As the California Mid-State Fair wrapped up for the year, I willingly took my life in my hands and went for a spin (literally) in one of the fair’s newest attractions — the Slingshot.
The Slingshot’s name is pretty accurate: Riders are strapped into a spherelike device and shot 240 feet in the air at almost 100 mph.
Cody Barendregt of Hot Shot Thrill Rides, which operates the Slingshot, said about 100 riders per day pay $30 to experience the thrill of being thrown into the sky. Barendregt is taking the Slingshot to five fairs this summer, including the San Diego County Fair, its stop prior to Paso Robles.
I’ve always been a thrill-ride lover, but this one was scarier than most. As Blake Shermer, one of the rider operators, and I (two people must ride in order to balance the sphere) were launched, my stomach dropped and then dropped again when I realized how far off the ground I was.
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That wasn’t the scariest part. It was being flipped around in the air — and realizing the only thing that stood between me and certain death were a few strips of metal and a seat belt.
Shermer, who said he’d probably ridden the Slingshot “thousands” of times, seemed unfazed by this brush with mortality.
In fact, he probably found my hysterical screaming pretty annoying. I was told later that Barendregt broadcast my shrieks on the loudspeaker.
After we’d reached the ground, as I shakily emerged from my seat, I encountered a young boy who’s probably a member of the Slingshot’s target demographic.
“I want to do that!” he yelled, pointing at the ride.