Mighty Machines and Bouncy Balls

My friends and I took a day trip to Summerfest this year to see Ben Folds and generally have a grand old time. As we wandered the festival drooling over our roasted corn and stuffed pretzels, we encountered a whole slew of inflatable attractions. We hopped on “The Wrecking Ball” first, which simply involved standing on unsteady platforms and pummeling each other with a large plush wrecking ball. We also took on “Vertical Rush,” an obstacle course that Dylan easily tackled faster than the rest of us.

I then hopped in line to ride the mechanical bull. The single person in front of me–a boy, probably around ten years old–held on for quite a while, but was using two hands to keep himself atop the bull like a complete amateur. I wasn’t nervous to actually ride the bull, but I was worried that I’d be upstaged by this little boy because I planned to only hold on with one hand. After all, falling faster than this kid could ruin my reputation as the physical embodiment of perfection I discussed in my 10k post. Nonetheless, I hopped onto the bull in one graceful motion and the first of my two rides began.

I’ve always thought riding a mechanical bull would be harder than it looks, and I was right. Big time. I tried to lean away from the direction of the machine when it moved. I gripped as tightly as I could with my legs. I held onto the rope with all my strength (not much). I was thrown off somewhere between eight seconds and thirty minutes. There’s no way to tell exactly how long it was.

I jumped on for my second ride and had similar struggles. I sat further back on the saddle so I had more wiggle room, but I still fell off after some time, likely between thirty seconds and an hour. When I rose from the inflatable floor, proud of my triumph over the machine, I observed the faces of the crowd. Now, of course, there’s no way to know for sure, but their faces seemed to say “Man, he was so much better than the kid before him” and “Wow, is he a real life cowboy?” I smiled and walked off. For some fun GIFs of my bull riding experience, scroll to the bottom of this post!

The inflatable park also had an obstacle comprising four big red balls. To be deemed successful, one had to cross from one side to the other without falling. Success is a relative term. I say that because I definitely made it across the chasm, but at a cost. I took on the obstacle after declaring “This first try is just to get a feel for the consistency of the balls!” The videos at the bottom of the post speak for themselves…scroll down and enjoy my best fish-out-of-water impression.

Next week: Cole gets supernatural.

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