Storm takes out ferris wheel at Bell's

Posted Wednesday, June 7, 2006 9:26 AM | Contributed by Jeff

A storm in Tulsa caused significant damage on Tuesday. The storm folded over a small Ferris wheel at Bell's Amusement Park and left Big Splash water park cleaning debris from its pools. Winds blasted and splintered trees. Debris littered yards, driveways and streets.

Read more from KOTV/Tulsa and KCTV/Kansas City.

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Wednesday, June 7, 2006 11:00 AM
Was down there for Holiday Nights, a tornado touched down just a mile or so from Holiday World. I'm surprised more parks don't get hit in the Midwest. From what I've seen it’s a pretty weather turbulent place to run a park.
Wednesday, June 7, 2006 12:39 PM
More like 30 miles, but close enough. ;)
Wednesday, June 7, 2006 12:58 PM
I wonder if Robbie Bell called the police and reported that an unsupervised, rowdy storm was hanging around his park doing damage. They could have come in, shot some tear gas at it and maybe it would have moved on and not took out the rides.
Wednesday, June 7, 2006 1:21 PM
It's not 30 miles to Motel 6, where a tornado touched down. Given its further than a mile, but less than ten minutes drive from the park.
Wednesday, June 7, 2006 1:54 PM
Man! Look at that Eli Wheel! I always thought those were built stronger than that! Was that a 12-car or 16-car wheel? It looks like a 12.
Wednesday, June 7, 2006 2:02 PM
They left the seats on. If they had pulled the tubs it probabaly would have survived. The seats act like sails when they are on, catching the wind. That just about guarentees that it's going to go over. Old time carnies never left the tubs on a wheel at night, especially when playing areas that were known to be prone to "blowdowns."
Wednesday, June 7, 2006 2:47 PM
A tornado isn't likely to hit much of anything in the Midwest a lot of the time. Away from the cities, things are just so spread out that the chance of a hit isn't all that great. When they do obliterate a small town or something, it's very sad, but also really bad luck. I've lived in Northeast Ohio and never actually seen a tornado, despite having lived through hundreds of tornado warnings.

I have seen water spouts though, on Lake Erie. They're far less likely to hurt much of anything.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006 2:49 PM
I remember the wheel our carnival used to have - it was an Eli and yes, they usaully pulled the top 3 seats off.
Thursday, June 8, 2006 12:21 AM
A similar thing happened at a small carnival (Dowdy's) in Nags Head, NC in '94. While vacationing there, my girlfriend (at the time) and I had gone to the park for a little while, and later that night we stuck out a rather fierce thunderstorm in the house we were renting. The next morning we heard a news report that a ferris wheel had blown over in Nags Head, so we drove down to check it out. I'd say it was probably an Eli wheel, and it had tipped over, base and all, into the (fortunately empty) parking lot. I don't think I'd ever seen so much broken glass and mangled steel in one place.
Thursday, June 8, 2006 8:21 AM
Booker - the tornado rc-madness refers to touched down in Dale, Indiana about 10 miles west of Holiday World. I stayed a the Motel 6 there and when I awoke in the morning and looked out my window the house sitting about 300 yards south had no roof and the barn behind it was destroyed. Our hotel was missing roof tiles. So yes, it was definitely NOT 30 miles from HW.

As for Bells...Bassistist and I are in Kansas City right now on a trip that was supposed to have taken us to Bells and Joyland in Wichita as well as a few other parks in the area. This is Bass's second attempt to visit the park in Tulsa...two years ago he was rained out and the park was closed. Poor guy -- mother nature does not want him to experience Zingo, LOL!

We're hoping the park is able to reopen the woodie before the end of the weekend and we have enough play in our itinerary that we can make it over to Tulsa.

"They left the seats on. If they had pulled the tubs it probabaly would have survived."

The park is open for the season. I doubt they would have had enough warning to remove all the seats on the ferris wheel so the approaching storm would do less damage.

*** This post was edited by Mamoosh 6/8/2006 8:22:42 AM ***

Thursday, June 8, 2006 5:04 PM
Then rent the movie "1941" It's pretty close!
Thursday, June 8, 2006 11:17 PM
"the tornado rc-madness refers to touched down in Dale, Indiana about 10 miles west of Holiday World."

Ah, I was referring to a different tornado. My bad.

Friday, June 9, 2006 3:53 PM
The fact that they are open for the season should not be a factor. I"ve known operations that were in the tornado belt that pulled the seats every night, and put them back on in the morning It's not that big a deal on an Eli Wheel.
Friday, June 9, 2006 8:03 PM
Moosh you'll have to give a report on Bell's and Joyland after your visit. I'm planning on going July 4th weekend, so I'm really interested in how the parks fare and how Bell's/Zingo weathered the storm. Best wishes on grabbing a Zingo ride this weekend!
Monday, June 12, 2006 12:06 AM
I work at Bell's. The wheel was down aanyway and 9 cars had been removed. If you look at the picyures you can tell. The wheel had a 20 car max but usually ran 16.
Monday, June 12, 2006 5:30 PM
Eli-Bridge doesn't make a 20-car wheel. And this one looks like a 12-car.
Sunday, June 25, 2006 3:15 PM
It looks like Bell's could reopen on Monday, June 26th if the rides pass inspection. Here's hoping! I'm planning on being there next weekend, so I definitely want to see it reopen this week...and no more storms please!

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