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Inside the Demise of the Record-Breaking Coaster That Went Too Far

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As I posted a few days earlier, excellent article on a very intriguing and innovative Y2K coaster... lately, I've been thinking about any operational wooden coasters that are similar to SOB in some way, which is why I'm looking forward to riding Boss! :D

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I love that photo of Son of Beast with the tower framed within the loop. It's so iconic. Do we know who took it? Was Don our PR guy back then?

Looks like it was David Mandt at the time: http://www.enquirer.com/editions/1999/08/26/loc_kings_island_taking.html - mentioned as KI spokesperson in 1999

Further research indicates he later went on to a similar role at Carowinds in 2003, then VP of Communications for the IAAPA in 2006.

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And some of us were asleep or we would have told 'ya.

David's awesome. Every time HW refers to its own PR person as a deity, I cringe. (Note that would have NEVER happened when a Presbyterian minister and former nun graced the park management.)

David was not and is not a self-aggrandizer. He quietly went about his business as the supreme, confident. competent, humble, highly respected professional he was and is. The media love, adore and respect David Mandt. He's awesome.

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Thanks for posting this! As with the Tomb Raider article, it seems like the Son of Beast piece is doing really well and earning a lot of discussion and comments on social media, which is really what I'm in it for. Great to hear people's stories, to see friends reminiscing, and see strangers agreeing. All good stuff! 

 

An interesting story for a very interesting ride that probably is unlike anything we'll see again. 

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It's definitely interesting that few coasters these days even come close to the stats of Son of Beast. Interestingly enough, the only currently-operating coaster that comes close to matching Son of Beast in terms of height, speed and length opened just one year later at Heide Park in Germany and was built by Intamin. Colossos is 197 feet tall, has a top speed of 68.4mph and a length of a little over 4400 feet. Even then, nobody else has dared to go higher or faster.

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And some of us were asleep or we would have told 'ya.

David's awesome. Every time HW refers to its own PR person as a deity, I cringe. (Note that would have NEVER happened when a Presbyterian minister and former nun graced the park management.)

David was not and is not a self-aggrandizer. He quietly went about his business as the supreme, confident. competent, humble, highly respected professional he was and is. The media love, adore and respect David Mandt. He's awesome.

Quite a different person from the current PR person for Carowinds(Larissa Thompson), both my wife and I have met her.....

I have personally met most of the Carowinds PR people since Scott Anderson took over, Larissa was very rude to both of us, in the park. Another reason why my fansite has shifted away from Carowinds.

 

I'm wondering what the situation was in which you met Larissa.  That's not at all what I would have expected.  I'm just going to come out and ask it - was it media day for Fury?  I have heard things about how the enthusiasts were acting...

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It was C3(Cannon Coaster Classic), I was waiting to talk to the Rides Manager for Carowinds, I had permission from the Rides Manager to wait for him. Carowinds General Manager was aware of this also, Larissa was assistant that I leave the area as the park was closed. Carowinds Security Guards were ok with me waiting for Rides Manager, Larissa was not. She made no effort to verify why I was waiting or anything, just "Park is closed, go home. You can call him later." She even wanted to run my family off while I was still on Thunder Road. Again Carowinds Security was more understanding, patient and even helpful.

Just my personal opinion, maybe one day in the future I will have another chance to form a positive opinion.

I didn't attend Media Day for Fury, other coaster Enthusists behavior at C3 have turned off my wife from ACE events.

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It's definitely interesting that few coasters these days even come close to the stats of Son of Beast. Interestingly enough, the only currently-operating coaster that comes close to matching Son of Beast in terms of height, speed and length opened just one year later at Heide Park in Germany and was built by Intamin. Colossos is 197 feet tall, has a top speed of 68.4mph and a length of a little over 4400 feet. Even then, nobody else has dared to go higher or faster.

 

If wooden coasters were given literally just another year or two to mature, who's to say what Son of Beast could've been? It also would've required that Paramount Parks was willing to pay premium prices for Intamin's product, and that Intamin would've had any interest in designing and building Son of Beast to begin with.

 

Worth noting is that while Colossos is now the tallest wooden roller coaster in the world (197 feet tall), its actual drop is quite a bit shorter (159 feet).

 

El Toro is not physically as tall as Colossos (181 feet) but it drops further (176 feet). So El Toro is taller than Colossos depending on how you're defining your categories, and it's definitely faster.

 

Goliath at Great America is the shortest (in terms of height) of all three (165 feet) but it has the largest drop of all three (180 feet). That said, I'm so confused about what we group into the "wooden" category anymore that I don't know if that's worth counting or not. If rides like Goliath count at wooden coasters, then Colossos will be the 6th tallest in terms of drop when Lightning Rod opens at Dollywood and RMC's Wildfire opens in Sweden this year.

 

It makes you wonder which matters more: the physical height that the ride reaches, or its greatest single elevation change? Of course, that and the "is it really wooden" argument are all arbitrary classifications anyway. 

 

Neither here nor there, but interesting stuff.

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I really enjoyed SOB when it first opened but even then it felt that the pacing (I didn't know this word at the time) get off. The whole ride felt like it was a race to the finish. And maybe with that height there was no way to burn off speed and energy efficiently. I remember the feeling of coming out of the first helix into the straight a (brief?) tap of the brakes and then going down into the loop and back into a helix. That's the only part of the ride that felt real good. The rest felt like the train was going to fast to enjoy anything.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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The only 3 times I rode it were exactly 3 days before SoB shut down for good. It's crazy to think that the final factor in closing the ride (May 31st) happened before I rode it (June 13th). Son of Beast was a mean ride, rough, fast, and all around great ride. I wish I would've ridden it sooner, but I'm glad I did get the chance to ride.

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I really enjoyed SOB when it first opened but even then it felt that the pacing (I didn't know this word at the time) get off. The whole ride felt like it was a race to the finish. And maybe with that height there was no way to burn off speed and energy efficiently. I remember the feeling of coming out of the first helix into the straight a (brief?) tap of the brakes and then going down into the loop and back into a helix. That's the only part of the ride that felt real good. The rest felt like the train was going to fast to enjoy anything.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Which is odd since you'd think that a 200+ ft coaster that was also the 2nd longest wooden coaster in the world (only a few hundred feet short of his father) would burn off momentum properly.  I remember it flying into the final brakes despite said brakes being on top of a 55+ ft hill.  I think the Premier designed trains had something to do with it since after they switched to the Gerstlauer trains, the pacing seemed more adequate (though it also felt like it would stall on the 2nd hill).  

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There is a tendency to forget about the court case where the park was found to have been negligent in the operation and maintenance of the ride, resulting in injury to the plaintiff. After that verdict, and before the punitive damages phase, the case was quietly settled out of court on confidential terms...

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I loved it when it was new. But after a couple of years it was becoming unbearable. The second helix literally beat the poo poo out of you. I think early 2008 was the last time I rode it. After getting off and having a bloody nose, I thought "that's it, I'm done with this ride"  

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Literally?

 

Oh man...

 

There's only one coaster I've ever gotten off of and said "Never again." And this time, I Mean it. 

 

That being said, I am, at 24, different than I was at 18. For all I know, a ride on Son of Beast today might be too much for me. Especially with wooden roller coasters, I find myself asking, "Is it getting older, or am I? Or both?" 

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Ah Son of Beast. I was there when they were building it up, and there when they were tearing it down. It scared the living daylights out of me when I was little, but its legacy and memories that I have of it will last a lifetime. I even have a bolt from it on my bookshelf. I remember the first time looking up at it and seeing and hearing people scream going down the 200+ ft drop and thinking "I'll never ride that". The thing I remember the most is the sound of the chain on the lift hill. Going up the lift hill on Adventure Express, and looking up at them climbing SOB's lift hill forever changed me on how big and fast roller coasters could be. Still though, I miss it. My memories of Son of Beast are very happy, but I do love Banshee. MaestroJr

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Literally?

Oh man...

There's only one coaster I've ever gotten off of and said "Never again." And this time, I Mean it.

That being said, I am, at 24, different than I was at 18. For all I know, a ride on Son of Beast today might be too much for me. Especially with wooden roller coasters, I find myself asking, "Is it getting older, or am I? Or both?"

Let's just say I was older than you are now when the thing opened. You will understand in the coming years. That glossy indestructible feeling will slowly fade away over time. Lol

Sent from a signal coming out of the Vega system.

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I rode it at age 14 (with the loop), and I thought it was insanely rough. At 14, I didn't even notice things like that. But I did on Son of Beast. I don't mind that they removed it because there's no way I'd ever get on that thing as an adult.

 

Still, I'm so thankful I got a chance to ride it when I was young. It really was an incredible ride and a crazy experience.

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That was an enjoyable read, and I'm glad I got the chance to ride it while it was still Son of Beast Original Recipe.  I'm having trouble recalling if I ever rode the non-looping variant.   

 

I probably wouldn't have rode it, but I went to Kings Island with two of my good friends and none of us wanted to admit to the others that we were scared to ride (we would have been about 12 at the time).  That's the day I got over my fear of roller coasters. 

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