A ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opened the ride to the public (although Wescott assured us there had been three days of testing beforehand), and four special guests were first in line: Renowned lighting designer and stage performer Michael Haygood; Branson Area Lake Chamber of Commerce CEO Jeff Seifried; Country music star, Branson mainstay and hesitant Skyscraper-rider Clay Cooper; and 14-year-old thrill-seeker Payton Smith.
After the first four had gone through their dizzying experience, it was our turn. Full-disclosure: I’m not a lover of wild, thrilling rides. I get dizzy if I stand up too quickly. Nevertheless, two of us from 417 Magazine were securely strapped in, and the ride began.
You know how a rollercoaster usually gives you the slow-build of the initial climb? The Skyscraper doesn’t. Almost as soon as it starts moving, the momentum ratchets up, and you’re hurtling through the air at 60 miles-per-hour. The wind rushes in your ears and your body leaves the seat, defying gravity and held in place by the barriers and belts that strap you in.
After a few spins, your hands sweating and gripping onto the shoulder braces for dear life, the ride comes to a stop. If you’ve had your eyes closed this whole time (like I did), you finally feel safe enough to open them again.