Ghost Town holds job fair

Weapons changed for gunfights
By Jessi Stone Assistant editor | Apr 30, 2014

Ghost Town in the Sky is gearing up for the 2014 season and will be hiring at least 50 people for various positions.

A job fair will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, May 5 at the Ghost Town in the Sky gift shop, located at 16 Fie Top Road in Maggie Valley. The amusement park will be hiring on the spot to fill at least 50 positions, including cooks, servers, cashiers and more.

Ghost Town owner Alaska Presley has recruited Chris Chagnon, owner of The Treasure Broker Trading Post and Action Creek Realty, to take over the management of the park.

“Our target date for opening is June 20 providing we can complete the water project,” Chagnon said, adding that he is very excited about the new additions to the park this year.

A few of the improvements include Lookout Trail, a walk through museum with picture windows overlooking a 1,000-foot drop below to the valley. Visitors can sit in rocking chairs and enjoy the view at 4,650 feet above sea level.

The Ghost Town Speedway will be a new attraction for kids and adults to ride on a go-cart course on level two of the park with twists and turns to challenge the best of drivers.

Picnic Point will allow visitors to enjoy a specially prepared bagged lunch prepared by Ghost Town chefs at the all new redesigned restaurants and dine on the edge of a cliff while enjoying the view.

Ghost Town also is working on having a Cliffside Paintball Course to allow guests to compete against others in abandoned buildings, down sides of the mountain and through a course designed with surprises around each corner.

Redesigned and renovated restaurants will include The Stage Coach Restaurant with porch dining and a full-service dining room, Windy Corner Ice Cream Shop with hand scooped ice creams, fresh bakery products and chocolate goodies and people can enjoy watching chefs hand toss freshly made pizza at the Wagon Wheel Pizzeria.

As Ghost Town gets closer to opening day, Chagnon will be sharing more exciting news about the new gifts shops in Western Town and entertainment.


Changes to gunfights

The western-themed amusement park will have to change the way it does gunfights this year for the first time in more than 40 years after a gunfight last summer resulted in an injury to long-time gunfighter Robert Bradley. A complaint was filed and the North Carolina Department of Labor conducted a safety investigation at Ghost Town.

According to the investigation file, “the employer did not furnish to each of his employees conditions of employment and a place of employment which were free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees exposed to” the gunfights.

Ghost Town gunfighters were using two real 12-gauge double barrel shotguns and two real 45-caliber revolvers with the triggers removed for the fights. Without the triggers, gunfighters were pulling the hammers back and releasing them to fire the guns.

While gunfighters used blanks, the guns were capable of using live ammo. Ghost Town negotiated with DOL and the penalty was decreased to $1,300 in exchange for Ghost Town’s agreement to change the type of guns used during the staged gunfights, implement a safety program and conduct proper training for employees.

The investigation documents show that Ghost Town got rid of the old weapons and replaced them with revolvers that have triggers and can only shoot blank ammunition. The shotguns have been taken out of service permanently.

But the investigation reports detailed the July 6 incident in which Bradley was hit in the leg with what he believes was a bullet, the investigation didn’t conclude with any guess as to what really happened that day.

The report states that witnesses reported Bradley and the other gunfighter were about 20 to 25 feet apart when the incident occurred. When the gunfighters saw he was bleeding on the ground, someone made a tourniquet out of a shirt for his leg and Bradley was transported down the mountain to meet an ambulance.

The investigation reports that the guns owned by Ghost Town were locked up in a cabinet, but that some gunfighters used their own guns, which were taken home at the end of the day.

Investigators even took one of Ghost Town’s shotguns to gun range to see how far the blank ammo would travel. From 9 to 20 feet away, the blast of the blanks had no effect on the paper target. The gravel on the ground also wasn’t disturbed when the blank was fired at the ground.

While the investigation resulted in many recommendations from the Department of Labor as well as gun safety experts, it concluded by saying, “it could not be determined during the investigation what caused the puncture would in (Bradley’s) leg.”