Midway Game

Ah, the smell of fried dough, the squeals of hundreds of kids and adults on one of the many thrill rides and the carny barkers on the midway. This can mean only one thing, it's fair time!

On September 13 and for the following eight days over 130,000 people will invade the Tri-State Fairgrounds and take in the sights, smells and thrills of this year's fair & rodeo.

Along with the corn-dogs, cotton candy and fried pickles there's your chance to win one of the many large stuffed animals on the midway. Not only are the games a great place to hook up with your friends, it can also be a nice break, after eating a big plate of chili cheese fries, before you tackle one of those rides that will end up tossing your insides around like a blender.

But, keep in mind, most of those games are designed so you can't win. Here are five midway games that you're sure to lose and the reasons why.

The Softball Toss:
Toss two softballs into a rubber tub. Sounds simple enough. The carney demonstrates by tossing one in and then gives you the second ball and you toss it in. What you need to know: Since one softball stays in the tub, it cushions the impact of the second ball, so it doesn't bounce out. Once you hand over your money, both balls are taken out and now there is nothing keeping that ball from making a soft landing.

The Balloon Dart Throw:
Pop a balloon and win a prize!
What you need to know: Normally the balloons are half inflated, so they are tougher to pop. Then, add in the fact that the darts are not as heavy as the type you would buy at a sporting goods store (softer impact and not as targetable) and they points have been probably been dulled.

The Milk Bottle Pyramid:
One of the earliest games to make it on the midway. two bottles on the bottom and one on top. Throw the ball and knock 'em down. What you need to know: The bottom bottles may be filled with lead, up to 10 pounds, the softball is filled with cork, to make it lighter and that black backdrop is there by design. Think of it as a backstop for the bottles, helps them not fall over.

The Basketball Shoot:
Even if you were the star player on your high school basketball team it wouldn't help. What you need to know: The rim is smaller than normal and oval-shaped, not round. The basketball is overinflated, so it has more bounce and the rim is placed at a high enough angle that you would need a perfect arch toss to get it in. Plus, the netting in the back doesn't just catch the ball when you miss, it also messes with your depth perception.

The Ring Toss:
You stand there and watch the carney toss a ring on top of the bottle time and time again. So it can be done, right? What you need to know: Usually the ones the carney uses are a bit bigger than the one he hands you after you give up your cash. Also, the rings a just a hair bigger than the bottle's neck and they are made of hard plastic to give it that extra bounce.

I'm not saying you shouldn't play the midway games, because they can be entertaining, just remember that like the Vegas casinos, the house almost always wins.