Walking Huron’s Water Rides

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The death of a boy in Kansas on what’s being called the world’s largest water slide is raising safety awareness at water parks across the country, including here in South Dakota.  

Safety inspections have always been part of the daily routine at Huron’s Splash Central.

The city-run park features two water rides: the 45-foot high Master Blaster tube and a body slide.  With hundreds of young swimmers and tubers going down the slides every week, it’s important to keep these rides ship-shape. 

You have to be part daredevil and part mountaineer to take a high-altitude hike through Splash Central’s two water rides.

“It was pretty slick this morning and a lot of it is uphill and there’s a lot of dips, it’s all dark and enclosed in there,”  Pool Supervisor Jacey Hupp said.

You never know just what you’ll encounter walking the slide.

“Well, I got a lot of crickets and spiders that greet me every morning doing it, it gets pretty hot, but it could be worse,” Hupp said.

One inspection two weeks ago even turned up a baby rabbit.  Only the inspectors aren’t hunting for critters – they’re on the lookout for structural problems such as cracks or loose screws that might endanger tubers.

“Our number-one priority is making sure our patrons are always safe when they come to our facility and if we’re not walking our slide, we’re unsure of what possibly could have gone on when our facility is closed,” Park Manager Kileey Griebel said.

The water slide tragedy in Kansas is on the staff’s mind, but they’re confident in their daily inspections.

“With the incident that happened in Kansas, it makes you a little more cautious of everything that you’re doing and certainly accidents happen, but you try to do your best to prevent any injuries from happening,” Griebel said.

The water park also posts safety rules for the Master Blaster.  Only two people, at most, can go down at a time and kids under four feet are not allowed in the Master Blaster.  The kids also have to keep their arms and hands tucked inside, all the time.

A lifeguard signals to the top that tubers have safely made it to the bottom and it’s time for the next ones to snake their way through the Master Blaster, for another splash of summer.

All the inspections are done in the morning, so if there are problems, they usually can be fixed before the park opens at noon.

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