wild thing

Wild Thing (roller coaster)

Wild Thing, located at the Valleyfair amusement park in Shakopee, Minnesota, is a steel out-and-back roller coaster with more than one mile (1.6 km) of track. Its first hill, measuring at 206 feet with a 60 degree drop, is home to the one of the longest low-gravity zones of any coaster in the world. It reaches a top speed of 74 mph, making it one of the fastest roller coasters in the world. Wild Thing's height was set by the FAA, due to the nearby presence of Flying Cloud Airport.

Wild Thing has been the main challenge for a local radio station's Survive it and Drive It Game. Listeners of 101.3 KDWB who call in and win are challenged, along with approximately 20 other winners, to be the last one riding continuously for days upon end. The winner gets a new car from a local car dealer. In 2005, the contest lasted for seventeen days. Due to the unbelievable stamina and willpower of the final two contestants, they were each awarded a car.

Designed and manufactured by Chance-Morgan, it was the first "hypercoaster" to be built by the company, opening in 1996. It was the 5th tallest coaster in the world when it opened. The ride's success led to the construction of Steel Force at Dorney Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1997 and Mamba at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Missouri the next year.

The Ride

After the ascent to the top of the 207ft (63.1m) lift hill, the train plunges down the 196 ft (59.7 m) drop, reaching the maximum speed of 74 mph (119.1 km/h. The train then enters a 103 ft (31.4m) parabolic hill, resulting in the longest low gravity section of any coaster in the world. After the hill, the train climbs a larger 130ft (39.6m) hill before entering the large figure-eight turnaround. After a mid-course brake run, the train travels over several small bunny hops before entering a tunnel. Inside are more small hills and the on-ride camera. The ride finishes with a final brake run followed by a turn back into the station.

Accidents

Several minor injuries occurred following a derailment on the Wild Thing on May 21, 2006 when a brake mount came loose. The accident happened in the holding brake block, where a train waits to enter the station following a run. The failed brake mount struck the rear axle of the train's fifth car, causing the six car to detach from the train and de-rail on one side. 14 people were taken to St. Francis Regional Medical Center, but all were released the same day with minor or no injuries.

Contrary to widespread rumors, neither the train, the car, nor any of the riders fell from the track. All riders were wearing their required seat belts and lap bars, preventing them from being ejected from their car. The sixth car did not completely derail from the track, rather settling in a leaning position on its right side.

Wild Thing reopened on June 1, 2006, after being judged safe by inspectors.


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