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BEST STATE FAIR RIDE Minneapolis 1998 -

Imagine a giant nylon log carrier. Now imagine it has three separate elongated pockets, into which three hapless fairgoers pay big money to get strapped--no doubt after a few too many Grain Belts and Tiny Tim doughnuts. What you have is the Skycoaster, the first vertical bungee ride known to separate thrill-seekers from their bucks at the Great Minnesota Get-Together. Once strapped in to the nylon sling like a trio of human tacos, coaster riders are winched up to the very top of a tall steel girder that seems to tower over the entrance to the Grandstand. Then the elastic cable gets snapped, the sling flies forward, and the riders shriek as they hurtle face-first toward the Beer Garden. They keep screaming as the nylon sack rockets back and forth a dozen or so more times, barely missing the giggling crowds below. At $30 a trip for a lone rider, $25 apiece for two, and $20 each for three, the Skycoaster costs as much as a full evening at the Midway--but what a ride it is. Chicken? It's almost as much fun to stand in front of the WCCO booth nursing one of the aforementioned brews and watching the G-forces nearly suck the flesh from riders' cheeks.

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