MONTE VISTA — The Ski-Hi Stampede celebrated its 100th year and once again Wright’s Amusements carnival visited Monte Vista with thrilling rides, fun-filled games, lively playhouses, and tasty treats.
The carnival opened on Wednesday night, July 20, with the usual special offer that helped benefit the local food bank. Wright’s sells an all-day ride pass bracelet for $25 rather than its usual $35 to anyone who brought two canned food items to the carnival to help benefit the local food bank. Many children and adults took advantage of the offer and brought canned items to support the local food bank.
Thursday night, July 21, rolled around with some people dropping off children at the carnival while they attended Thursday night’s concert. Wright’s carnival rides consisted of the tummy-turning Avalanche, the Tornado, the Bumper Cars, the Ferris Wheel, the longtime favorite, the Kamikaze, and for the younger kids, the carousel, complete with ponies and small seats for the kids.
Another favorite for the kids this year was the motorcycle ride, toddlers were seat buckled into this ride, and the ride went round and round, while the kids honked their horns on the tiny motorcycles.
More than 400 people attended the carnival on Friday night, and many children were seen laughing and having fun on the rides. There were also lots of people seen playing games and trying to win prizes for themselves and their children.
Wright’s Amusements carnival is the longest-running carnival in North America, with more than 58 years in the industry. Wright’s Amusements travels year-round from state to state, setting up at local fairs and other local special events. John Ring is the present owner of the carnival.
The carnival was originally instituted in 1962 by Ring’s uncle, Floyd Wright, along with his two brothers, Frank and Charles. Ring grew up with the carnival.
Ring has stated, “We are proud of the carnival we have built over the years.”
Ring has talked about the requirements in setting up the carnival.
“It takes two days to erect all the carnival rides, set up all the lighting and prepare for the public,” he stated. “We also hire local people from town to town to help with the carnival.”
The carnival can be set up as a full carnival of 40 rides or a half carnival of 20 rides. As explained by Ring, in smaller towns and for smaller events it is necessary to set up the carnival half and half, in some instances some fairs take place close to brother or sister towns that are also having fairs, so the carnival will set up 20 rides in one town and 20 rides in another town. The carnival has been very successful at finding two fairs that are near each other around the same time.
Saturday night’s carnival in Monte Vista yielded the most people with over 600 people at the carnival.
Resident Alessandra Torres was at the carnival and said, “The best ride here is the Freak Out, but I also like the Himalaya. I come with my sisters every year and it’s fun, but I also know when it’s over, it’s almost time to go back to school. We eat cotton candy and really like the chili dogs, too, but we eat only after we get on the rides. I think it's pretty cool; this is the 100th year. I am having fun for sure.”
Residents Kevin and Olivia Ortiz were also at the carnival with their little girl Lianah, who enjoyed riding the horses on the carousel.
Olivia said, “This is her first year at the carnival. Obviously, she’s just a baby, but she loves the horses. I have always come to the carnival. I can’t remember not coming. I was born and raised here, and my family is here. This is a tradition I want to pass on to my daughter and my other kids. Monte Vista would not be Monte Vista without the Ski-Hi Stampede. I love the carnival, so does my husband, and my daughter has had so much fun, too. I am excited to be able to bring her for the 100th-year celebration. This is all wonderful.”