Cache Valley and amusement ride icon Stan Checketts passes away

Stan Checketts

PROVIDENCE – Cache Valley and the world lost an icon in the thrill ride industry on January 2, 2022 when Stan Checketts passed away. Checketts was 80 years old and was known as an entrepreneur, thrill seeker and outdoorsman. According to his obituary, Checketts passed away peacefully at his home in Providence.

According to his obituary, a Celebration of Life will be held at the Checketts’ personal Recreation Center located at 805 Canyon Road in Providence on Thursday, January 6th. Friends and relatives are encouraged to stop by any time between 2-5 p.m. to share favorite memories, photos, stories or more. Parking is limited so car pooling is encouraged.

Checketts was known around the world for his thrill rides, from bungee towers to vertical thrill rides to zip lines. Rides that Checketts designed can be found in 28 countries around the world. Checketts and his wife Sandy founded S&S Sports in 1994 and began manufacturing bungee jumping and trampoline equipment. The free-standing bungee towers were the first of their kind. The company also built a first-of-its kind trampoline that incorporated bungee towers on the side and the creations are seen at street fairs and amusement parks worldwide.

Soon after, Checketts invented the use of pneumatic power for vertical thrill rides to launch riders without the slow momentum of a hill. Perhaps the most notable of these rides is Big Shot atop the Stratosphere in Las Vegas. In 1997 Stan was named the Entrepreneur of the Year by USA Today.

“As the first tower rides were installed at various amusement parks, he made it a practice to stand on top of the towers at the grand openings,” his obituary reads.

According to a website dedicated to accomplishments, Checketts’ rides broke multiple records and are still listed in the Guiness Book of World Records for height and speed, as that same air-power concept was used to propel riders and has become a staple in the amusement industry.

Checketts later opened the Celebration Centre in 2006 in Logan to provide opportunities for families in Cache Valley to experience some of his creations. It was also used as a venue to debut new thrill ride concepts. One of Checketts’ newer thrill rides was the Soaring Eagle Zipline, a first-of-its-kind zip line concept that easily brought riders back to the starting platform.

Besides creating thrills for millions of others around the world, Checketts himself was an adventurer who loved to snowmobile and hike in the outdoors.

“Stan was an adventurer and enjoyed climbing the highest peaks he could while snowmobiling,” his obituary continues. “He loved spending time with family and friends at his cabin in the mountains. He was excited this past summer to build a yurt for his family to enjoy as well. Stan and Sandy did everything together, whether it was working or playing. They enjoyed traveling around the world and close to home, as long as they were together.”

Checketts annually created a warming hut in Providence Canyon that was open to anyone needing a break from the snow and the cold.

Checketts also served in several different leadership capacities within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, usually with youth and young adults.

Stan will be laid to rest in the Providence Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that contributions be made instead to Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Charities.

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