TR: Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo

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Saturday, March 25, 2006 10:52 PM
TR: Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo

Date: 3-23-2006
Weather: absolutely freezing
Crowds: light

I had heard that Crabtree Amusements put on a show for the Austin Stock Show, which takes place for the first 3 weeks in March. Because I go to the state school for the blind, which is located in Austin, I asked my friend Kendell if he wanted to go too. He was just as pumped as I was. Our chaperone was our residential instructor. I did some research before we went and learned that they had a Reverchon Crazy Mouse. Yes! The first coaster of the season was here!

This is probably the only carnival in Texas where POP wristbands are offered. There was free parking, so we headed right in. There was no Zipper and no Gravitron. Huh? What could they have to make up for that? The answer was a whole bunch of gems including some I never thought I would get to ride. After we got our wristbands, we headed to the midway. Michael, who was our chaperone, took Kendell and I to the Tilt-a-Whirl first. This was one of the new G5 Tilt-a-Whirls. I could tell because the seats felt smoother than regular Tilts. Same restraints, same ride. It was a nice spinny ride. The op ran it for a long time which was good.

We continued walking and then Michael noticed a ride called Magnum. Huh? How could this be? I thought Crabtree was doing the show. The Mondial Shake couldn't be here. But it was! Of course, I have ridden the Shake before, at the Texas State Fair in 2004. It is one of the coolest rides I have been on. Of course, I dragged Kendell and Michael over to it, and Kendell and I were shown to separate tubs so we could see who could flip the most. This ride is always fantastic. The flipping is absolutely unpredictable and I never knew where I was going to go next. Overall, this was a huge surprise and a welcome relief from the fact that there was no Zipper; I think Magnum is better than the Zipper anyway.

After Kendell rode Magnum a second time, I found out that Michael had spotted a ride called High Roller. Could it be? It was in fact the ride that would become my favorite on that midway, the Larson High Roller! Or, as some people put it, the Crazy Train. Kendell and I got shown to our cage and a huge, well-padded lapbar was brought down. Why do so many people hate this thing? High Roller is one of the coolest rides I've ever been on and it was an odd sensation to have the track flip instead of the cars. That made for some wild sensations and we were thrown into each other more than once. What a gem! They need to still make these things!

After that it was off to the Tivoli Orbiter. I hadn't ridden one since 2003, and it was nice to get back on one of these. This thing was intense. I had ridden Techno Power, a KMG Remix, last October and it paled in comparison to this thing. This thing was so fast that I predicted that we were pulling 5 G's. It was a nice long cycle too. To top it off, they were playing a Three Doors Down song that I really like as the ride was going.

After that, Kendell and I were shown to the Sky Flyer, Crabtree's Fabbri Kamikaze I. There's nothing to rave about here. It was running an average program, doing 3 flips in each direction. When we rode it a second time, it was still average. The looping ship is one of my favorite types of rides, but I don't like it when they are too short. The Hammerhead, which is owned by Miller's Spectacular Amusements, is still the best Kamikaze ride I've ridden. That one was nice and long and we were flipping like crazy.

Then it was off to something else I had wanted to ride for a while, the Larson Super Loops. This ride was making most of the noise! Seriously, the Orbiter was the only ride where we heard really loud music. But the Super Loops was deafening. Kendell and I crammed aboard. This ride was great, but noisy. I have a severe hearing loss, and the noise was absolutely deafening thanks to my digital hearing aids that amplify every blasted noise within range of them. It was still good though. Going upside-down with a lapbar is better than going upside-down with an OTSR, IMO.

Then it was off to the Reverchon Crazy Mouse! Michael and Kendell would be riding there first Mouse, while I was riding my second. Talley Amusements brings there Mouse to the state fair and I've been riding it since 2002. It has also appeared at our stock show in 2003 and 2004. Crabtree's was identical in every way to Talley's, but it felt so good to get the first coaster ride of what will hopefully be a good season. The Mouse is a fun ride. I told everyone where to sit, but Kendell was the only one who I let in on the spinning secret. He didn't believe me when I told him. We put Kendell and I, who are lightweight, on the inside, and Michael, who is a lot heavier, on the outside. The reactions those two had when the spinning started were priceless! They screamed like all get out and grabbed the bar while I laughed my head off at there reactions to it. That was some good spinning there. I mean, we are talking fast, Tilt-a-Whirl-style spinning. Then we moved to another car and switched places, with us two on the outside, and Michael on the inside. That was even better and we were spinning down the drops at the end. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! They loved there first Mouse and I'm glad I got them on it.

Then we went over to what I thought was a Zamperla Power Surge. The only reason I wanted to ride it was because it would have been Kendell's first ride. However, it wasn't a Power Surge. Power Surge was the name of there Skyscraper-style ride that they were charging extra for. Dang! I've only ridden the crappy Fabbri version of that ride, so I don't have very high praise for it.

So then, it was time for the midway's only fun house, the Persian Camel Fun Haus. I had walked through Talley's copy of this a month ago, so I knew what to expect. The only difference was that here, the set of stairs after the set of trick stairs went up into the house instead of down. The turntable was also not operating here. Of course, they turned off the barrel for me; I absolutely hate the barrel stunt.

Then, at my suggestion, we headed for the Chance Century Wheel, a 90-foot one that dominated the midway. I have a soft spot for Ferris wheels; I don't know why. I can't see down, but I ride them anyway. It was freaking cold on this thing. However, it was nice and long. The Eli Bridge one that I rode was better, but I like the chance ones because of the gondolas with the roofs on them and the relaxing pace at which they move. The last wheel I rode actually went kind of fast.

Then it was off to the Raven, a Sartori Twister. The Twister is Sartori's version of the falling star-type ride. It was slow and boring. That's all I will say.

Then we headed to the Ghost Pirates dark ride. This was another state fair ride that I rode last year. I found it cheesy, but I rode it anyway to get out of the wind for a minute or two. This ride has totally unnecessary lapbars. It moves so slowly that they are not needed. So why are they there?

Then all 3 of us headed to the Reverchon bumper cars. These had lapbars in them, which was great. They also had this weird strap that went over your left shoulder and went down your side. Weird. These were slow and hard to steer. The arena was small, which made it worse.

Kendell wanted to ride the KMG Spin Out, despite my warnings that he would hate it. He didn't listen and Michael helped him on. I was not very impressed with Spin Out when I rode it last year. It is violent, very uncomfortable, and too intense. Kendell had the same reaction I did. Well I warned you, man! Listen to me; I'm the enthusiast in the group! I do this all the time!

Next, I told Michael I wanted to ride the Dartron Cliff Hanger that I thought they had. I had heard that they had a ride that you laid down on, and I thought it was the Dartron one. So after Kendell had eaten a corn dog and had a Coke, Michael took me and Kendell over to the Fly, which was the name of the ride. The op started to help me on. I felt the surface I would be laying on and wait a minute, is this plastic? And what's that headrest doing here? This was a Zamperla Kite Flyer, which is there take on the Dartron Cliff Hanger. I boarded anyway to try out there version. What a stupid heap of trash. This is no fun. It was slower than the Dartron one, and all we did was go up, down, and around to the right. The Cliff Hanger is better IMO. It is faster and it gives the sensation of flying better than that piece of junk did. The headrest just made things worse by being a hard foam thing that hurt my chin. The cold wind tortured Kendell and I as we rode this, too.

Then we took Kendell to the KMG Experience so he could ride. I don't like the Experience either. I find its flipping motions nauseating and it doesn't feel right having the chairs controlled instead of being free to flip. Kendell seemed to like it, though. Good for him.

Then Kendell and I took our last High Roller ride. This was also a Six Flags moment. The first time we rode it, the op let us on without any complaint. However, the new op started whining about our disabilities. He said we couldn't ride because we were blind. I cannot say how angry I was at this. This was a violation of the ADA because we were allowed on earlier. When will carnies learn that the ADA applies to carnivals too? After Michael and the op went to the Crabtree office to get there opinion, they let us on. This was a shorter and faster ride than the one we got earlier. It was still good, though.

Then Kendell and I headed to the Mouse to finish off the night. We took two rides, switching sides of the car eachtime. It was still a lot of fun. Then we headed out, stopping at Mickey D's to get me a Dr. Pepper before heading back to the school.

Overall, this midway was fantastic. They had fantastic rides (though the Kite Flyer should be scrapped), and generally the staff were very friendly. The show ends today, so this is a purely academic TR.

Thanks for reading.

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Saturday, March 25, 2006 11:12 PM
I am so sorry about the way you were labeled and discriminated against because of your lack of vision. Your sight has nothing to do with your height.

Good trip reoprt!

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Saturday, March 25, 2006 11:43 PM
Thanks for the TR John, been wanting to get to the Texas State Fair...

Glad you went to the office and got that straightened out - hopefully the next disabled/handicapped person who can ride safely won't run into the same problem BECUASE you went and resolved it...

..and yes, the Kite Flyer was one of my most hated flat rides...and then they went ahead and put it on coaster track (Volare)...Zamperla makes a LOT of great rides, ones that restrain me by my throat aren't ANY of them...

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Sunday, March 26, 2006 12:35 AM
Thanks guys. I like your support.

The reason I thought Kite Flyer was a Cliff Hanger is because Cliff Hangers seem to be the choice for most carnivals that I've been to. It was only after feeling the berth that I figured out it was a Kite Flyer.

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