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SAM goes to the State Fair: A Memoir

To my surprise last month, Stephen Arnold Music was treated to a half day at the State Fair of Texas. We enjoyed fried food, expensive cheap beer, bumper cars and adrenaline-pumping thrill rides, all of which made for a great team building experience. It was pretty much all of us, from Stephen on down to the intern kid, Noah.

SAM at the Fair

Stephen Arnold Music, Fair Day 2009

It was mad dash to see who could eat the worst fried food (hmm.. Fried Snickers, Fried Honey Buns, Fried Oreos, but the worst has to be Fried Butter – only in Texas!), win the most door prizes, or find the strangest gadgets known to man, my favorite being a rattlesnake lamp, something every mom, girlfriend or wife should get for Valentine’s Day.

SAM got the big idea we should do the Sky Coaster ride. We saw it from a distance. Let’s see – dangling two hundred feet in the air from a cable for twenty seconds before pulling the ripcord and falling back to the earth at 70 miles per hour, you say?  Count me in!  (Remember, I grew up in backwoods Jacksboro, TX, where wild Russian boars chased me on the way to school. But that’s another blog for another time…)

SAM on the Sky Coaster

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It's Stephen Arnold Music!

I never said we were the brightest company at the Fair nor the funniest. You ride in teams of three, so Wheeler, Andy and I were first up, followed by the late great Joe Faulkner, Noah the intern kid (who had no choice), and Clay “I can program any computer” Lorance.

Andy is like nine feet tall so he rode in the middle, which meant either Wheeler or I would pull the ripcord. After a grueling fifteen round game of “Paper, Rock, Scissors,” I won and grabbed hold. Then up up up to the top we went and hung and waited until I pulled the rip chord, then down we came.  Andy turned 15 shaded shades of red, and although he is bald by choice, he lost any ability to grow his hair at the moment I pulled the ripcord. Wheeler was probably the most laid back of the bunch, and as tough as I tried to sound on the ground, I screamed all the way down.

Joe, Noah and Clay were next. Clay was smiling from ear to ear and Noah just acted as if he did this every day before getting out of bed, but never have I heard such screams of terror or cries for mercy as I heard from Joe that day. Except for maybe when he and Chad duke it out at the office. Speaking of, where was Chad during all of this?  He couldn’t even bring himself to watch. He was not only on the ground still, but he probably sat in a stall in the men’s room the whole time. At least Stephen, Kim and Corrie stayed to watch the whole crazy scene unfold, laughing good and hard at how ridiculous everyone looked flying by at 70mph.

You can see yourself – the creative team made a little video montage out of the two groups that took on the Sky Coaster. Check it out:

Much came from all of this –  a great story, an adrenaline rush that we talked about for another hour and the sudden feeling that the six of us ruled the world.  Let me add that Wheeler and I ruled the world a little longer that day because we also took on the Sky Arm coaster – another towering ride that is completely insane.

So what did we all learn? To get rid of Chad, ride the craziest ride you can. Actually, ride pretty much any ride. Then look in the bathroom stall afterward.

And of course, we learned that a half-day off with your co-workers can be time well spent – our team really had the chance to bond.

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