"See ya in the back!"
Proud CB club member
"See ya in the back!"
Ok, here's a repost. I hope it works!
Jon Smith said:
Nothing beats Stark Raven Mad. Holiday World created a monster in 1995 and the monster just keeps on growing! Stark Raven Mad is known to many enthusiasts as the best coaster event of the season. SRM is always and will always be the best. No coaster event, summer con, spring con, add-on day, Europe trip, or anything else in my opinion comes even close to SRM. Many enthusiasts who don’t get to do many trips always, ALWAYS try to fit in SRM to their schedule. SRM is always the first event to be scheduled on my calendar when the new year begins, and it always will. The day I miss a SRM will be a sad day and I will continue to make an effort to be at every SRM until I’m a very, very old man, which is a ongoing joke with fellow ACEer Neil Rupp and I. :-)
The trip started when I picked up Neil at his house at 4:20 AM Friday morning. The plan was to head over to Sean Flaharty’s house and there we would meet up with the usual clan of Phyllis Withers (AKA Sean’s Mom), Barry Short, Sean, Fred of Las Vegas, and Sean. We arrived and our convoy of two cars left Grove City, Ohio at 5 AM sharp. If we left by 5 AM, we would be able to make HW in time to make it to Scott Heck’s wedding. The drive down seemed rather fast and we arrived at Santa Claus a tad bit early. We were supposed to be at the gates at 9 AM, and we were one hour early. We decided to check in Santa’s Lodge (AKA Satan’s Lodge) and get a little settled before we headed to the park.
Once we got to the park, we started running into a few familiar faces. Paul and Carrie’s group arrived with some pretty humorous homemade SRM T-shirts on. Paul’s said, Rec-rollercoaster….Flame War anyone?” Bond’s said, “Rec-rollercoaster….Ask Daddy.” I really can’t remember the rest of the shirts off the top of my head. Regardless, I thought they were a perfect idea, which made for some jokes here and there. Yes, RRC is very much alive! At one point, Sean and I spotted a very strange looking guy in normal clothes who looked a bit like an Elvis look-alike, who would later turn out to be the Elvis for the wedding. We eventually entered the park being led by the ever famous PR director of HW, Paula Werne.
We made our way down to the Legend where we spent some time chatting with other coasternuts and friends while taking down a few soft drinks here and there. We eventually made our way up to the station and Neil and I opted for a back seat “wedding ride.” The family and friends who were “in the wedding” were seated up front and everyone else filled in the train. When everyone got settled, we made our way up the lift with cameras and people everywhere. The train stopped on the top and the ceremony began. The wedding was a tad bit odd and neat at the same time. The Elvis songs were kind of weird and I really felt odd. It was almost like I was dreaming or something, but it didn’t feel like I was quite right there for some reason. I think Neil agreed.
Neil and Paul win the bubble award for the day. We were given wedding bubbles and once the couple kissed, bubbles were found everywhere! It looked kind of cool at first until I realized just how good Neil is at blowing bubbles! They all went all over the people in front of us and in my face and story has it that Paul Drabek spilled his bubble mix all over Phyllis during the ride! The first ride was over and we were going to get another ride!! We waited for the slew of camera crews to step off the lift and we were off. While we were waiting for our next ride, HW’s very own Will Koch served us refreshments in the station…how awesome and cool is that! After another ride, we were off to the Splashin Safari to witness the couple on the park’s new water slide, Zoombabwe. They made the plunge with laughter and in their wedding gown and tux! Hope insurance covers those :-)
After the wedding events, we had a couple of hours until the lunch, so we decided to check out the coasters a few more times. The group decided to take a Raven ride first since we just got a few Legend rides. We all decided to go for a back seat ride and we were soon to find out what Paul and Carrie were hiding from us. WOW!!!! The Raven is running INSANE this season! I never had a better Raven ride then the one I just got. It was sooo much smoother than I remembered and the air on all the hills were much more stronger than I remembered. We all got off with white eyes and looked at each other in silence..…”Did that just happen?…Was that real?….What in the heck was that?” I never remember Raven being that good and with all the SRM rides I have had on it from previous years. It was easily the best ride I have ever had on it. The others agreed.
I knew that Jeff H. at HW was doing some major track work in the season, but why no reports from the locals? Apparently Paul and Carrie decided not to tell anyone about its condition and how much better the Raven is running just to see our reactions. What a reaction it was too! That’s the first thing we said to them when we saw them at lunch and you could tell they loved seeing our reaction to it. The Raven has always been an incredible ride and it’s hard to believe that it is THAT much better! You must get to HW this year!
We then headed to the Legend for one last ride before we were going to head to the luncheon. I love the Legend. The Legend is a CCI masterpiece that features a classic out of control experience. The Legend has wonderful laterals, a great first drop, great tunnels, and great air at some parts of the ride. The Legend also now sports two new beautiful PTC trains this year. The trains ride wonderful and the laterals that were a tad bit painful in the Gerstlauer trains are no longer painful. For those who did not like the Gerstlauer trains or could not re-ride Legend before need to get back to HW and give the PTC cars a try. They are comfy and fast! They are VERY FAST!! The trains are not quite broken in (80%ish) and they are already going faster than the G-trains ever did on its first 2 SRM nights. Before I arrived, I feared that with the new PTCs, The legend would take over Boulderdash for my number one wood coaster. A good fear to have at that, but after this weekend, it remains at a #2 tie with ST. Legend is close to being a perfect roller-coaster in my book. The ride has a wonderful beginning, middle and end. I wouldn’t want to change anything about it. The only reason I can’t put it over Boulderdash is because BD has much more stronger and consistent airtime. Regardless, the new PTCs on Legend rock and it makes the ride so much better! The Legend was only just breaking in….
The lunch was great and it was cool to talk to the Elvis a bit and other coaster friends. After lunch, we said our good-byes and our crew decided to head back to the hotel to crash for a few hours so we could have energy for the evening activities….We were going to need a nap for what was to come!
Walking into the gates when SRM just begins is one of my favorite parts of the day. Right when you walk in, you run into friends that you just haven’t seen in a while. Right away, I ran into Cory and Heather who I haven’t seen in a long while! Cory and I are both mechanical engineering majors and we are just about on the same schedule in what classes we are taking, so it’s cool to discuss certain classes and co-ops and such and compare our experiences with them. During this time, I would run into Jeff Tobe, Nat the Kat, Bill Yost, The Ulrich’s, Chris Trotter, Phillip Ruess, Joe Campanella, Andrew Hartman, and the heeeeeeeeeeeey group of Tim Melago, Bob and Deb, Adam Revesz, and Greg Legowski. It’s so cool to see so many cool people before ERT starts!
Anyways, we head in the Holiday Theatre and the event began. Word was spreading that this year’s SRM had 800 pre-registered enthusiasts. This meant that in the theatre, there were many standing and even more outside of the theatre for the beginning events. I think some arrived a little late and some even skipped the first night of ERT. There was an auction with a few neat items to be taken. Chris Trotter won the Legend sign that used to be sported on the front of the Gerstlauer train. It took a lot of bidding, but he got it and you could tell that he really wanted it. There were many other items that went including wood, flags, U-bars, and so on. After a hilarious song about “fat people in water parks” sung by Mrs. Koch, Paula, Will and Brandon, we were off to yet another crazy SRM ERT session!
What happened next was the usual….It always happens…Never anything new….nothing really surprising…..just the same as ever….just the same old AWESOME rides that only Holiday World’s two magnificent wood coasters provide!! Both the Raven and Legend were running WAY better than they have ever run before. The rides were daaaark, faaaast and insane. Throughout the evening, I caught rides with Neil, Phyllis, Tim Melago, Mike Graham, and many more that I can’t even think of. I also spent time talking/laughing with others such as Adam Revesz, such a hilarious, cool guy. I got to know him a little better last year during the ACE con, and it was cool to say heeeeeeey to him! Tim Melago and I caught a few rides and chatted for a while. I actually heard the KW news from him and Greg around that time, which devastated the whole group. For those of you who don’t know, Tim and I are from the same city. Tim now lives in Forrest Hills (near Pittsburgh) and that’s exactly where I lived my first 3 years. So, it’s kind of cool and we’re both born with a Pittsburghese accent. Yunz agree? Other times were spent with Robb, Elissa, Sean, Barry, Fred, Phillip, Flemming Cook, and Vince and his wife Tammi and many, many others. I just meet Vince and Tammi a few months ago and have gotten to know them a little bit more since then. They are real cool and such a nice couple!
It seemed that there were a LOT of new people at this event. Usually, I recognize people that I don’t get to talk to when I go to coaster events. At this year’s SRM, there were a lot of people that I did not recognize. Please understand that I’m not complaining at all. It’s actually cool to see that this hobby is really growing and that more and more people are coming to SRM. There is only one problem with this. Neil and I both noticed that the people at this year’s SRM seemed less and less excited while at the event. There were less and less handslapping and even clapping. It’s not a huge deal and I’m not trying to make it a big deal. Perhaps people didn’t know what to expect or how to react, but there seemed to be less and less excitement amongst the enthusiasts that were there. Maybe it’s a first time thing?
After many insane rides, 20 million soft drinks, and flashing glowsticks, the night was soon to be over and it was time to end off a first great night! Even thought the numbers were larger, I still think I got more rides in the first night of SRM this year than I did in the one night of last year. The extra train on Legend really helped getting people through! The rides were unreal and we were tired and for the first time, not sad to leave….we had one more night to go!!!
"See ya in the back!"
Nice TR Jon! It was great taking part in this trip with you as always. I look forward to the Day 2!!
-Sean (who doesn't have to do a TR now that Jon has done one)
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