Tuesday, June 2, 2015
The Skywheel was built in 1968. Skywheel Jimmy joined the carnival fresh out of the Army in 1984. There, the two of them began a long and storied relationship. In 1998, in Lincoln Nebraska a ride operator turned it on while Jimmy was climbing. He pushed himself to the inside on purpose so there'd be something to grab onto. He was telling the story and I couldn't help but interject:
"I bet you can still hear the lights crashing."
"I still think about it every night when I lay down" he said, "It was nothing but star lights and sucker rods all the way to the ground."
"What are sucker rods?" I asked him.
"That's those things you try to grab onto when you're falling through that son of a bitch."
He went on. "Jeff Crespo said 'Ya' alright Jimmy?' and I said 'Yeah, I'm alright but that motherfucker that turned it on ain't gonna' be alright, not after I catch him.'"