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12:00AM: Hercules, to me has GREAT re-rideability value so I just have to go on again! This time, after I got off of the ride, I could see the young ride operator answering the phone in the control booth and....you could just see color drain from his face as he put his head on the desk.....poor guy....I can bet you someone in his family just passed away....

 

What? Why would you say that? That's not even funny...

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12:00AM: Hercules, to me has GREAT re-rideability value so I just have to go on again! This time, after I got off of the ride, I could see the young ride operator answering the phone in the control booth and....you could just see color drain from his face as he put his head on the desk.....poor guy....I can bet you someone in his family just passed away....

 

What? Why would you say that? That's not even funny...

 

It's not supposed to be funny. The ride op, in reality was being told about the major incident that happened on Roar, Kelly of course didnt realize what happened so she made the wrong conclusion.

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July, 2007

 

Kelly’s Coasters: Post 20

 

 

Hi guys. Judging from all of the comments being posted on my blog, you all want to know exactly what happened on Roar which caused Tennessee’s Great America to close down for two weeks. One of Roar’s three Vekoma-built trains suffered a major mechanical failure during operation, causing one of the cars to derail. All thirty people suffered from injuries ranging from minor to severe. Tragically, one person died from his injuries at a local hospital.

 

 

This is a simple diagram of Roar’s train when it operates normally without issue.

 

 

And this diagram basically depicts the accident. Severe metal fatigue caused one of the running-rail wheels to shear off while Train 2 was going through the swooping drop in the mountain. The third car of the train suddenly jumped the rails, jackknifed causing the car’s connector to break off, and T-boned causing substantial damage to the train and injuring the riders. The rest of the train, including the front two cars stalled due to the friction, which is why I saw a crane by the mountain. They had to be rescued and taken to the hospital.....and one person didn't make it Sadly, this isn't the first time someone died at Tennesee's Great America. Back in the 1990s, before Twister or Hang-Time or whatever the hell it's called now came to the park, they had an Intamin First-Generation Freefall named Espionage and it closed because someone fell to their death after one of the restraints went up.

 

 

TGA re-opened two weeks after the accident and operated as per usual, sans Roar. The coaster is currently listed on RCDB as Standing But Not Operating, or SBNO and there is currently no telling when Roar will open again.....

 

If it’ll ever open again....

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October, 2007

 

Kelly’s Coasters: Post 21

 

 

According to Coasters4U.com and several other roller coaster fan sites, the Tennessee branch of OSHA has approved of plans to renovate Roar which has been SBNO since June following a major accident that killed one person. Clair Hain of Great Coasters International has confirmed plans to do extensive work on the on the only Vekoma woodie in the U.S which include new Millennium Flyer trains to replace the Vekoma-built trains. Sadly, in order to reinforce the structural integrity of the ride, the entire 220 ft first drop will be re-profiled smaller, which means that by 2008, Roar will no longer be considered a “hyper coaster” and it’s speed will be slowed down from 86mph to approximately 63-65mph. However, I do believe that when it reopens, Roar will probably be at its smoothest!

 

 

Before.....

 

 

After....

 

 

A closer look at the new Millennium Flyers.

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Fat-G's right. Look at Phantom's Revenge for example. The lift hill is 160 feet, but the largest drop is 228 feet, so that means it's a hyper coaster. So Roar will still be a hyper coaster, even if it's first drop is shortened.

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July, 2009

Kelly’s Coasters: Post 22

 

 

God....I haven’t been to TGA since 2007......But look, now I’m here!!! Lets get down to my trip, shall we?

 

 

I haven’t been on Roar since about a year before the accident. For the most part, It’s been a “must avoid” ride because of it’s roughness, but now I’ve been hearing from multiple roller coaster fans that it’s operating much better since they got the new trains and the drop was re-profiled.

 

 

I definitely like the look of the new Millennium Flyer trains. Much more articulated and streamlined than PTC trains on Screamin’ Eagle or the Vekoma-made trains that were on Roar.

 

 

After riding it a few times, my official stance on Roar is that it’s still not a great ride, but they did fix some of the problems that plagued the ride since it opened since 2001, such as the pacing issues in the oval section. It’s still rough as hell, but there is considerably more airtime. The flat section before the drop is kind of redundant, but it’s supposed to reduce wear and tear on the train’s wheels and (hopefully) prevent another accident from occurring

 

 

There is a perfectly good explanation for why 4 out of 7 cars on Vampyre are empty when it’s celebrating its 25th anniversary! When it was my turn to finally go on and the train returned to the station, there was a poor girl that was sitting in the back that looked so pale its not even funny and as soon as the lap bars released......she opened her mouth and instantaneously, a projectile filled with lumps and stuff just FLEW out of her mouth! Like the girl in The Exorcist! It just covered the entire back of the train and no one wanted to sit in those seats!

 

Btw, the locker policy is still in place, but they’re much more lenient with it now. They reduced the price from $4.00 to $1.25 and the bouncer isn’t there anymore forcing people to empty their pockets. They must have got a lot of complaints about that....

 

 

 

 

 

What can be said about Hercules: The Revenge other than INTAMIN and AWESOME!!!!

 

 

I’ve been hearing, yet again, MORE rumors. This time, the rumors aren’t positive. IT seems that TGA is planning to remove one of their older rides. From the looks of things, it doesn’t look good for Fireball. It’s still a fun ride, but every year it seems to get rougher and rougher and much harder to maintain as it ages. I mean, the ride is twenty-NINE years old!

 

However, it seems we have to wait some more....

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September, 2009

Kelly’s Coasters: Post 23

 

 

Hey!! I’m here with some news concerning TGA that I recently found! Let’s see what’s up!

 

 

 

Judging from this promo picture that Cedar Fair and Tennessee’s Great America posted on their Facebook pages, they are expanding the park! It seems like a brand new “Shopping District” is going to be put in place. The Coaster’s Drive-In is moving from the original picnic plaza to here, According to sources, a Subway will replace the original Coaster’s Drive-In. Some more gift shops and bathrooms will also be added. Not only that, but TGA is getting a new flat! A WELL overdue HUSS Pirate Ship ride named “Ocean Motion.” I really like the “dock” that is going to sprawl out across Elmwood Lake, almost giving it a Long Island “Olde Towne by the water” sort-of-feel.

 

 

 

Unfortunatley, it seems like the Round-Up will be sacrificed to make way for this new area. I loved this ride! To me, it was like the love child of Enterprise and Gravitron! It will be missed!

 

No other things were announced, so it looks like the Fireball MIGHT be in the clear for now. However we won’t know until the park opens next year!

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December, 2009

Kelly’s Coasters: Post 24

 

HORRIBLE NEWS: CLOSURE OF VAMPYRE ANNOUNCED

 

NO!!!!!!!!

 

I........I.........can’t believe this.......

 

 

TENNESEE’S GREAT AMERICA (December 9th 2009): After 26 years of draining the blood from its riders, Anton Schwarzkopf’s triple-looping masterpiece Vampyre is slated to permanently close after Halloween Haunt, making 2010 its final season.

 

“It is very sad to see the Vampyre go, but no roller coaster lasts forever.” Said Jason Walker, the current general manager of Tennessee’s Great America. “We know that Vampyre is fabled to be the most intense roller coaster in the world and that it is one of Tennessee’s Great America’s highest rated roller coasters behind Hercules: The Revenge and Steel Savage, that’s why we are giving riders one final chance to ride the Vampyre before November 1st, 2010 when the park closes for the season.”

 

Vampyre took thrill seekers by storm when it opened in 1984 and while it is not the tallest and fastest roller coaster by a long shot, it is said to have some of the most crushing Vertical and Positive G-forces of any roller coaster, making it one possibly the most intense roller coaster ever built behind the Crystal Beach Cyclone.

 

“Rumors of us closing Vampyre because it has become unsafe to ride are totally false. In fact, the ride was just inspected last August and passed with flying colors. Unfortunately, with the ride being 26 years old, it has reached the end of its service life.”

 

Park officials are conferencing with several different ride manufacturers such as B&M, Intamin A.G, and Gerstlauer to discuss a possible replacement ride for Vampyre, but so far nothing has come to fruition.

 

Sadly, it seems that both of Tennesee’s Great America’s Schwarzkopf’s will meet the same fate. In 2001, the park sold Super Looper to make way for Venom, but Super Looper found a new home in a small park named Family Land Florida in West Palm Beach, FL. Vampyre is a terrain coaster and therefore is impossible to relocate. Sadly confirming that Vampyre will be scrapped on the spot a la Tornado at Walibi Belgium.

 

 

 

 

This.....is by far the saddest news I have ever gotten concerning a theme park......This may sound weird but....I’m literally in tears as I write this. Vampyre was me and my sister’s absolute favorite roller coaster and we both loved it so much..........it’s been an hour since I found out and I’m still in absolute disbelief.....

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  • 2 weeks later...

June, 2010

Kelly’s Coasters: Post 25

 

 

 

Wow....I can’t believe this blog has been online for almost ten years and it’s still getting so many readers! So, I just got back from yet another trip to Tennessee’s Great America and I wish I was posting here under happier terms, but with Vampyre’s fate sealed, this trip (though I had fun on the roller coasters) was anything but happy.

 

 

I dedicated the first few hours of my trip riding all of the other coasters that TGA has to offer like Steel Savage, Screamin’ Eagle, Venom, Rage and Hercules: The Revenge...ultimately dedicating the rest of my trip to re-riding Vampyre over and over again. Of course, with the internet the confirmation of Vampyre’s closure became viral, so the line was over 30 minutes all day.

 

 

The new expansion was a very quaint area. The Coaster’s Drive-in was moved from the food court in the front of the park to here, there is also a gift shop called the DROP Shop which had a cool logo with the word DROP being pictures of coasters in the park. D is the first drop of Roar, R is a picture of Venom’s back spike, O is one of Fireball’s loops, and P is the cobra roll of Rage. The HUSS pirate ship was a long-overdue addition to the park and the pier is a pretty cool and relaxing place. That is, until one of Vampyre’s trains suddenly goes rushing through those three loops, which I found to be a very cool Kodak moment. I’m suddenly even sadder that Vampyre is going to be removed, if that’s possible

 

 

But the thing I don’t understand is WHY? Why are they really getting rid of Vampyre? Take a look at Roar, ever since Roar opened in 2001, it has been plagued with mechanical issues, painful ride experience, constant downtime, and to top it off, in 2006 the freakin’ train DE-RAILED and someone DIED on it! It makes so much more sense to get rid of Roar, but instead, they decide to get rid of a coaster that is very safe, extremely thrilling and smooth, and has excellent reliability! Not only that, but it’s also a Schwarzkopf! But they’re removing it just because it happens to be much older!

 

I just don’t get it.....

Edited by fraroc
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December, 2010

Kelly’s Coasters: Post 26

 

GOODBYE VAMPYRE

 

So...I know this picture is pretty dark and hard to see...but it’s of Vampyre’s queue line on the very last day it was open...Halloween 2010....From 11PM to 2AM, every single other ride at TGA was closed while Vampyre stayed open so that coaster enthusiasts can have their very last ride on Vampyre. They ran a VERY strict “One Ride Only” policy from 11PM to 2AM (because the park was technically closed) and lines were approximately 3 hours long not only at night, but all day. I think they did a great thing by letting us say our final goodbyes to Schwarzkopf’s magnum opus before it gets torn down....

 

 

The day after Halloween, park employees that worked on Vampyre were granted one final ride on the ride. This picture in particular is of the very last train to EVER go through Vampyre’s circuit.....

 

I’m pretty sure you all know what happened next .....there are no photos currently depicting the actual demolition of the coaster. That’s a good thing, that’s not the way I want to remember my favorite coaster...

 

 

But.....I did find this on Coasters4U.....It’s all gone....What once was the greatest steel looping roller coaster of all time....now reduced to nothing but a crater....even the two mountains are gone....

 

But what I find really strange is that even though the ride itself is totally gone, the unique triple-loop element is still standing there...the rest of the ride is off to the scrap heap, but those three loops still stand strong....I wonder why they are there?

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Christmas Day, 2010

Kelly’s Coasters: Post 27

 

TGA GETS ANOTHER INTAMIN! Rush Zone hyper coaster announced!

 

Merry Christmas, coaster freaks! Tennessee’s Great America updated their website and social networking sites with this announcement!

 

 

 

 

 

New for 2011! RUSH ZONE!

 

When Rush Zone opens in 2011, it will be the tallest thrill ride in the entire park, reaching a staggering height of 230 feet!

 

The Ride Experience: As soon as the ride operator hits the “Go” button, the train will be hoisted up the huge first hill at speeds reaching up to 20mph! Upon reaching the pinnacle of the coaster, the train will plunge into a series of tight banked turns at the top speed of 78 miles per hour! Riders will feel the bone crushing G-forces of four overbanked curves and three air-time hills across the edge of Elmwood Lake!

 

Rush Zone is also the third roller coaster in Tennessee’s Great America manufactured by Intamin A.G based in Switzerland. Rush Zone will join up with it’s fellow Intamin brothers, Venom, build in 2002, and Hercules-The Revenge, built in 2007. Being the tallest coaster in the park, it will forever change the skyline.

 

Here are some more up-close and personal pictures of the ride!

 

 

 

 

 

Also new for 2011 is the official memorial for Vampyre, which was the roller coaster that was unfortunately sacrificed to make way for Rush Zone. The coaster’s unique “triple loop” element and train was refurbished and is now put on display with a plaque to commemorate the ride!

 

 

So.....this is it, the coaster that’s going to replace Vampyre. It looks cool, don’t get me wrong, in fact it looks and sounds like it’s going to be a VERY good ride. But It seems like whenever this park needs a new coaster, they always go to Intamin. I LIKE Intamin, don’t get me wrong, but next year this park will have three Intamins and only two B&Ms!

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