COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN
Charlene Cheyne waits for customers at a booth in the Manitoba Summer Fair,.
The Manitoba Summer Fair is into its last two days. In this column we have talked about the foods that are dangerous to your health, but too tasty to resist, and the rides that will make you sick and scare you to death.
Now we move to the area I know best — next to the food of course. And that is the Carnival Games. I know so much about the games because, as you read last week, I’m not good on the rides.
So fortunately there was a place to spend most of my time at the fair instead of hurling onto onlookers below, and that place was in front of a carny, handing him my hard-earned money. In return, I would best get a Whitesnake mirror, Jamaican Flag, or a stuffed toy that was never as soft as the toys in the store. The super huge giant panda, the minibike, and the electric scooter, all eluded me, and they do to this day.
Read and implement these cheating tactics carefully, but keep this in mind: I’ve never won anything big. However I’ve played all these games and after a certain point of blowing $500 on a game to win a $75 prize, even carnies have souls. Most feel sorry for me and at least teach me the house advantage.
In turn, I pass this information along to you, just in time for the final two days of the Summer Fair.
Rule One: Try to play games in which you compete against other players. Think poker room at a casino. The midway is just taking a little off the top by paying out prizes worth slightly less than the entry fee. Ten kids paying $2 a round means you can get a $10 prize and still make $10. This is why the more people competing, the bigger the prize. This is usually a water cannon target game of some kind.
When you play, wait until the field has enough players to fetch larger prizes. Your chances of winning go down but you can score big when you do. Watch which cannon seems to shoot water out the fastest. The water pressure won’t be the same on every gun, so find the gun that seems to have the greatest pressure and use it.
The only exception to this carnival rule is the game where someone has to guess your weight, age, or month of your birthday. The game is still in favour of Mr or Ms. Carny, because each prize is going to be less than the cost of playing the game, but you can still leave feeling like a winner when they guess incorrectly. I love this one, because as a "heavy guy" they are always careful not to make me angry or hurt my feelings. So I always win, but again the prize is worth less than I paid, but I don’t care. I’m lighter to the carny AND I won a prize! Win-win!
@15.6.2 sat tab turn cont:<t-4z11f$>Games To Be
• Basketball: You’re not in high school anymore. You’re trying to sink a basketball shot with the rim that’s much farther away. A regulation basketball rim is twice the size of a regulation basketball. A carnival basketball rim is certainly not. Sometimes the ball will be overinflated, so it’ll bounce off the rim more easily. Ask the carny to sink a shot before playing to make sure it can actually go in.
• Darts: This is not your tavern dart game. Pop a balloon tied to a board. Often the balloons are not fully inflated, and sometimes the darts are dull. Sometimes they may be more heavily weighted on the tip. The trick here is to give the dart more arc, rather than a direct shot, because the arc will help the tip catch the balloon.
• Shooting Out A Star: Sure you’ve dropped a deer, but this is different. This automatic rifle/machine gun shoots out a red star on a white piece of paper. Here’s the secret the midway won’t tell you: the only way to beat this game is to shoot a circle around the star have it fall out. Remember, any bit of paint that's still on any piece of that paper will make you a loser.
• Bottle Throw: These are not ordinary bottles. They’re stacked in a pyramid and you have to knock them over with one throw. The secret is to aim at the base of the lowest level because the bottles are heavy (often made of a concrete like substance) and not equally weighted. The ones at the base are usually heavier and their weight is distributed to be heavier at the base, so they are harder to knock down. Aim at the base.
• Plastic Ring Toss: This is almost impossible. Small plastic rings are tossed onto rows of bottles as you, try to get a ring to land around the neck of one. Most times, a carny will give you 20 rings for $5. Sounds like a good deal and the game usually has some large prizes. This carnival game is almost impossible, and as almost based entirely by luck. However, when I have seen people win, the spin the rings very quickly, like a Frisbee. Apparently the spin gives the ring some stability in landing horizontally onto the neck of a bottle.
• Softball in Milk Can: These are not ordinary milk jugs. You want to get a softball through the mouth of a milk can. The problem is, the cans are always off the ground a few feet so you can't see right into the opening. A closer look shows the opening of the can is smaller than the outer rim. Good idea if you don’t want to spill milk from you can, but not good if you want to toss a softball into it.
• Smash Beer Bottle or Plate: These games are loud and if you’re not paying attention, they can scare the hell outta you. That’s because of the loud smashing noise made by balls hitting a metal sheet behind the smash the bottles. The plates and bottles are placed inside two pieces of a wood shelf, on an angle, again tipping the advantage to the house. If you hit the plate or bottle directly, there is a very good chance, you ball will simply bounce off. Like the darts secret, it’s best to come at this game at an angle.
• Softball in Apple Basket: Invest in mini donuts for better return. I buy three softballs, throw the first one in and it bounces out. I throw the next one and it bounces out again. This is where the guy who took my money steps in and says, "No, toss it in gently ... like this!" Of course he's standing next to the basket off to the side, and he puts a little backspin on it. At this point there is now one softball in there so when I toss my last ball, it hits the one already in there. This deadens the bounce, and it stays in. Now the guy who took my money says, "See! What did I tell you?" He doesn't tell me it was his ball that helped mine stay in, so out comes the balls from the basket and more money from my wallet.
At the end of the day, the midway games are like a casino. Only instead of winning money, you win stuff that will end up in your yard sale in five years. Problem is, the pressure of winning your sweetie something is intense, and the games at first glance look easy. But remember, in a casino, advantage always goes to the house. Or in this case the "house trailer".
After all, the carnies pull out tomorrow, and will stop in another city in just a few days, hoping others will also take a chance at winning the big purple panda or the Def Leopard Mirror. Just be happy with your tiny win. After all, it’s not size that matters, it’s the $450 you spent on your sweetie to win the little guy.
Joke This Week
A man and woman meet in a bar and eventually go back to her apartment. She leads him into her bedroom. The man is startled to see that one wall is full of shelves. On each shelf there and numerous stuffed animals. All sizes, shapes and colours. Hundreds and hundreds of stuffed toys.
Initially a bit shocked and curious, the man forgot about the bizarre collection and pursued the woman. After an evening of wine and talking, they ended the night in the "throes of passion".
When they finished the man looks at the woman and smiles. He asks, "Well, how was I as a lover?"
She says, "well you can pick anything from the bottom shelf."
- Debbie Martin
- Dustin Larsen
- Melissa Payette
- Michael Lawrence
- Lisa Anne Ediger
- Eroca Theylon
- Candice Tennice-Anne Campbell
- Buffy Maxwell
- Lisa Anne Ediger
- Melissa Payette
- Carol Patelakis-Gibson
- Troy Kimball
- Kristine McLellan
- Taneal Semeniuk
- Kristen Dickson
- Diane Runions Eastcott
- Kevin Hollyoake
- Ken Wakefield
- Chris Jaster
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 9, 2012