Written by Klaire Howerton
Posted by Mark Ruda
Vigilante Extreme ZipRider at Shepherd of the Hills
Poised at the edge of nearly two hundred foot drop, you peer over the edge and feel your stomach plummet. Suddenly you are thrust forward and you find yourself screaming at the top of your lungs as you fly over the treetops of the Ozarks. The wind whips tears from your eyes as you soar at speeds of fifty miles per hour, while below you can see trails, barns and the occasional donkey. You feel like a free bird! How can you experience this feeling of flight? By riding the Vigilante Extreme ZipRider at Shepherd of the Hills! Get ready to hold on to your stomach and experience a view of the one hundred-sixty acre homestead and beyond that is like no other.
The Vigilante ZipRider was named with historical significance in mind. The Shepherd of the Hills Historic Homestead was once a place in the Ozarks where a group of vigilantes known as the Baldknobbers passed through during the 1800s. The Baldknobbers were originally formed as a means of protection against lawlessness in the Ozarks – but like so many other vigilante groups, the Baldknobbers turned bad, and used their vigilante status to protect their own interests, which ranged from bank robberies to murder. The Baldknobbers played a pivotal role in the Shepherd of the Hills book, written by Harold Bell Wright and published in 1907. With this in mind, when the ZipRider was opened in 2010, it was named the Vigilante Extreme ZipRider to pay homage to that unique part of Shepherd of the Hills history.
The Vigilante ZipRider launches from the top of the Inspiration Tower – this particular zipline has the highest launch station of any ZipRider in the world! There are four ziplines that all launch from the same station, making this zipline a perfect choice for groups. Riders sit in a special harness that somewhat resembles a large carseat – it is designed to adjust and fit to any rider from seventy-five pounds to two hundred seventy-five pounds. Unlike most ziplines, the Vigilante ZipRider does not require an orientation course. Riders are simply strapped into the harness by a trained attendant, the launch pad gates are opened and the riders fly off! There is no self-braking or self-speed adjustment made by the riders – the sloped cables themselves will get riders up to speeds of fifty miles per hour! And just like other ZipRiders, the Vigilante Extreme ZipRider sports a patented ZipRider trolley, which enters a terminal brake acceptor at the end of the ride that brings passengers to a stop. The brake acceptor resembles a coiled spring wrapped around the zipline cable – when the trolley enters the acceptor, the ‘spring’ pushes together, creating a resistance that brings the rider to a stop. At the end of the half mile long ride, another trained attendant will help you out of your harness and off you go! The combination of the unique harness and the patented brake make for a worry-free, no responsibilities ride! And don’t forget that Shepherd of the Hills offers discounts on re-rides.
The Vigilante ZipRider is open year round weather permitting – no matter what the season, folks of all ages love flying over the homestead! Calling ahead and making reservations can help reduce wait times during peak periods, but they are not required. If there does happen to be a long wait, make yourself comfortable and enjoy the view from the Tower! It’s sure to keep you entertained while you wait your turn. So if you’re ready to fly like an eagle and see the Shepherd of the Hills Historic Homestead like never before, come ride the Vigilante Extreme ZipRider! It will certainly be a ride to remember.