Six large arms outlined in neon spin 24 riders in all directions.
Forty-eight legs dangled free as they flew above the grounds on Monday night, the opening day of the week-long Wise County Old Settlers Reunion at Joe Wheeler Park in Decatur.
The ride is the latest attraction to the carnival that accompanies Reunion every year.
“It’s called the Power Surge,” said Kevin Exum with Century 21 Carnival based in Cedar Park. “We just got it six weeks ago from a company in Italy.”
After being manufactured in Italy by Zamperla, the ride took a ride of its own, traveling from Europe to the United States on a 45-day boat trip. After spending another 15 days in customs, the gigantic apparatus was inspected and ready to go.
And what’s the cost of ordering your own carnival ride from Europe? $740,000.
“We like to buy one big new ride every couple of years,” Exum said. “For the last six weeks this has been the No. 1 ride at every fair. It takes you up and spins you in every direction.”
With the fatal accident on a roller coaster last Friday at Six Flags over Texas in Arlington, Exum is keenly aware of the safety of patrons to the carnival. A 52-year-old woman fell to her death from the 14-story-high Texas Giant on July 19. Witnesses said she wasn’t properly strapped in before the ride took off.
A state inspector for amusement rides was on the Reunion grounds early Monday afternoon, checking out all the rides, before they let loose later that evening.
“Safety is our No. 1 priority,” Exum said. “If there is anything wrong with any of our rides we won’t open it.”
The chances of getting seriously hurt on an amusement park ride are one in 24 million, according to an industry study.