The Zipper first made its wicked presence in Kansas in 1968 invented by Joseph Brown of Chance Mfg USA. Since this time more than 200 rides have been built – distributed all over the world, making it one of the most mass-produced modern-day rides of all time.

This ride is the standard measuring stick to which all other “scary” rides are measured – if your body can handle two and a half minutes on the Zipper you can handle any other ride on a carnival midway (with possible exception of its cousin – Turbo). The ride is lean, mean – and very rarely clean: the firmly padded, inner-carriage cushioning has its fair share of wipe-downs.

The Zipper is a great ride to watch – 19 tonnes of modestly decorated, well-welded steel. Minimal attempt has been made to modernise the ride over its 37 years of operation – the basic structural blue-prints remain the same. The Zipper isn’t out to impress its audience with any warm and fuzzy themes – just untamed, mechanical chaos in its purest form.

Zipper’s 12 passenger cages are all about practicality. Just large enough to encase two human bodies side by side – not for the weak-hearted or claustrophobic! No body-hugging safety restraints either, just a lap bar attached to the door, and some rungs to tightly hold on to (if you don’t your head will collide with the grab-bars in front of you!)

Each cage rotates freely on an off-centre axis, while the cages (connected to a cable) move around the main boom at 4 rpm. Furthermore, the whole boom rotates on its own axis at 7 rpm. This creates a completely chaotic ride pattern – flipping riders with maximum white-knuckle force. Definitely not something to take your grandma on!

The Zipper is a ride which is either loved and appreciated in all its mechanical glory – or despised as an evil machine of terror. You decide.

No carnival is complete without a Zipper – no ride even slightly resembles it; it’s truly unique and will always hold a space in any carnival of the future. While it’s not fun for the whole family, it never fails to hold appeal to a strong minority of adrenaline-junkie regular riders.

Number of cars 12
Maximum number of passengers per seat 2 adults or 3 children
Maximum passenger weight per seat 153kg (340lbs)
Maximum total passenger weight 1,836kg (4,080 lbs)
Minimum passenger height (unaccompanied) 122cm (4 feet)
Recommended ride duration 2 min.
Maximum ride duration 2.5 min.
Main Boom speed 7.5 RPM
Cable speed 4 RPM
Maximum ride weight (EMPTY) 43,000 lbs (19,350kg)
Maximum height 56ft (16.80m)
Ride width 17.1 m / 57 ft
Ride depth 16.2 m / 54 ft

In 1968, Joey Madriaga was fortunate to work on the 2nd Zipper ever made by Chance, belonging to West Coast Shows and offers this fascinating insight:

  • 3 Zipper’s were already ordered by West Coast Shows, while the first one was 60 days from being completed
  • The ride sold for a price of $32,000 in 1968. Nowadays, a new Zipper will set you back around USD$1 million.
  • The original speed on the first Zipper’s boom was 11rpm. (FAST) and the cable speed 7 rpm. These speeds are just under TWICE as fast as it operates now. At this speed, the operator could make the cars spin constantly – up to 8 times between the edges of the boom.
  • With operating speeds nearly double today’s, owners were paying ever-increasing insurance premiums with common cases of whiplash, back-aches and heart attack. Subsequently, Harold Chance had the speeds revised to today’s slower RPM.

399 Responses to “Zipper”

  1. ZIPPER King, you are a fucking loon!

    zipper queen - November 27th, 2016 at 4:33 am

  2. The ZIPPER will remain to be the ride that all scary rides are measured up to! The most unpredictable ride of all time! You don’t ride the ZIPPER, she gives you a ride, and if she’s in a good mood the ride will be awesome, if she’s in a bitchy mood the ride will suck! You just have to know the trick to get to her G spot and then you will have the ride of your life!

    zipper queen - January 5th, 2017 at 6:36 am

  3. Over 99.8 percent of Zipper enthusiasts are toxic, hateful, and spoiled rotten to the core teenagers that will get a single rider thrown right into the “Shu” at Pelican Bay State Prison and required to register as a sex offender for the rest of (the single rider’s) life before they’ll ever even THINK about inviting the single rider to ride with them.

    Zipper King - January 14th, 2017 at 11:04 am

  4. To make matters worse, from the way Chance Rides Inc has blocked reviewers that demand single riders be either let back on or given a set up waiting area to get paired up, Chance Rides employees would BLAST a single rider full and maximum with M-16s, AK-47s, and RPGs until the single rider’s guts were splattered up to 3 miles away and then order an immediate nationwide military lockdown and Martial law before they’d even think of either letting single riders back on especially the newly remodled Zipper or ordering all carnivals to set up waiting zones, even a clearly marked waiting seat, for single riders to get paired up. They’ll literally turn an entire carnival into an all out war zone before even thinking of offering any kind of help to get a single rider on the Zipper.

    Zipper King - January 14th, 2017 at 11:09 am

  5. My guess is also; every single employee and staff member of Chance Rides, Inc has voted for Donald Trump and will be welcoming a North Korea sockpuppet America with open arms.

    Zipper King - January 14th, 2017 at 11:19 am

  6. I think all you anti Zipper anti chance are crazy! If you had the money one zipper brought you, you would quit your bitching and moaning and realize that the Zipper is the most popular carnival ride of all just give up you won’t win!

    Zipper queen - March 3rd, 2017 at 4:44 pm

  7. That’s one thing I hate, knowing American society is just too wicked and selfish to take a stand against “No Single Riders” and the evil and cruel Chance Rides, Inc and could care less that single riders will continue to be bluntly turned away and even threatened with arrest and imprisonment as if it were a capital felony under Federal law, FBI and Homeland Security enforced, and punishable by even 300 years to life in prison and/or the death penalty, for single persons 18 and older to leave their residence except for school and/or work within the United States of America. Heck, American society could even care less, and would even prefer it, if carnival ride operators shot and killed every single single rider they saw trying to get in line! As in, a single rider tries to get in line, and it’s bang! bang! bang! and the single rider is dead at the scene, and entire cliques at the carnival are; “Hip Hip Horray!” (Repeated several times) “Good riddance to another single sore loser! One less loser wasting our oxygen!”

    Zipper King - April 11th, 2017 at 1:49 pm

  8. If the Zipper is still the most popular ride despite “No Single Riders,” then “Death to single losers!” is the most popular spiritual chant in America!

    Chance Rides, Inc is ABSOLUTELY evil and totally cruel and callous! It’s easily one of the Top Ten Most Evil companies in the world! They have already declared WAR on single adults!

    Zipper King - April 11th, 2017 at 2:04 pm

  9. You better think about your buddy Donald Trump. More important issues than riding the Zipper alone. Come on dude you don’t even deserve to call yourself the Zipper King. Get a grip and don’t be so fucking Looney

    Zipper queen - April 16th, 2017 at 3:03 pm

  10. just rode the zipper with my homie geoff. he killed it; props to jeff

    graeme - May 13th, 2017 at 3:59 pm

  11. Hi, Geff here. The zipper sure did a number on me! I sure love the zipper. I was a single rider so I was paired with a nice lady who undid my zipper later if you know what I mean ;^). -Gephroy

    Jeph - May 16th, 2017 at 8:40 am

  12. I love when I get my zipper undone because I gave a fabulous zipper ride!! Lol! The ZIPPER is still killing the Midway!

    zipper queen - May 19th, 2017 at 7:18 pm

  13. hey zipper queef

    zipper king - May 24th, 2017 at 3:41 pm

  14. WOW jeophree you are one crazy single rider!

    zip dad - May 29th, 2017 at 5:26 am

  15. The worst thing is, in America, going out alone makes you look like a loser to others, and you stay alone.

    If you especially are a guy and you are by yourself especially because you have no friends, the people in the cliques are literally; “Ah ha! Rapist! Sex predator! Pedophile! Serial killer! Kidnapper! Child molester! Where there’s smoke, there’s fire!”

    Zipper King - May 29th, 2017 at 3:59 pm

  16. Gephroy.

    Over 99.9 percent of Zipper enthusiasts are toxic, hateful, spoiled little 14 year olds who will complain and whose dad will smash your face right in for asking his son or daughter if you can go on the Zipper with them. Or complain to the police and have you staring down a sentence of even 6,000 years to life in Federal prison and a requirement to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. And again I tell you; in America, God Himself could never pair especially a grown male single rider up with one of those toxic, spoiled teenagers to go on the Zipper.

    Zipper King - May 29th, 2017 at 4:13 pm

  17. Fuck all you crazy bastard’s that continue to bitch about single riders. It’s not even gonna change. FROM DAY ONE ALWAYS NO SINGLE RIDER POLICY PN THE ZIPPER

    Zipper queen - June 22nd, 2017 at 4:36 pm

  18. Hey, how is everyone doing today. It’s a great day to be alive and enjoy the best Carnival ride invented by Man. ZIPPER!!! BEST FUCKING RIDE EVER!

    Zipper queen - July 8th, 2017 at 2:02 am

  19. Zipper Queen, one thing that really irritates me is when you post like “No Single Riders” was FBI enforced from day one, like even in 1970, ride operators who let single riders on were immediately arrested, investigated by the FBI, and faced even 6,000 consecutive life sentences in Federal prison and/or the death penalty! Like you even pipe dream that single riders even in 1970 who tried to get in line were immediately taken out by a missile/RPG attack and immediate Martial law declared!

    Zipper King - July 10th, 2017 at 4:00 pm

  20. Like in other words; From day one, Always No Single Riders, FBI and military enforced! Violators will be charged with a capital felony under Federal law and will face up to 6,000 consecutive life sentences in prison and/or the death penalty. Use of immediate maximum lethal force authorized and recommended. Immediate full nationwide military lockdown and Martial law will occur.

    Zipper King - July 10th, 2017 at 4:05 pm

  21. Zipper King, I think you are alittle touched in the head!SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP

    Zipper queen - July 13th, 2017 at 5:30 am

  22. The no single rider policy was always recommend

    Zipper queen - July 13th, 2017 at 5:31 am

  23. I LOVE THE ZIPPER!!!! Big Problem though, I cant to seem to find to find it this year!! I promised my son that when he was big enough we’d ride it. I live in Youngstown,OH, PLEASE HELP ME find the “BEST RIDE EVER”, the ZIPPER!!!!

    Virginia Skarada - August 3rd, 2017 at 8:18 am

  24. I’m a complete theme park enthusiast. I’ve been to many of the biggest amusement parks across the US. The Disney parks, Cedar Point, many of Six Flags’ parks, but no ride or coaster has ever topped the Zipper. Randomized Chaos is exactly what the Zipper is.

    Michael Ackman - August 23rd, 2017 at 7:21 am

  25. No zippwer at the cne this yeaR. VERY DISAPPOINTED. WILL NOT BE GOING.

    barb - August 31st, 2017 at 9:59 am

  26. I am a 69 yr old guy and was truly disappointed when I heard the Zipper is discontinued. It is simply the best midway thrill ever invented. Why can it not be re-engineered to make sure no accidents can happen? Surely doable in this modern age of technology we live in. If it does not come back there is no reason to attend a midway anymore for me.

    William Jeffrey - September 24th, 2017 at 7:17 am

  27. William, The Zipper has not been discontinued, and probably never will be. It’s too classic.

    Terra Verso - October 22nd, 2017 at 6:53 pm

  28. I’m looking for some info. on the Chance Zipper. Does anybody know any of the following: 1. the name of the original boom bull wheel rim drive the early zippers had and the 2 chain/sprocket boom drives on later models (one shaped like a 6 pointed star and the current one with open circles around it). 2. the name of all 3 different center light designs on the zipper. i think they are starburst, diamond, and arrow. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks

    Chris - November 4th, 2017 at 3:22 am

  29. The Zipper SHOULD be discontinued; in fact Chance Rides Inc itself needs to be discontinued. Chance employees will do a lot better in the Fast Food industry. We don’t want them spreading their toxic hatred of single persons all over the already toxic country (America), especially where, if a person breaks under the stress of isolation, he is quarantined further, institutionalized, and put on drugs.

    Get rid of the Zipper! Replace it with the Rock-O-Plane, which is manufactured by Eyerly Aircraft, Company and does NOT have “No Single Riders” written all over it.

    Unproud American - December 1st, 2017 at 5:13 am

  30. Rants against the “No Single Riders” policy for the Zipper are actually more likely to result in shootings and homicides directed at single persons at American carnivals than anything. And immediately after that will come metal detectors, X-ray machines, and armed military personnell at the entrances to every American carnival and fair, and possibly even a zero tolerance policy towards single persons or even groups of less than 6 people. American culture caters only to cliques and families, and in America, single/lone persons are put essentially in the same class as homeless beggars. In America, like homeless people, single/lone people have no rights and are not even wanted in the community. In America, if you are by yourself, you are labeled a loser who is basically worthy of death. And oftentimes, when an isolated person, especially a guy, commits suicide, Americans clap and applaud as if to a touchdown during the Superbowl. To Americans, suicides are more entertaining than a hundred rides on the Zipper.

    And that is why Americans will continue to flock to the Zipper with their noses pointed skyward as they coldly trample the singles population to death, chanting “Singles are losers!” and even “Death to single losers!” as they enjoy their ride.

    Prince John - February 6th, 2018 at 5:29 am

  31. i just came here to read about this ride’s history and the comments section is more entertaining i have no idea what any of y’all are goin on about with the whole gunning people down and single riders thing but i hope you’re having a good ass time

    confused but amused - April 24th, 2018 at 10:21 am

  32. zipper is fun. deal with it fuckers

    da fuk - June 7th, 2018 at 9:24 am

  33. i’m so fucking confused at this entire comment section. i agree with confused but amused, this is probably the weirdest but most entertaining thing i’ve seen today.

    who did this - June 21st, 2018 at 9:13 pm

  34. wtf is this comment section lmao. “oh the zipper will cause mass shootings” what the actual… lmao I’m confused but slightly amused.

    what - July 4th, 2018 at 2:58 pm

  35. Im an old school Zipper fan, its nice that you created a web site for the Zipper, it gives Zipper enthusiast’s a way to stay in touch with the carnival ride industry. Thank You Craig W.

    Craig Wheelwright - July 16th, 2018 at 4:25 pm

  36. HAHA what is this why are people getting heated over a carnival ride..

    angeIa - August 26th, 2018 at 2:52 pm

  37. I personally have ridden as a single rider on the Zipper before and can easily tell everyone from my personal experience that a single rider 60 inches or taller can never turn sideways inside the gondolas and slip out from under the lap bar.

    Zipper King - September 13th, 2018 at 5:41 pm

  38. What if I told you that “No Single Riders” is actually for crowd control? What if I told you that, if they let single riders on, every single Zipper at every county and state fair would have lines stretching up to a quarter mile long, and those lines would block pedestrian traffic trying to go to different areas of the fair, plus the fair would quickly exceed it’s maximum legal safe capacity due to massive, impenetrable crowds that want to go on the Zipper. And they don’t set up single riders waiting areas or secondary lines for single riders for that exact reason. They know that the vast majority of Americans have no friends. And so to cut down the crowds and to prevent overcrowding of carnivals and fairs, they discriminate against single people and only serve families and cliques.

    Morpheus - March 11th, 2019 at 3:29 pm

  39. My best friend David Irwin and I did 36 consecutive flips on the Zipper at the Desert Empire fair in Ridgecrest, CA. back in 1989!!! That car we were in spun from start to finish!! TRY TO TOP THAT!!

    Roger Green - June 7th, 2019 at 6:41 am

  40. Crazy about the whole single riders because I have in fact rode this ride by myself more than once? That’s crazy!

    Braylon - July 16th, 2019 at 1:00 pm

  41. The no single riders policy definitely didn’t make it to Australia because I’ve been able to get onto multiple zippers on my own haha. Don’t think it’s possible I could’ve come loose honestly

    Lewis - August 14th, 2019 at 11:46 pm

  42. In America, going out alone makes you look like a worthless loser basically worthy of immediate death, and you stay alone. And in a rapidly growing number of expanding areas in America, if you are a man, going out alone actually makes you look like a massacre/mass shooting suspect; yes, even a terrorist! And that is why Americans in cliques will call the police on any single male rider that wants to go on the Zipper. There are even rumors circulating of a ride operator at a Greek fest in Fort Myers, Florida that smashed a single rider in the nose, hurling him backwards. Mark my words! Before long, American Zipper operators will come heavily armed with guns and will shoot and kill any male single rider they see in line or any unaccompanied man they see within less than 100 feet of the Zipper, and then use “Stand Your Ground” to defend their actions.

    happierabroad - August 17th, 2019 at 4:05 pm

  43. America herself caters only to families and cliques. She prunes, weeds out, destroys, and discards all single, unaccompanied, and less popular people. In America, it’s survival of the fittest and most popular. If you don’t fit in, America wants you out of sight and out of mind. Snap under the strain, and America institutionalizes you and puts you on drugs. And “No Single Riders” for the Zipper is one of the main ways America makes sure that only popular people that fit in have fun.

    Karl Marx - August 25th, 2019 at 3:04 pm

  44. hey buddy i cant answer the phone tight now

    Luke skywalker - September 17th, 2019 at 8:50 am

  45. hey buddy i miss you too

    Luke skywalker - September 17th, 2019 at 8:50 am

  46. In 1983 I signed with Bill Dillard operater of the ZIPPER. Best ride second was the supper loop with the top pin

    Show must go on - September 27th, 2019 at 1:55 pm

  47. “No Single Riders” IS NOT about safety. It IS NOT about balance. I saw two riders in one gondola of the Zipper at the Fair at Fenway South near Fort Myers, Florida. One gondola with two riders, all 11 others empty. And the ride ran like a champion.

    And it was the new Zipper with the horseshoe restraints, owned by Wade Shows, perfectly safe for single riders due to the horseshoe restraints, and yet still with “No Single Riders” written all over it.

    “No Single Riders” clearly is to tell people, especially guys, who have no friends; “Go back to your mom’s basement you worthless loser, or we’ll send you straight to Pelican Bay!”

    Saturn - December 4th, 2019 at 3:15 pm

  48. The Zipper was not always “No Single Riders.” Up until maybe 2006 or 2007, the decision to enforce “No Single Riders” was left to individual ride operators. But around 2006 and 2007, the insurance companies began ordering “No Single Riders” enforced like police law nationwide, and no Zipper in the United States of America has allowed single riders on since 2008.

    Zipper King - December 4th, 2019 at 3:32 pm

  49. this argument has been going on for 3 whole years?!

    Emily - May 28th, 2020 at 6:34 am

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