WT Carny Ride #6: Ring of Fire

Ring of Fire

LED-clad Ring of Fire. Now that’s hot.

Ring of Fire, manufactured by Larson International,  is such a stereotypical carnival ride. It’s loud, it has a combination of 80’s gaude with a side helping of mechanical terror, and the ride op practically sits in the path of the train to operate this harrowing device.

Ring of Fire is a large steel ring with a train that is attached to a moving track. The track is sort of like a steel conveyor belt that spans the entire inside of the ring. The track is moved by hydraulic motors and travels along rollers positioned all along the inside of the 59 foot tall loop structure. Those rollers make Ring of Fire’s unmistakable roar.

During setup, the loop structure unfolds from the trailer and is then fastened at the top. Cables span the structure of the loop to keep it structurally sound. If the carnival wants to make it look tacky, they can put those little multicolored pennants along the cables.

The Ride

Ring of Fire

Hey! Multicolored pennants!

I’m amazingly biased against Ring of Fire as A. the ride makes me nauseous, and B. the cramped cars are almost panic attack enduing. I’m sure many people have a blast on this thing but I’d take Larson’s open air version, Fireball, any day over the enclosed variant.

I’ll just document one of my more memorable rides on Ring of Fire. It was in July of 2005 at the Meadowlands Fair in East Rutherford, NJ. My cousin and I decided to ride Ring of Fire. This particular Ring of Fire actually looked pretty decent with a new, black paint job and sequenced turbo lighting.

We walked up the ramp, showed the ride op our handstamps, and proceeded to one of the seats. When I got to the seat, I was surprised to find that the compartment was about 3 1/2 feet wide, and about 2 feet front to back! It was smaller than hell! We crammed ourselves into the seat, and then waited like 10 minutes for all the other riders to load. During the 10 minutes, we noticed the total obliviousness that people had to the “2 riders per seat rule”, even though ride op and numerous signs had made the point clear. We also noticed the stagnant water smell that permeated the compartment, obviously the ride had been hosed down numerous times from vomit.

The actual Ring of Fire in the story

The actual Ring of Fire in the story

Finally, the ride up closed the restraints, which are these giant padded lapbars that close downward. Once closed, the 2 steel bars that hold the bar in place are seriously no more than 8 inches away from your face. The op then closed the doors, pinning us in our cell for the next few minutes.

The train rocked back and forth quite a few times in attempt to complete a loop. To my absolute surprise, the ride was pretty smooth! During one of the final swings, some person’s pants button hit me in the face. I grabbed it…somehow. I then held onto it for a few seconds, contemplating what to do with this. What was I going to do? Exit the ride and  ask around if someone was missing a fucking pants button? I eventually chucked it, whilst upsidedown, into an unoccupied section of parking lot. I then started to get a bit nauseous; I had to close my eyes eventually so I wouldn’t get sick. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have someone hurl in that tiny compartment. Luckily the ride ended quickly, and I sort of stumbled out of the car because it’s damn near impossible to get out of that tiny seat in one clean motion.

Other Info


Ring of Fire is the second generation of looping rides by Larson. The predecessor to Ring of Fire was Super Loops, which debuted in the 1970s.  Super Loops is nearly identical to Ring of Fire only with a few mechanical and cosmetic differences. Ring of Fire then debuted in the 80s, giving the ride a more “thrilling” theme. Then came Fireball in 1998 which saw the addition of open-topped trains and shoulder harnesses.

Larson also makes giant models of Fireball with a 72 foot tall loop. These ‘Giant Loop’ models seem to be for permanent installations only. Several parks have these giant Larson loops including Greezed Lightnin‘ at Great Escape, Mardi Gras Hangover at Six Flags Great America, and Brain Drain at Elitch Gardens.


First, a video of Majestic Midway’s Ring of Fire. This one looks great and runs fast!

And here’s a video of Powers Great American Midway’s Larson Fireball…without a doubt the fastest run Fireball or Ring of Fire I’ve ever seen.

10: Yo Yo | 9: Trabant | 8: Hustler | 7: Cobra | 6: Ring of Fire | 5: Paratrooper | 4: Scat | 3: Zipper | 2: Hi-Roller | 1: Sky Diver | WTCR Home


  • BACH says:

    ive ridden the fireball b4 and its like an o.k. ride but i perfer the zipper lol and sometimes when you go on and they like hold you upside down for like 15 secs or so you start to black out lol but its an ok ride so watev

  • Brittany says:

    I like the ring of fire, minus the feeling of falling out of my seat, and my head nearly hitting the roof. The fire ball is much better though, because the harness eliminates the falling out and the open roof allows for a better view.

  • Scarlet says:

    The first time I went on it no one else wanted to so I was all by myself. When the restraints came down I tested them. They came up. I used the middle buckle but still it came up enough that I could possibly fall out. I kept testing them right until it took off and still, it gave. What I realized from riding it again at another fair later on is that the restraints don’t lock until the ride starts moving. Unknown to me at the time I spent the whole ride in terror, holding on as tight as I could to lord-knows-what and bracing my body in a way I hoped would keep me from slipping to my death.

    • Ryan m says:

      Bro the same thing happened to me and my little brother he was only 9 years old I was about 12 the bar did not lock at all snd me and my brother could easily slide out and there was not a lot of cage you could fit through it all very easily as the ride went my brother screamed and cried in horror I was holding one hand on the ceiling and one across my brother holding him down to the seat but my butt was off the seat the whole time just hanging on the shitty bar waiting to fall to our death the whole time it was the closest to death I’ve ever been I will never go back to a carnival ride again after that experience my phone even fell out of my pocket upside down because I had to hold on to us so we didn’t fall to our death every time we passed the dude we screamed for him to stop the ride but he never did and we just thank the lord we are still here today cause I don’t know how I held both of us in there.

  • Taty Star says:

    I`ve never riden that, I`d like so much too, but here in Brazil, only one park has one: Tupã in Porto Alegre and other cities in RS. Here where I ive I can`t find it.
    I think it`s lke an Enterprise (the way it spins), could be delightful.

  • Michael says:

    I rode the Super Loop once by myself, back in the 70’s when I was a kid. I was fine until it stopped at the top for several seconds, I seriously thought I was going to fall out. I don’t think the old one had as much stuff to keep you in it like the new model. I just remember straining to hold on to the lap bar when it stopped upside down and praying that the operator would move the damn thing. I remember hearing change falling out of people’s pockets and hitting different parts of the ride. People used to say the carnies stopped it upside down on purpose so they could shake all the change out of peoples pockets and then pick it up after closing. Of course I don’t believe that now, but I did when I was a kid. I also remember thinking it looked flimsy like a gust of wind could knock the whole thing over. It had a bunch of cables to keep it stable. I’m suprised that ride is still around.

    • Cyclone411 says:

      Oh no, you were correct. The carnies most definitely try to shake loose the change… You’d be suprised how much stuff is found on rides. People get so wiped out and can’t wait to get off these things and they totally forget to check for lost items.

  • Joey C. says:

    yep, it is an o.k ride. I have rode it 3 times, the first time i was on it with some drunks, i just knew it was gonna happen the one behind me threw up, luckily it missed me. I liked hanging upside down for those 15 seconds though.

  • Timberman says:

    For one reason or another (one reason being that I first encountered this ride when I was about seven and chickened out of riding it), I’ve never actually been on one of these, but I’ve always had a morbid fascination with them. My tolerance for unidirectional spinning has sadly declined over the years, but I am determined to cross this one off the list. No doubt I will pay dearly for my earlier cowardice, as this contraption looks like it would rate very high on the vomit index.

    • DoD3Brian says:

      You’re not really missing too much; it’s really just like any looping ride only it has a slight rattle from being on a track along with horribly tight riding compartments. But I understand the appeal of getting on one; it’s kind of like how I want to get on a Rotor even though a Gravitron pretty much trumps it.

      BTW, it’s nice to see you around! Too bad TPC is basically a ghost town nowadays.

  • stephanie smith says:

    The Ring Of Fire was soo imtimidating to me 3years ago. The look of it the first time i ever saw that ride scared me straight and my grandma called me up the next day telling me how much of a whimp i was for baking out and not going on it. but last year i toughened up and went on the Ring Of Fire and LOVED IT!! it was freaking scary but i had to go on it and it was one of the best ride that i had ever been on and now im going this year too so im definently going on it!

  • Jason says:

    The ring of fire Aka the Chicago loop has to be one of the junkiest rides ever. The one at my local fair even has a broken exit gate.

  • This Is My 2nd Fave Ride On My List! 😀 I Was Hoping That It Would Be at the Meadowlands Fair. But sadly, it’s not there this year..

  • Maria says:

    Just because someone puke in your seat doesn’t mean is not a half decent ride! This is the best ride I’ve ever ridden.

    • DoD3Brian says:

      Oh god, but the sticky feeling! But really, I think it’s the combination of swinging back and forth (that makes me nauseous) and having to be trapped inside of a small space with other people that irks me about this ride.

  • Jacob Walls says:

    I rode this many times. Its terrible. And, in Florida march 2013, some kids were on it and it BROKE. That was the carnies story of why it wasnt at out local fair for which it was a favorite, and sure enough, its true. http://www.winknews.com/Local-Florida/2013-03-19/Lehigh-carnival-ride-accident-sends-one-to-the-hospital#.UlSXFFCUTjY

  • Grace says:

    I remember this being at our local county fair when I was about 6. My sister, two years older and 3 inches taller, was able to ride, and it aggravated me that I was unable to ride it. Come next year, I was tall enough to ride, but they removed the ride. I probably waited 5 years for that to come back to experience the “thrill ride of a lifetime”, as my sister put it. Glad to know it isn’t one of those memories that your brain creates when you’re rather young to make up for the lack of memory…^^”

  • JBscar says:

    You can always hear the sound of change dropping when its suspended upsidedown for a few seconds! LOL

  • padas song says:

    i think this ride is so round people enjoy this.

  • Linzy says:

    We had this ride around when I was about 9. Unlucky I was to short to go on it, and the next year they removed it so I settled for the zipper instead.

    But luckily I was not on it when it got stuck. By older brother about 16 and his two friends got stuck on it mid loop through. They didn’t hang upside down for the usual couple seconds, instead they hung there for around 30 minutes while they were trying to fix it. Some people even started blacking out from the heat and hanging upside down.

    This year I thought they were bringing it back from the six year absence. I found it sitting in a storage place near where the fair grounds usually are (it’s an original blue and white super loops, with green seats). But it has not been set up, and doesn’t look like it will be sadly. It must be someone else’s as all rides are set up, even if they don’t work.

    Although the fair here has two, (the newest and the oldest) they may be bringing the newer one here next year, which is great because the original model looks terrifying. That’s the bad thing about little carnivals, everything is always slightly broken to some degree.

  • Rison says:

    This ride is so boring.

  • Michael says:

    I do wnjoy the Ring of Fire, but Amusements of America’s Ring of Fire needs some work. I rode it at the Ohio State Fair and the Delta Fair and i hated being crammed in the cage. I prefer Wade Shows’s Ring of Fire, because it has an open air train, and surprisingly its still called Ring of Fire instead of Fireball.

  • i remeber the fair i always go to in north carolina & at the the carolina classic fair known as the dixie classic fair if you lived in north carolina but any way i always wanted to ride the fireball
    know called the ring of fire & i finally get to ride it after all these years because i was finally tall enough i was scared to death when i got on the ride & i remeber it stopping at mid air and going in circles & stopping at the time & when it was moving up i thought i was going to fall out but i didn’t because i was brave enough to do it.

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