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Zip line rides bring smiles to young and old alike
Dawn and Roy McGraw of Rumford start down the demo dual zip line as Tosio Hashimoto methodically bangs on his taiko drums. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)
Sisters Michelle and Heather Boutin of Standish enjoy their first-ever zip line ride. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)
RUMFORD -- "Wahoo! What a ride!"
That statement, or something like it, was yelled out on a number of the 263 rides made on the 500-foot demo dual zip lines put by Envision Rumford! on the Fourth of July.
While rain canceled the fireworks and the rest of the activities later in the day, the zip line activity started at high noon following showers. About an hour into the event, as activity picked up with people signing up to zip line, people began to gather at the edge of the Hannaford parking lot to watch the fun.
As the zipliners made their way from the staging with the American flag on it on the banking near Hannaford, Tosio Hashimoto, was set up on the ground "drumming up support" by methodically banging on his taiko drums. He said he was doing this for his old friend, Jim Sysko, an engineer from Newry who made his own 5,000-foot zip line and who made this temporary one.
Every so often, a spectator or a past zipliner would bang one drum while Hashimoto hit the other.
The zip lines were launched on the banking beyond the third base line of the baseball field, running to just before the rightfield fence. When not in use, the half-inch cables were at least 30 feet above the ball field over home plate and 10 feet up as they passed over the right field fence near the foul pole.
Two town trucks, loaded with sand, acted as anchors for the zip line. The trucks were blocked, with the battery cables removed.
Harnesses, trolleys (pulleys) and helmets were provided for the riders. It was noted that the harnesses were generously loaned to the group by the Wiscasset business Monkey See, Monkey Do.
One of the first ones to make a zip line trip were Bill Buotte and Nancy Hotham, who came down the same time on different lines.
For Buotte, this was his time. He had a good time but said he wished it had been longer. "Now that I've had a taste of it, I think I'll try the one at Sunday River now."
Hotham, who said she has done other zip line trips in the past, said about this trip, "I loved it!"
One couple, Roy and Dawn McGraw of Rumford, read about the possibility of this zip line coming here a couple of months ago in the Times. So they were down here to try it.
"It was nice. Wish it was longer," noted Roy.
"We should have held hands on the way down," added Dawn.
A short while later, two other people did hold hands on their zip line trip.
One little girl tried it and had such a good time, she went again. "I want to go again!" she said after the second trip.
Her parent quickly responded, "Let someone else have a try."
Teen sisters Michelle and Heather Boutin of Standish, whose parents have a camp in the area, showed their enthusiasm as they zipped down for the first time.
"It was fun! Awesome," they said. One of them was then heard saying to her parents, "You should try it. It doesn't hurt!"
A short while later, their parents did, as did other members of their party. The sisters were seen taking a second trip a short while later.
There was even an effort to try to send down a chocolate lab, but the owner gave up on the idea when it was learned they couldn't get the harnesses on securely to the dog.
According to committee member Jennifer Kreckel, there were 263 rides, which included $1,315 for ticket sales and $220 for zip line t-shirt sales.
Envision Rumford! was launched last September to increase business in Rumford, especially on “the Island.” Among their projects is working to establish permanent zip lines in Rumford.