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The New Rides At The Rodeo, Rated

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If you want to try the new rides at the Rodeo Carnival, don't go on a windy day -- the Sky Flyer won't be operating. And it looks awesome -- it's like your typical swing ride, except you're elevated on a needle first. But when the wind's up the riders can bump into each other, so it wasn't on this past Saturday, a bright and beautiful but windy day.

The other new ride this year is the Storm, which looks deceptively un-frightening, probably because its size isn't too imposing. But it swings you around with a vengeance, while you stare at the contorted faces of the folks across from you. A little boy to my left was yelling to his mother, who from where I was sitting watching her didn't look so well herself, that he was gonna puke (thankfully he didn't). This was the first ride my 10-year-old niece Jade and I tried, and it took us both a while to get our balance back afterward. "I feel weird," Jade said. "My feet don't work right." In other words, the Storm rules.




Some others we tried were the Cliff Hanger, where you lie on your belly and pretend you're Superman (I loved it but Jade called it "lame"), Zero Gravity, the one that uses centrifugal force to glue you to the wall while you stand up, the Tango, a super-intense ride that spins you around high in the sky and, of course, the Ferris Wheel, which has an awesome view of the Carnival grounds, the Astrodome and downtown.

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But the one Jade couldn't wait to tell all her friends about was the Slingshot, which is kind of like a Bungee jump in reverse. You sit in a little ball and are flung 200 feet in the air at 100 miles per hour, spinning around wildly, then slowly bounce back down to earth. At $25 per person, this is the most expensive ride in the whole Carnival. But Jade, who wasn't paying, declared the Slingshot "so worth it" after it was all over. And I have to admit, it was a blast.

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 Oh, and fair warning: Apparently the Carnival rides aren't too good for your hair.

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