 year olds that aren’t ready to settle down yet. Right now, everybody in every industry [is] struggling.”

While Casey’s Rides Inc. survived COVID and is currently afloat, a feat which many businesses in the industry were unfortunately unable to avoid, fears of a possible recession loom strong.

“It’s hard to see what’s going to come our way,” Green said. “The last 10 years’ generation, they don’t know what it’s like to be without [money].”

In the meantime, the fun and joy of providing a positive summer atmosphere continues creating positive memories.

“We’re just here to entertain, and that’s what we train our employees to know,” said Green. “When [customers] show up, we’re here to let them have a good time.”