A giant tractor at one end, a rodeo at the other, and two famous pork tenderloin stalls between attracts fairgoers of all ages for food, fun, and friendship. The Delaware County Fair in Muncie, Indiana at first seems like a picture perfect place in which the lights shine, kids laugh, and workers have fun all day. But for one, the struggle is more than meets the eye.
Tip ‘Em Over carnie Marty Batchelar has been working with the fest since he was young. The old memory of kissing his first girlfriend on the top of the Ferris wheel fuels his ambition to love his job.
His fond memories became a harsh reality when the fest became his source of living.
He began each day not knowing if he could eat that night. A single father with two children and one on the way, he works on average 12 hours a day for 10 months of the year to provide for them.
“You can do it,” Batchelar said as a young boy took his last throw to knock over the 4 pins.
The young boy reminded him of his own son.
“I try to love my job but it’s really about the money,” Batchelar said. “I’ll do anything to provide for my kids but it’s hard being away from them all the time.”
Batchelar often gives customers an extra throw if they miss in hopes that he can make someone happy. He interacts with each participant, high-fiving the children, shaking hands with the adults, and offering words of encouragement to all.
“You can’t be shy in this job. You gotta holler,” Batchelar said. “I’m an open person. You can open me like a cracker jack box.”
Despite Batchelar’s troubles, he maintains a positive attitude to make the best of his situation.
“It’s great because I get to work with my girlfriend,” Batchelar said. “We travel the country together in a car with some of our best friends.”