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Save Our Skyride, Tulsa!

Welcome, early visitors! The site isn’t quite ready to go. The content is under rapid development and is updated daily. Meanwhile, you are invited to take a look around. The history section is now done except for the closing words. The skyride maintenance section is now done. The benefits section will come next. The rest will follow soon thereafter.

The Tulsa State Fair Skyride will NOT operate for the 2021 Tulsa State Fair. Even worse, the skyride is at genuine risk of never running again and being removed.

Riding the skyride at the fair is a Tulsa tradition that dates back to 1965. The skyride is a Tulsa treasure, an often-underrated gem, that should be preserved. The skyride is in great condition, benefiting from hundreds of thousands of dollars in improvements since the Tulsa State Fair purchased the skyride from Bell’s Amusement Park for $600,000 in 2007. Also in 2007, the State Fair of Texas added a new skyride for $5.5 million. Tulsa’s skyride is of similar length and greater height than the new skyride at the State Fair of Texas.

Help save the skyride! Show your support by signing our online petition (coming soon). And encourage everyone you know to sign as well.

What’s the problem?

Tulsa Skyride at night: Save Our Skyride
Tulsa Skyride at night: click on image to view larger.

Reportedly, the skyride has been experiencing low ridership. In other words, it needs to make more money. This is somewhat surprising news because for years the skyride was touted in the press as the biggest money maker on the midway.

Low ridership does not mean that fairgoers no longer care about riding the skyride. Low ridership often results from unfavorable weather conditions. The skyride has only eleven operating days to make enough money to pay its way for the year. Out of those eleven days, the weekends are the most important for the skyride, especially the first weekend. If weather keeps the skyride closed for significant periods on those weekends, it may not be possible for the skyride to break even for the year.

If wind speeds are too high, the skyride must close. Lightning in the area also means that the skyride must close. Oftentimes, contrary to Oklahoma weather’s reputation for always changing, strong winds may prevail for extended periods during the fair.

To buffer against the weather wildcard, it would help the skyride’s situation to increase ridership during the times when the weather is not a problem. Many things can be done to help with this. And many have been tried. Overall, increasing fair attendance, especially on the slower days will help. Creating a fair experience that entices fairgoers to stay longer at the fair will help, too.

A lot of creative thinking is likely required, but solutions for the skyride are surely possible. Let’s look at some ideas for helping the skyride and come up with even more.

Reasons for saving the Skyride

There are many reasons for preserving the Tulsa Skyride. Here are some of them.

  • The skyride is historic and is a part of Tulsa’s history. It opened in 1965.
  • The skyride has been a family tradition at the fair since 1965.
  • The skyride provides a unique experience not found anywhere else in Oklahoma or most neighboring states.
  • The skyride is a key major attraction at the fair, adding to the variety of experiences that appeal to fairgoers.
  • The skyride stands out above the midway, visually dominating the fair — both day and night — in a way that even the Golden Driller cannot.
  • The skyride appeals to all ages. It is exceptional in that it is a thrilling ride, yet it is one that grandparents and grandchildren can enjoy together.
  • The skyride is “old” in years, but is in like-new condition. The skyride has been well-maintained and has been the beneficiary of hundreds of thousands of dollars in safety improvements and upgrades, including a large number of new parts since 2007.
  • If this skyride were to be removed, there would be no way to get it back. A new replacement skyride would cost millions with the ride experience being different and likely at a lower height with less impressive views.
  • The skyride is a rare, under-appreciated asset that could be leveraged much more to the benefit of the Tulsa State Fair, Tulsa, and Oklahoma.
  • This type of skyride, designed and built in Switzerland by Von Roll was first brought to the United States by Walt Disney to Disneyland in 1956. Many more were built all across the USA, including the one in Tulsa. Today only ten Von Roll skyride installations remain in the United States, with Tulsa’s being the only one in the center of the country.

Learn more about why the Tulsa Skyride should be saved.

Also see a starter set of ideas for how to help keep the Tulsa Skyride financially healthy.