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FIRST RIDE 2004

Ah, April!  The chilly winds of winter give way to a warmer, gentle breeze, the tulips in the Skagit Valley bloom drawing visitors from around the world to see the colorful fields of flowers, and the Wild Ones head down to the Puyallup Spring Fair for our annual "First Ride".   This day marks the unofficial start of the rollercoaster season for coaster fans around the Northwest and is the club's longest running event.  This year's "First Ride" took place on the 17th and as per usual, the object of our venture is the 1935, John Miller designed Coaster Thrillride.  As luck would have it, Coaster Thrillride was running "Orn'ry Orange", the last remaining Prior and Church train still in use.

For several members of the club, "First Ride" was not only their first ride of the season, but also their first ride ever on Coaster Thrillride.  To the right, Steve Erickson and his niece Kaila (hope I spelled that right) take a spin.  It was Kaila's first ride ever and, as you can see, she loved it.  Directly below is Fara Dobson.  As you can see, she didn't love it nearly as much as Kaila.  In fact, it could be said that she was downright terrified.  Below on the right is Barry and his daughter Claire who was taking her first ride.  She also enjoyed it a lot.

Here's some "high-tech redneck" chatting away on his cell phone during the pig races.  Apparently these redneck types are used to seeing pigs race so it wasn't too exciting to him.   Everyone else loves the races though.  You get to see pigs like "Christina Hogulara" and "Shaquille O'Squeel" work their way around the oval in hopes of winning the grand prize, Oreo cookies.

This crazy lady in a clown outfit was riding the carousel.  She kept yelling a bunch while blowing bubbles from her bubble gun.  The kids seemed to like her, but all of the adults seemed a little worried.  The carousel is PTC #43.  It is one of only 2 remaining portable PTC carousels left in operation.  It was donated to the fairgrounds by Robert Bollinger who is a legend in NW amusement parks.  Mr. Bollinger helped open up Playland in Vancouver and was the long time owner of Oaks Park before turning it over to a non-profit group that he started.  In a nice surprise, the gorgeous Wurlitzer organ was playing, making the carousel even better than usual.

Kids need to ride too, and the Puyallup Spring Fair has the "Lil' Coaster" for the young ones to enjoy.   Micah rode it with his friends Tristen and Seth.  They both loved it, but Micah wasn't quite as pleased.  That's him crying after getting off.  Oh well.   He loved the Dragon at Legoland.

Nothing works better for cheering Micah up than a canoe ride with a friend.  This cool ride takes kids on a trip through tunnels and teepees as they cruise along on the water.  Micah and Tristen loved it.

After that he rode the Scrambler with Tammie.  He always loves this ride at Enchanted Village, and he loved it here as well.

Emma wasn't big enough to ride, but she loved watching everyone else ride.  Here she watches a train load of Wild Ones on Coaster Thrillride.  "I've seen that coaster before on Uncle Aaron's coaster videos," she thinks.

And of course, no day at the Puyallup Fair (or any other fair for that matter) would be complete without some dude walking around sportin' a mullet.  You know, business in the front, party in the back.  All in all it was a great day and we broke the Wild Ones record for most people at a "First Ride".  Hopefully next year we will break it once again.   Thanks to everyone who made it and we can now "officially" say that the coaster season is under way.


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