Geauga Lake coasters may be auctioned off

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

It’s looking as though Geauga Lake’s Big Dipper and two other wooden coasters will wind up on the auction block along with the rest of the park’s remaining rides and equipment. Orlando-based Martin & Vleminckx Rides LLC has been trying to sell the 83-year-old Big Dipper as well as the Villain and Raging Wolf Bobs coasters for Geauga Lake parent company Cedar Fair since November.

Read more from Crain's Cleveland Business.

So would it be unrealistic to expect the coasters to end up as anything but firewood at this rate? You'd think that if anybody was interested in preserving them they would've put out an offer by now, but it's apparent that's not the case. Worst comes to worst you'd probably either have CF trashing the coasters themselves or letting them sit and rot for a couple decades, though the former seems more likely either way...
Jeff's avatar
They aren't going to sit and rot, they'll be torn down. That land will be used for something, sooner than later. Every moment they own it and it's idle, they lose money. I'm pretty sure you can't burn that pressure treated wood. Although the steel on Villain I would think is worth a great deal of cash.
eightdotthree's avatar
Well, if they start the bidding at $100 some one might want them. :)

Villain is on a fairly flat piece of land and is out and back, you could plop it down almost anywhere, do the track work from scratch and have a brand new coaster. I would imagine a steel structure is much easier than moving an old wooden one. Villain is actually a good candidate for the beach front woodie everyone wants.
*** This post was edited by eightdotthree 3/24/2008 11:35:40 AM ***

Sure you can burn pressure treated wood. It'll go up just like any other wood.

It might not be 'environmentally sound', but I can definitely say from experience that boards that have been pressure treated will torch just fine. :)

Soggy's avatar
We all know that the Phoenix was relocated and is fantastic. I'm not sure if Raging Wolf Bobs or the Big Dipper were good enough for anyone to want to try it, but Villian certianly sounds like a good candidate. No, I haven't ridden any of them, just basing this on others' TR's.
Kick The Sky's avatar
My guess is that buying a wooden coaster(or a hybrid like Villain) and then moving it elsewhere would probably cost more than simply calling up Gravity Group or some other company and buying a brand spanking new wooden coaster. With a wooden coaster you have much more parts to number and catalog, not to mention all of the wood that will probably be discarded in the process when it is discovered to be rotted or damaged.

My guess is that the ONLY coaster that might have a chance at not ending up as scrap is the Big Dipper, and that is because of the historical value of it. I'll even go as far as saying that even that chance is remote.

Expect a mighty big bonfire at the waterpark some night this summer.

Villain would be the easiest to move. It would also be the easiest to dismantle and store, and in accordance with modern sensibilities, it is easily the best of the three rides. Sorry, Big Dipper fans, but the Villain is, by current standards, the better ride. Especially that drop off of where the mid course brake would be if it had one, that part is just like GhostRider. I wonder if Cedar Fair's plan for that one isn't to offer it for sale first in hopes that someone else will pay to take it down and haul it away, second to offer it at auction in hopes that someone else will take it down and haul it away, and third to dismantle the ride and store it, figuring that in the near future it would make a great addition to almost any of their current properties except possibly Knott's (see similarity to GhostRider) or possibly Worlds of Fun (it also has elements in common with Timber Wolf).

Raging Wolf Bobs has a number of problems, including a bad reputation and a recent accident. It's potentially a decent ride, and it would be a good addition especially for a smaller park that is lacking a good wood coaster and could put it up for a fraction of the cost of a new ride. But that ride has an awful lot of baggage to overcome, not to mention the lack of an operating train (doesn't Cedar Fair have the original PTC trailers floating around somewhere?)

Big Dipper is an okay ride, but quite frankly if I had a choice between saving it or the Screechin' Eagle down at LeSourdsville Lake, I'd rather have the Eagle.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

I can only base my comments on Villain 07' based on what three other people on my trip said plus three members of the No Limits development team. (We ran into them while in line for MF the following evening). The ride suck'eth big time. Once again, it all comes down to those hideous Gerstlauer trains.

Did I like the ride when I first rode it in 2000? Yes I did, but I still remember a nasty bump right before the station on one of my two rides. I hit my thighs pretty hard into the unforgiving metal lapbar.

We only had one fan of Big Dipper. For the three others of us, it was one and done. The out section was miserable, while the return section was awesome. With some retracking, I think it could be awesome for decades to come.

We visited shortly after Raging Wolf Bobs had the accident, so I can't give any feedback on that.

eightdotthree's avatar
But to move Villain would mean to redo the track work from scratch.
Jeff's avatar
Dave speaketh the truth. I've never cared for any of those rides other than Villain. Six Flags let the track work go to hell, and unfortunately Cedar Fair never made the wholesale repair to the entire ride that it needed. But there were hints of glory here and there in the fixed parts. I remember getting on that thing on media day and instantly feeling it was my favorite wood coaster ever. Granted, I hadn't been on Raven yet, but I was impressed.

Now that I think about it, I'm actually really surprised someone hasn't snatched that ride up.

The current issues, and most have been mentioned are all valid from a re-sale standpoint.

The RWB, my favorite, does have a bad rep, but it is a great mid-sized coaster, It ran strong well into the last 90's. From 1988-to then, it was worth every penny. When dismantling woodies, you lose the track and up to 1/4 of the wood.

I am very suprised the Villian wasn't moved. But, on the other hand, with labor and freight costs, its not a whole lot cheaper to just order a new ride.

The Double Loop, another great coaster for the masses, has welded track, and needs someone who can handle a plasma torch properly to dismantle the ride, then do the same tlc when re-assembled.

The 'call the ball' today, the Villian will be sold, and the flume, and the giant wheel. I only saw that video link last week, so I don't what is all remaining.

The RWB, DL, and Dipper will all have the same fate, unless someone comes forth with at least $250,000-$750,000 in funds to buy, dismantle, transport, and re-build. Thats a low-end figure for a major rides like the RWB or Villian.

That's also assuming you can do everything 100% inhouse. I did a proposal on the MB Hurricane, and with a good construction crew in house, the cost was at least $1.5 million. At least. And they sold the trains. Add another $50,000-$250,000.

And, as an added punch, most states are leery of allowing 'outside' certified rides to enter their state, especially with a history of engineering or litigation issues.

Then, you have the added costs of new trains, new braking, and whatever else the State may suprise you with. Its really a toos up to move a major rides nowadays. Which is a shame, since the Dipper, DL, and RWB are all good rides, and have served Geauga Lake well.

judgejudy's avatar
Hell, bring Villian to Michigan's Adventure too!!! I'll take it..*** This post was edited by judgejudy 3/24/2008 5:26:32 PM ***
Take Villian...I don't care about it. Give me BD at Beech Bend!
Alexx Argen's avatar
Ill go with with Jeff. When i first rode Villain it was great and with a little time and money it could be great again. I wouldn't be surprised to see a smaller park buy it at auction.
I still can't understand why they don't take Villain to CP and burn that POS they have now.

ChuckBetter yet, Add a block and tear down Racer and put it at KI!*** This post was edited by Charles Nungester 3/24/2008 7:43:39 PM ***

CP has Blue Streak and both are pretty identical. And why put a small ride like BD and put it on a big piece of land. Sorry, not happening.*** This post was edited by Parker17 3/24/2008 8:16:59 PM ***
'cause while villain is a great ride, it ain't purdy.
Villain and Blue streak identical? Phuleeze.

kpjb's avatar

You'd think that if anybody was interested in preserving them they would've put out an offer by now, but it's apparent that's not the case.

Actually, if I were interested in buying any of them, I'd wait for the auction. Why pay what they were asking if you can low-ball a bid and be pretty certain that no one's going to counter offer?

*** This post was edited by kpjb 3/24/2008 10:26:13 PM ***

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