Ft. Worth Stock Show and Rodeo on 1/29: a TR that is over a week late

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Sunday, February 6, 2005 10:00 PM
Sorry for the long delay in putting this TR up.
First, a question: should a blind person be allowed to walk in a funhouse that he has walked through before with no problem? You'll find out why I asked this later. Anyway, it's the beginning of the year again, and that means it's carnival time! Yes, we have a carnival in January. Talley Amusements partners up with Jim's Amusements and Miller's Spectacular Amusements to put on a show for the Ft. Worth Exposition and Livestock Show every January.
It's usually a great show, featuring a Reverchon Crazy Mouse as it's centerpiece. This carnival is the kickoff of the new riding season for me, because not only do I ride my first coaster of the year, but I also get to ride some great flats. I think it's the perfect way to kick off the season. And since most of the carnies know me by name, there are also some reunions that take place at this midway. Seriously, these people take time out to share gossip about the industry with me, and every time I'm on the ride that the person that I know is running, he/she runs it on a maniacal setting that they seem to save just for me. I'm not kidding.
Well, it looked like I wasn't going to be able to go this year, but my dad finally decided we could go on the 29th. I was really anticipating this event, as I always do. There was a bungee-jumping crane there this year. I love bungee-jumping, but I didn't want to do it in 45-degree weather.
So, we pulled into a parking space where we didn't have to pay for anything. The midway was only about 10 feet away; how convenient. The first thing we noticed was that the Crazy Mouse wasn't there this year. Darn it! However, they had some new pieces.
After buying me my tickets, Dad led me to one of my favorite rides. That ride was the Fabbri Kamikaze 1. The carnie that was running it was a newbie to the company, and he didn't know me. At first, he was adamant about not letting me ride. Then, miracle of miracles, one of my old friends from Miller's came up to him and said, "You shut up. He knows more about this ride than you do." That's how much a lot of these guys like me.
Well, after that, the guy introduced himself to me and helped me into the back car, putting me in the last row, where I wanted to be. I spent my first ride next to a boy who I guess was about 8 years old. He told me that this was his first time riding and he admitted that he was scared. I didn't go into detail with him, but I told him that he had better hold on tight.
The guy that was running this Kamikaze had a habit of rocking the ship, then tilting it to a really steep angle so we were hanging upside down. Then after about 7 seconds, he would right us again, tip us on our backs, and then keep tipping us back and forth until we got enough momentum to keep going. Then the intensity started. We did about 3 revolutions in each direction and he had us flying high. The boy next to me didn't like it. What a shame.
This one was running better than it was last year. Last year, the op would only give us one revolution in each direction, and he wouldn't swing us. The Hammerhead, owned by Miller's, is still my favorite Kamikaze. But there is more to this. The carnie opened the door to let me out and I yelled at Dad to give him some more tickets so I could ride again. The ride cost only 3 tickets. Dad obliged, and I got to stay where I was!
The loading time on this cycle was absolutely horrible. It was about 5 minutes before we got going! Outrageous! The first ride only took about a minute to load. Well, this program was longer than the first one. This time, the op ran it like the Hammerhead, doing 6 flips in each direction! Now that's a good ride! We were pulling a lot of G's and every time we screamed, he would give us another flip. The ride was pure heaven.
After that ride, I walked away, promising that I would come back. Then, Dad took me to the Celner Tilt-a-Whirl. This ride was just plain pathetic. The guy that ran it didn't even try to spin the cars. The ride started out good, but then the cars stopped spinning and the ride became an uninteresting spin ride. There was no action and there were no forces. Man I was let down.
After that terrible ride, Dad took me to the Wisdom Starship 2000. This is one of my favorite rides, probably because of the music and the fast spinning. This was by far the best Starship I've ever ridden. The carnie was very energetic and enthusiastic, and we were swept up off our feet five times. Five! The ride lasted for about 6 minutes and I was in heaven again. The stereo wasn't on this ride, though. It would be later.
After trying to get on the Chance Zipper and finding out that I needed to have another rider with me (Dad doesn't like rides), Dad took me to the Wisdom Tornado. I love this ride because I can control my tub. However, Dad didn't know what I was talking about when I told him I wanted a light tub. As a result, I got a tub that I could barely spin. The ride was uninteresting this time. Well, if at first you don't succeed, try try again. I'll try again next time.
After the Tornado, I wanted to go to the Bubble House. The Bubble House is one of the best funhouses around, with enough stunts to make a funhouse freak like myself happy. I can usually go in there without any trouble. Here's where that question I asked at the beginning comes into play. The attendant said that I had to have a special waver to be admitted. He said it was because of my disability. I'd been in this attraction lots of times, and I didn't have any problems with the moving floors. The carnie was insistent, so finally I just stormed away. I can't take this crap; I mean I'd been in this place before and I knew what to expect.
So, I headed to the Persian Camel Fun Haus, where another carnie I know personally was working. We talked for a little bit, then I proceeded inside. I will not give out any spoilers. If you want spoilers, please e-mail me. This funhouse isn't as good as the Bubble House or any of the other funhouses I've been in, but it does have some difficult stunts.
After the funhouse, I headed to one of the midways new pieces, an EliBridge Cycloid. At least, that's what I think it was. Ride Man's description of the Cycloid as an updated bi-directional scrambler seemed to fit what I was riding. As far as I know, Wisdom doesn't make bi-directional scramblers, neither do any of the other manufacturers. It didn't ride like a Scrambler either. It had less laterals and it was more comfortable. I really liked it, and after that I didn't want to ride the Sizzler on the other side of the midway.
After that interesting ride, I headed to buy some more tickets. Dad then bought and ate a corn dog. After that, I headed back to the Kamikaze, like I promised the operator I would do. He put me in the back and this time I had the compartment to myself. Oh yeah! This ride wasn't as enjoyable as the first two, mainly because there were these 2 young girls that were absolutely terrified of the ride's every movement. They screamed so much that the op shortened the ride to only 2 revolutions per direction with less swinging. He apologized to me afterword and I totally understood. I'm not one to be let down by something like that.
After the Kamikaze, I headed to the midway's star attraction this year. It was a KMG SpinOut and this would be my first time on one of these. I liked it because of it's forces, but it was too sudden on the inversions. I mean I got slammed into the restraint every blasted time we got inverted. The Top Scan is still my favorite ride for a lot of reasons.
Then I headed to the Starship 2000 again. This time, the ride was full to capacity and I was lucky to get a spot. The op played one of my favorite songs, Keith Erban's "Days Go By." The ride was unbelievably long once again and at the end I had the best example of carnival hospitality happen to me. Since I was visually impaired, the operator turned off the motor and said, "No one will be allowed to exit until the blind customer exits." Oh my gosh. That's HW-style hospitality, I think. I've never been to HW, but I think they would consider that excellent.
Finally I rode the Wisdom Storm to finish off the day. This ride was too short. I was really enjoying the forces on it until it stopped. After I exitted, we headed for the car.
Overall, this was a very good carnival. The Crazy Mouse may not have been there, but it was made up for by the fantastic service and hospitality, plus the great flats. The carnival closed today. We'll have to wait again for one more year. I would really recommend going to this place if you're in the area at the beginning of the year. The rides are good, and you will like it. *** Edited 2/7/2005 3:05:13 PM UTC by John Moore***

John Moore


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