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Thrill-seekers ready to ride at carnival (w/video)

By Jessica Rodrigo
Feb. 20, 2014 at 10:05 p.m.
Updated Feb. 19, 2014 at 8:20 p.m.

Carnival-goers ride the Cliffhanger and the Ferris wheel on opening night of the Victoria Livestock Show carnival  at the Victoria Community Center. The carnival will be open until March 2.

The words "suicide night" did not scare Kaylin Fraire.

Instead, she and a group of friends took turns twirling, spinning and screaming on the rides Thursday night at the Victoria Livestock Show carnival.

About 6 p.m., the group purchased wristbands at a ticket booth that granted the thrill-seekers access to all the rides.

About 6:10 p.m., they were strapped into the Spin Out ride.

Their feet dangled above a metal platform and their hands clasped the safety harness that resembled a flotation device. The ride operator approached the center platform and hit a button that did what none of them expected.

It unlocked the harnesses.

The ride wasn't working. The group had to move on to another ride.

It was a slow start for the 17-year-old's first time taking the rides for a spin. She wasn't a big fan of carnival attractions but was game to give them a try.

The fact that it was "suicide night" at the carnival didn't make her change her mind, either.

"It's the first day it's open," she joked. "What if they forget to put in a bolt?"

Ride after ride, she and her riding partner, MaShayla Ledbetter, 16, climbed up the steps and ramps to be locked into the rides that spun, looped and teetered back and forth.

The lines were short early in the evening, but as the sky turned dark and the lights showed brighter, the lines grew, and more people filled the seats of each of the rides.

"The rides that have flips and turns are the best," MaShayla said.

The girls even jumped on the Kamikaze ride twice. It was one of the tallest rides - second to the big Ferris wheel - with two hammer-like apparatuses that held the riders as it swayed to and fro until they made full revolutions.

The ride froze at the top, holding them in the air upside down.

"You could see everyone on the ground looking up at you," MaShayla said.

Kaylin held her eyes shut while she was in the ride but said the best part was opening them to see all the lights from the top.

"It was fun and scary," she said as she caught her breath.

When the girls took a spot in line at the Zipper, Nick Vigil, 22, watched from afar.

"I'm claustrophobic," he said. "I won't ride that one."

After the ride operator closed the door for Kaylin and MaShayla, Jaycee Valdez, 20; and Cameron Fuhrken, 13, hopped into the other cage.

The operator told them to hold on tight before he shut the door and stepped over to the controls.

Shrieks and shrills came from their cages, numbers 3 and 6.

The best part of the ride for Cameron was when the cages came down toward the ground.

"That thing was rough," Valdez said. "But it wasn't bad."

They went through the bumper cars a few times, and Cameron took a turn doing flips on a bungee trampoline.

By 8 p.m., the group was making another lap around the carnival.

The group was looking forward to riding the Spin Out and talked about coming back to see if it was running.

"Our favorite ride was the one that wasn't working," Valdez said.



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