04/23/2013 05:05 pm ET | Updated Apr 23, 2013

Clinton Shepherd Ferris Wheel Record: Local Man Wants To Shatter World Record With 48-Hour Ride


Clinton Shepherd hopes he can shatter a world record by making his endeavor a very Chicago-centric affair.

The 32-year-old South Sider wants to set a Guinness World Record for “Longest Marathon on a Fairground/Theme Attraction,” the Sun-Times reports. Shepherd will set out to break the record on May 17 atop the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier where he plans to begin his marathon at 2:30 p.m. and ride for 48 hours straight.

The record is currently held by Canadian radio personality Robbie "The Intern" Gibson who spent 30 hours and 35 seconds on a Ferris wheel at the Capital Ex in Edmonton, Alberta, on July 25, 2012, according to Guinness.

Shepherd told the Sun-Times Tuesday just why he wants the record for the Windy City: “Our Ferris wheel is modeled after the first Ferris wheel done by George W. Ferris. That’s why I want [Chicago] to have this title.”

Indeed, Ferris — a native of Galesburg in western Illinois — first conceived of the "observation wheel" as a way for his home state to outdo the previously-unveiled Eiffel Tower at the Paris Exhibition of 1889 in time for Chicago's World's Columbian Exhibition of 1893.

(Read more about the history of the Ferris Wheel at the World's Columbian Exhibition of 1893 via the Hyde Park Historical Society.)

When Shepherd embarks on the record-breaking challenge, Guinness rules state he's entitled to a five-minute break every hour but is not allowed to sleep — exceptions that prompted the Tribune's Eric Zorn to pooh-pooh the endeavor.

"My fancy is not captured," Zorn wrote Tuesday. "The Navy Pier ferris wheel is the tamest ride in all of amusement-dom. The five-minute break every hour eliminates any, um, drama or endurance issues and it's basically an attempt to stay awake for two whole days [...]."

If Shepherd succeeds at his goal, his effort will rank among other Chicago-based Guinness World Records that include one for The Most People Wearing Groucho Marx Glasses (set in '09 during a Movies in the Park screening of "Duck Soup") and The Most Unused Concert Tickets Bought By An Individual.


Amazing World Records