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Everything you need to know about the 2014 Rock County 4-H Fair.

Rating the rides at the Rock County 4-H Fair

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Jake Magee
July 23, 2014

JANESVILLE—Justin Worley approached the Zero Gravity ride at the Rock County 4-H Fair Wednesday with mild apprehension.

“My stomach's already turning,” the fifth-grader said as we waited in line.

Alien Abduction looks like a flying saucer. Riders climb inside and are pulled and suspended against the walls as the ride spins.

Once I convinced Justin that Zero Gravity was more or less the same as Alien Abduction, one of his favorite rides, he relaxed.

We stepped onto the platform and “buckled” ourselves using the provided burlap belt. The ride operator told us not to try turn ourselves upside-down, a popular thing to do on Alien Abduction.

The reason is Zero Gravity not only spins as fast as Alien Abduction, but it lifts and turns 45 degrees so riders face the ground and sky as they rotate.

Justin spent the ride screaming, but more from joy than fear. We got off the ride wobbly and a bit dizzy, but Justin had conquered his fear.

“I thought my face was gonna turn inside out,” he said. “That was so fun. I wanna do that again.”

So we did.

Justin and I spent the day riding nearly every attraction at the fair and ranking each on four factors: speed, scariness, length of ride and, of course, fun. Scores are on a 10-point scale, and final scores are an overall analysis of a ride's quality.

Alien Abduction

Speed: 8

Scariness: 2

Length: 9

Fun: 9

Final score: 8

Justin wanted to tackle Alien Abduction first. With no line, we hopped in, and the ride started immediately. As it began to spin and gravity sucked our bodies to the wall, a few of the dozen kids on the ride took the opportunity to flip themselves upside-down, much to Justin's delight.

“My tongue was literally stuck in my mouth we were going so fast,” he said after we got off.

The ride went on for a solid four minutes, and it was a blast for us to try to extend our arms and legs only to have them pulled back to the wall. It instantly became Justin's favorite ride.

Tomb of Doom

Speed: 0

Scariness: 1

Length: 3

Fun: 1

Final score: 1

We went on the Tomb of Doom right next door after Alien Abduction. Sadly, the ride didn't live up to its name.

We sat in a cart that moved us through a dark corridor of supposedly scary images and sculptures complete with malfunctioning flashing lights and recorded screams. The whole thing lasted only seconds and left Justin and I yawning.

Ferris Wheel

Speed: 3

Scariness: 8

Length: 10

Fun: 7

Final score: 7

The fair wouldn't be complete without the Ferris wheel. If you're not a fan of heights—like myself—sitting at the top of the ride for a couple minutes can be a bit discomforting.

Still, it's nice to be able to see the grounds and surrounding Janesville area, and the breeze feels nice.

Blizzard

Speed: 7

Scariness: 2

Length: 7

Fun: 8

Final score: 7

The Blizzard puts riders in a ring of carts and shoots them in a circle, complete with bumps and ear-piercing music. Halfway through, it switches directions so riders go backwards.

The Blizzard was so fast that Justin was constantly thrown into my side as we rode, but we laughed the entire time—despite the pain in my ribs. The ride goes for a fair amount of time, making it a good attraction.

Bumper Cars

Speed: 3

Scariness: 0

Length: 9

Fun: 10

Final score: 6

It didn't take long for a different ride to trump Alien Abduction as Justin's favorite. Bumper cars might not be fast or particularly scary, but Justin loved them enough to ride them four times while at the fair.

“We get to move freely and run into people,” he said. What more can a child want?

Caterpillar

Speed: 2

Scariness: 1

Length: 4

Fun: 2

Final score: 2

Caterpillar is a child's roller coaster, but even Justin admitted its weakness after stepping off. Young kids and those scared of more intimidating rides might get a kick out of it, but Justin and I had higher ambitions.

Mega Drop

Speed: 10

Scariness: 10

Length: 2

Fun: 7

Final score: 8

If the Ferris wheel is intimating, Mega Drop is terrifying. Even I was nervous as I strapped myself in.

The cart lifted higher and higher until it was higher than the Ferris wheel. I sat in agony waiting to be dropped, which is easily the worst part.

I heard a clunk behind me, and I plummeted, my stomach lurching. Mega Drop is an exhilarating blast, but it's not for the faint of heart.

Super Slide

Speed: 4

Scariness: 0

Length: 2

Fun: 6

Final score: 3

The Super Slide is another simple attraction where riders sit in a potato sack and go down a pink, wavy slide. It's relaxing at best, but we still enjoyed the smooth ride.

Zero Gravity

Speed: 9

Scariness: 4

Length: 5

Fun: 10

Final score: 8

Zero Gravity is the scarier version of Alien Abduction. While dizzying, it's still a thrilling ride, especially by Justin's standards. As soon as we stepped off, he hopped in line to give it another go.

Fireball

Speed: 8

Scariness: 6

Length: 2

Fun: 8

Final score: 9

Fireball spins riders while simultaneously rocking them to a ludicrous degree. It's the perfect ride for introducing brave kids to more adult-focused attractions.

It's fast, fun and exciting, but before the ride even really got going it was over. I only wish it was longer.

Tilt-a-Whirl

Speed: 5

Scariness: 1

Length: 8

Fun: 5

Final score: 6

The Tilt-a-Whirl is a classic fair ride and for good reason. It's family friendly while still being exhilarating, fun and safe.

Unfortunately, the cab Justin and I got hardly spun, leaving much of the “whirl” out of "Tilt-a-Whirl." Still, the ride lasts a few satisfying minutes, making it worth checking out.

Yo-Yo

Speed: 4

Scariness: 1

Length: 9

Fun: 7

Final score: 7

Yo-Yo is a relaxing swing-type ride. Nothing beats being suspended a dozen feet above the ground and soaring through the air during a hot day at the fair. This ride is perfect for kids while still being capable of entertaining adults.

Kite Flyer

Speed: 5

Scariness: 0

Length: 7

Fun: 9

Final score: 5

Kite Flyer is much like Yo-Yo, only riders aren't suspended as high and don't move as fast. Furthermore, riders are positioned on their stomachs, like Superman.

Justin and I almost fell asleep riding it, but in a good way, considering its calming, breezy nature. Justin preferred the low-key entertainment of Kite Flyer to the high-flying fun of Yo-Yo.

Remix II

Speed: 8

Scariness: 7

Length: 4

Fun: 6

Final score: 7

If you want to go fast without plummeting to the earth, Remix II is the attraction for you. Riders spin in multiple directions so fast I felt like I got whiplash. Make sure you don't have any loose items on you or you're likely to lose them.



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