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Ghost Town cited for safety violations after gunslinger injury

Ghost Town in the Sky has been cited for safety violations by the North Carolina Department of Labor stemming from an injury during one of the amusement park’s theatrical gun fights.

The gun fights are a signature attraction at the Maggie Valley theme park, staged several times a day on a mock-up street of an Old West town at the center of the park. The gunslingers use blanks, but somehow, veteran gunfighter Robert Bradley was hit by a projectile from a gun during a show in July.

The citation was issued this week following a several month investigation. It carries a fine of $2,000 and demands abatements. The Maggie Valley amusement park was given 15 days to respond to the citation.

“They have 15 days to pay the fine, contest the citation or request an informal conference,” said Dolores Quesenberry, communications director at the Department of Labor.

The owner of the park, Alaska Presley, told The Smoky Mountain News that she had already requested a conference with the department. 

“The citation is not permanent yet,” she said.

The citation states that the business was in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act by not furnishing to employees a place of employment “free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm.”

The citation specifically cited Ghost Town in the Sky for two hazards: the use of revolvers and shotguns capable of firing live ammunition, and the fact that triggers had been removed from the revolvers used in the mock gunfights.

The citation recommended that the firearms used in mock gunfights be replaced or modified so that only blanks could be fired, and that revolvers have triggers installed. Up to now, the firearms used in the gun fights at Ghost Town could be shot simply by pulling and releasing the hammer.

Bradley, a longtime Ghost Town gunsligher who went by the stage name “Apache Kid,” has not worked at the park since his injury. Bradley is suing Ghost Town to retrieve some of the memorabilia at the park that he claims belongs to him. Bradley also says the shooting wasn’t an accident, and believes someone tampered with the gun that shot him.

Maggie Valley police said last month the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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