, Corbin, KY

July 15, 2013

Our trip to Spirit Song, Part 2: The Rides

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — Last week, I told everyone all about the awesome music at the Spirit Song festival June 27-29 at the Kings Island amusement park.

This week, I have to talk about the other exciting part about Spirit Song — the rides.

I have been to Kings Island several times in the past, but this was my wife Carmen’s first trip.

She was all excited about riding the roller coasters but had never been on the real crazy ones before. So I thought we would start off slow and work our way up.

I suggested hopping on the Adventure Express first which is a roller coaster with no real steep hills or loops.

After that, we got on board The Racer, which is an old-fashioned wooden roller coaster. It had a couple of big hills so that really got Carmen’s feet wet in the coaster-riding experience.

Both the Adventure Express and The Racer were much faster and rougher than I had remembered though, so I was afraid Carmen would not want to move on to the more extreme rides.

But it was just the opposite — she was ready to tackle everything else we could squeeze in before the Spirit Song concerts began that evening.

Up next was the Backlot Stunt Coaster which I had actually never been on. It was formerly called The Italian Job when Kings Island was owned by Paramount.

It was pretty fun as it was really fast and had a bunch of special effects like you were in a high-speed chase movie scene.

But as we were waiting in line for the Backlot Stunt Coaster, off in the distance stood the brand new roller coaster, Diamondback.

Just as the name implies, Diamondback resembles a giant snake the way it travels up and down and coils around the park. I had never ridden it, but just from the looks of it I could tell it was likely the most extreme and thrilling ride in the entire park.

Carmen asked if I was planning to ride it. I told her I had to try it out, and she didn’t have to if she didn’t want to.

But again to my surprise, she was ready to go get in line for that coaster too.

So after we waited through the long Diamondback line, the next thing we knew, we were claiming our seats in the back row of the coaster.

In most coasters, you are normally sitting down in a little cart with all the protective harnesses and little walls on both sides. For the most part, you typically feel relatively safe.

This is not quite the case on Diamondback. On this ride, you basically are sitting in a high chair with only a bar that comes down on your lap.

There were no walls on either side of us. And both of our legs could not touch the bottom of the train so they were dangling just like our arms were.

Before we knew it, we were at the top of the first 230-foot hill making the face-down plunge with only the bar holding us in. Then we went up and down several more hills and rounded 90-degree turns while reaching speeds of 80 mph.

Screams were flying out from all over the roller coaster as everyone had that big rush of adrenaline with that little bit of fear you might fly out of your seat at any time.

We made it all the way to the end and we both agreed that was an awesome ride.

I checked my phone real quick as we were walking away and noticed our friend Brittany Stratton had replied to my earlier Facebook post.

As we were waiting in line, I posted “Carmen and I are getting ready to tame the Diamondback!” Brittany replied with, “Ride it again for me!”

It was almost time for that evening of concerts, so Carmen and I couldn’t squeeze it in that day. But the next day, we knew we would have to honor Brittany’s request and experience the thrill one more time before Spirit Fest was over.

On the final day of Spirit Fest, we “tamed the Diamondback” again. We also rode The Beast, which is one of the oldest and most famous roller coasters, the Windseeker, which is a tall swing ride that lets you swing around at a height of 300 feet in the air, and Drop Tower, which takes you up about 250 feet and then drops you back to the ground in about a second or two.

After all of our thrill-seeking was over, I couldn’t help but think about the faith we put into the safety of these rides.

And just like the faith I put into that bar on the Diamondback ride, we should put even more faith in the hands of our God.

Deuteronomy 31:8 tells us “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

In this life, we are going to have our ups and downs. We will have curves and turns that catch us off-guard. We will have big hills to climb and valleys to go through.

During our highs, we should be thankful to God for his blessings. But during our lows, we should keep faith in God that he will get us through them.

And when we meet those right or left turns in life that we don’t expect, we should just continue to keep our faith in God and trust Him in the plans he has for us.

It was an incredible rush experiencing all the thrill rides Kings Island had to offer, but it is an even more incredible feeling knowing we have the Lord to protect us and to guide us in this roller coaster ride we call life.

Brad Hall is the nighttime editor for the Times-Tribune. He can be reached at