by Joe Kleiman, IPM Online News Editor
San Antonio, TX and Mason, OH, USA — Two record breaking wooden rollercoasters, Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Son of Beast at Kings Island, are scheduled to begin dismanteling later this year. Both rides received extensive track modifications during their operation following lawsuits resulting from alleged injuries.
When Fiesta Texas opened in 1992 as a joint venture of AARP and Opryland, Rattler was the only rollercoaster in the park. At 179 feet, with a first drop of 166 feet and a top speed of 73 mph, it held the height and speed records for a “woodie” at the time. In 1994, the first drop was shortened to 124 feet, which reduced the top speed to 65 mph. According to the San Antonio Express-News, “At the time, Fiesta Texas officials denied that the changes were the result of allegations in the lawsuits. In 1998, the park reached settlements worth $3.54 million in lawsuits representing 27 plaintiffs.” Current park operator Six Flags has announced that Rattler’s final day of operation will be August 5, 2012.
Son of Beast opened at King’s Island in 2000 with a number of world records of its own. At 218 feet with a top speed of 78 mph, it held the new record for height and speed. It also became the first wooden coaster with a loop in close to 100 years. In 2006, trains were shortened and the vertical loop was removed. The ride was closed permanently by park operators prior to the 2010 season and they have announced that dismantlement will begin later this Summer.
Both coasters were designed by the now defunct Roller Coaster Corporation of America. Neither park has announced a replacement attraction.