Navy Pier staffer’s 48-hour Ferris wheel ride breaks Guinness record
BY LEEANN SHELTON Staff Reporter May 19, 2013 9:50PM
Updated: June 21, 2013 6:35AM
It didn’t seem right to Clinton Shepherd that the birthplace of the Ferris wheel didn’t hold the record for the longest Ferris wheel ride.
“I thought Chicago should have that title,” he said Sunday, after spending a record-shattering 48 hours, 8 minutes and 25 seconds awake riding the pier’s iconic attraction.
Shepherd, Navy Pier’s operations manager, sought to bring the record home after he saw an article about the previous Guinness Record — a 25-hour spin at California’s Santa Monica Pier.
In a gondola outfitted with a big-screen TV, Shepherd stayed alert playing hours of videogames — mostly Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 — with Chicago friends and gamers around the world on an Xbox Live account dedicated to breaking the record.
A marathon of James Bond and Batman movies kept him entertained too, and a steady stream of water and Mountain Dew Kickstart helped him stave off sleep, he said.
Guinness allowed him one five-minute break an hour, and local restaurants from the pier to Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse brought food for him throughout the ride, Navy Pier spokeswoman Suzi Groetsmasaid.
“It was a very overwhelming experience,” said Shepherd, whose girlfriend and mother greeted him with a hug after he finished.
“Once I realized Navy Pier, my friends, my family and the city of Chicago had my back and wanted me to complete this, it became easy,” he said. “I was thrilled and honored to be able to have all the love and support I did.
Navy Pier’s Ferris wheel is modeled after the first Ferris wheel, designed by George W. Ferris for the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.