WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Chance Industries Inc., the nation's largest manufacturer of amusement park rides, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the company said.

Dick Chance, company president and chief executive officer, said the firm will stay in business as it tries to endure a tough market. The company filed for protection Tuesday.

``We've never had to face anything quite this challenging,'' he said. ``But we will adapt to the marketplace and continue our growth.''

Chance Industries makes amusement park rides such as the Inventor, the Big Dipper, Tin Lizzies and the Aviator from its Wichita plant.

The 41-year-old company employed more than 260 workers at one time, but has cut its work force by half since 1999 as sales fell.

A slowing economy has especially hurt the company in recent months, Chance said.