10/01/06 — Round and round they go ...

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Round and round they go ...

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 1, 2006 2:03 AM

Clayton Stiles would have screamed if the sudden fall hadn't taken his breath.

Even with a few rides under his belt, the 14-year-old said he was "caught off guard" when his seat on the Super Shot that had been ascending slowly the moment before, plummeted straight down in an instant.

"I wouldn't say it's scary," he said. "It just comes up on you. You're hanging up there and it's fine, but then you just drop. Even if you think you'll know when it's coming, you don't. But no, I wasn't scared."

Up, around and straight down, the rides at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair are sure to please thrill-seekers, some fairgoers said Friday.

After a go on the Super Shot, Clayton, who came all the way from Smithfield, and a few friends stumbled down the dirt path where the guy who works the Ring of Fire was cashing in.

The cars on his ride start out by moving forward, then back -- gaining momentum before racing around the ring over and over.

As they hurl around and around, a sudden stop leaves them hanging in mid-air.

Clink, clink, clink. Loose change rains down from blue jean pockets.

"My cell phone tried to fall last year but I caught it," said Melanie Johnson of Princeton. "I wasn't screaming because I was scared. I just didn't want to lose my phone."

Others, like 16-year-old Billy Williamson of Fremont, realized fears they didn't know they had when the brakes left his car stalled in mid-air.

"I don't like being upside down," he said. "It makes me feel like getting sick. It was cool until the hanging up there part."

But the nausea subsided after a few deep breaths.

Billy and his friends picked their next ride.

They stopped for some chili dogs on their way to 1001 Nachts.

Back when Jim McClean was a teen, it was called the Pirate Ship.

"It doesn't matter what shape it's in, that ride will get you seasick," he said. "So, to me, it will always be the Pirate Ship."

His 10-year-old son disagreed.

"It's a magic carpet, Dad," Matthew said.

"That may be," his father replied. "I guess magic carpet riding gets you seasick. Let's go on a different one next. I feel weird."

The McClean boys took a walk over to the Ferris wheel for a change of pace -- to take in the sites and calm the stomach, they said.

But some riders said even this "romantic, calm ride" provides a thrill.

Melinda Wooten and her husband, Donnie, get a special feeling every year when they reach the top.

"I love the Ferris wheel but I don't really like heights," Mrs. Wooten said. "That's why I just look at him."

She pointed to her husband, who said his wife's fears often lead to special moments.

"She holds on a little tighter when we get to the top," he said. "It's a great feeling, but I still laugh."