Ride thrills to ‘Surge’ at Reunion

By Brandon Evans | Published Wednesday, July 24, 2013

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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.

Soak It In

SOAK IT IN – Mary Wilson waters a fresh patch of sod in front of her cabin at Wise County Old Settlers Reunion. After lying dormant for a year, campers do whatever they can to make the cabins feel like home the last full week of July. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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.

Sacked Out

SACKED OUT – Bailey Boaz, 4, of Fort Worth crashed early during the heat of the day Monday at the Young Camp. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Blowing Up

BLOWIN’ UP – Ashlee Hudson airs up a balloon under the Pavillion. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Little King

LITTLE KING – Bri Thweatt carries pageant winner Kinzler Thweatt away with his crown. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Eyes Wide Open

EYES WIDE OPEN – There’s a lot to take in for 10-month-old Brynli Kelly as she attends her first Reunion. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Urge to Surge

URGE TO SURGE – The “Power Surge” is the newest ride to light up the night at the Reunion carnival. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Get in the Hole

GET IN THE HOLE – Pairs of players practice washers at the Williams Camp in preparation of the “Put Yo’ Money Where Yo’ Mouth Is” washer tourney. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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