Geauga Lake auction begins, Big Dipper sells for $5,000

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

The gavel came down and The Big Dipper, Geauga Lake amusement park's centerpiece roller coaster, went for $5,000 to Apex Western Machinery Movers of Akron. A shouting match erupted between the auctioneer and former ACE president Carole Sanderson over a dispute over whether or not ACE was offered the ride.

Read more from WKYC/Cleveland.

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Any word on Head Spin?
Thank god Dipper was saved. Amidst the dark skies and melancholy atmosphere, it was a bright spot.

I had to leave before the group made it to Villain/DL. The Arrow trains were listed as part of the entire DL lot, but since the ride is being scrapped, what is their fate? (I call dibs on a wheel!)

eightdotthree's avatar
What's the point of saving it if its only going to sit on a SBNO somewhere?
Well, this sort of closes the book for me on the place. I understand that business is business but I'm just bitter about the entire situation. Of course, Cedar Fair had no obligation to be the good guy and try to save something from what was Geauga Lake, but I don't care.

They like to tout the history of Cedar Point and the 130+ years of memories, nostalgia, etc. Then, they let remnants of Geauga Lake end up in the scrap pile.

I will acknowledge that my opinion is skewed and I'm likely too close to the situation. Geauga Lake was my home park and, for at least several summers as a youth, my backyard. Then, it became one of my first employers as I spent 5 years becoming familiar with the amusement business.

I remember the first summer I worked in Rainbow Island and the close crew that enjoyed putting smiles on kids faces no matter how many horns we heard beep-beep-beeping and no matter that we didn't get to work the "big rides".

I spent nervous hours on that old ferris wheel worrying about whether or not I had it balanced...fearing it might just start rotating back the wrong direction.

I spent countless summer nights basking in the yellowish light of the Big Dipper station listening for the familiar buzz as one of the trains neared the final brake run...people cheering as if they just got finished riding the world's biggest coaster. The smell of the grease would remain with me well into winter even after the last light had been turned off each season.

I had countless conversations with people about Rotor Fred and did my best to satisfy parents that he was a harmless guy who needed very little to be entertained in life.

The ringing in my ears after 8 hours of working at the Euro Racers was only interrupted by the barking of the sea lions across the lake as we would walk down a dark, empty midway at midnight after a long, hot summer day. A day that the huge attendance like it rivaled the big days at the Magic Kingdom.

I remember the smell of warm beer on an October night and elephant ears and cinnamon buns making my mouth water. There were no lasers or fireworks or parades. Just a community event, really, that drew thousands of locals on a Friday night.

We can rehash what happened. We can try to debate who caused the most damage. Anheuser-Busch did them in when they left town. Six Flags built too much too fast. Six Flags and Cedar Fair did not show respect to the local market. At this point that is irrelevant to me.

In my opinion we lost a classic park, a classic ride and, what is most disappointing to me, and the opportunity to share that park with my children.

I wonder why they did not save the Villan? Canada's Wonderland have not built a wood coaster since the park opened. The Villan would have been perfect at the park. Seems like a waste to me.
Rihard's avatar
Head Spin, the spider ride, El Dorado and the Yo-yo swing ride were not part of the auction. In fact the Yo-yo ride was already gone as was the Beaver Land Mine Ride and Hopkins chute ride.

The flume ride didn't receive any bids, so it will probably be demolished when the buildings come down.

The Starfish wipeout ride sold for $10,000 but I missed who the buyer was. I was temporarily distracted from the bidding because Dick Knoebel was sharing with me his experience negotiating a purchase of the Starfish ride before settling on a Wipeout from another seller.

Yes, Knobels was there observing the proceedings but don't think there were any other local parks present. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but if you want to ride a Geauga Lake circular in the future, you'll need to do it at Schlitterbahn Kansas.

*** This post was edited by Rihard 6/18/2008 8:51:59 AM ***

eightdotthree's avatar
When you can get a brand new GCI or GG coaster for around 5 million why bother spending 3+ to move one?

Its like having an 5 year old computer that is broken. Its going to cost $300 to fix it, but I could get a brand new Dell for under $500.

Audioslaved said:

So who isnt suprised about a ruckus being caused that involved ACE. From the day that it was announced that Geauga Lake was being sold, I think many people knew that there would be some kind of clash between enthusiasts and Cedar Fair/Norton.

I don't agree with that one bit. I don't know who's right and who's wrong, but the only reason there was any kind of clash was because one party made a claim that the other party felt was incorrect. No one from ACE was determined to create a scene. A few local members had an obvious interest in the outcome of the auction and I don't blame them. They tried to do something to save something that meant a lot to them, and if it weren't for people like them, there would be nothing of historical value left in this country since progress in the name of profit is always the name of the game, regardless of the consequences. To touch upon something that Jeff said, the media wrongly accused their actions as those of ACE, when the truth is they were high-ranking ACE members acting on their own behalf.

As DWeaver said, a great number of good rides are going to be lost because of this. This isn't the removal of a Zyklon, it's the death of three wood coasters- one of which was originally built in 1925/26 and is among the last of its kind. Perhaps not everyone liked the ride or found it to be "all that" but I don't see how it's loss can be regarded as no big deal. And if the ride is going to sit in storage or be rebuilt as some kind of non-operational nostalgic piece, it's as good as lost.

I really appreciated your post, wahoo skipper. While it's obviously easy to get wrapped up in the whole business aspect of this situation, you added a nice human element to the whole thing. It's ultimately about dollars but beneath the surface there are a lot of feelings and emotions that go into something like this. I can understand exactly what you're saying.

*** This post was edited by Rob Ascough 6/18/2008 9:21:28 AM ***

eightdotthree's avatar

A steel looping coaster called the Arrow

I love how a reporter from the area doesn't even know the name of the ride. It couldn't be any more simple. Double Loop.

She estimated it would cost $3.6 million to move the ride from the park. Woosnam said he expects it to cost only about $650,000 to tear down and reassemble each wooden coaster over a six-month period.

How can two estimates be so far apart? I guess perhaps Woosman has no plans to re-track it or the reporter mis-quoted.

More info...

It gave me a headache reading the comments in response to the article there.

Jason Hammond, I never said for them to put their money where their mouth is. They could have tried to find someone to pay for relocation and rebuilding of the ride and then (ACE) pay the $5,000 at the auction. Seems to me I remember hearing about this auction months ago, maybe even the beginning of the year. Looks like they had 4-6 months to attempt to do this, but I have no idea if they did.
There's a reason why they waited to approve the land sale until after the auction, and why BD was the only sale CF wanted to approve before actually letting it go.

It's gone, it will be re erected somewhere else as a piece of history, let it go. I find it rather humorous that ACE is going to attempt to get government involved when it's a PRIVATE sale on PRIVATE land. Just be happy they didn't scrap it too. Grasping at straws anyone?

Doesn't anyone find it very strange that an auction company that is supposedly working to get the best price for each item up for auction, would introduce the coaster by first stating: "we couldn't give it away, but now we would like everyone to bid on it"? I can't for the life of me understand what purpose Norton Auctioneers had for trying to make everyone believe it was offered to ACE, particulary since Norton's previous statement to the press was publicly disputed by several people on the ACE executive committee.
The person who complained about Millennium Force obviously hasn't monitored the people who get off the ride. They're not all 17-year olds. The first time I rode it in two-thousand in the front row was with a grandfather who had to be in mid-60's or later. The ride has had great appeal to many people.

"Geauga Lake's problems started way back when Anhauser Busch bought the park, make it a Six Flags property and closed Sea World."

Wow... just wow!

"There was revenue from company picnics, but I think the real goal of those picnics was to show people what the park had to offer so that they would return on their own and pay their own admission."

So corporations and unions exist to do marketing for amusement parks? Can't put anything over on some people, can you?

Quoted from RRC

"If you'd like to see and hear exactly what was said about the coaster being offered to ACE and other groups, here you go-"

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