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Toys

The Biggest and Baddest Backyard Roller Coaster 219

BoomZilla writes "Following on the heels of previously reported backyard roller coasters (here and here), I'd like to add Jeremy Reid's wondrous beast to the list. This behemoth certainly takes the award for the largest, fastest (and most likely the most expensive) labor of coaster love. Located in Newcastle, Oklahoma, it has an initial drop of 20ft, pulls max positive G's of 3.5 and max negative G's of -0.2. Overall it's a stunning 444 feet in length. Total cost is estimated at $5.5k. Jeremy is, clearly, a man with too much time and money on his hands!"
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The Biggest and Baddest Backyard Roller Coaster

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  • wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2003 @10:20PM (#6593592)
    Since this was a Slashdot article, I figured it must have been about a guy who built a 9-monitor roller coaster simulator running across 3 PC's.
  • Dangerous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2003 @10:23PM (#6593599)
    I hope he has a lot more time on his hands - to maintain it. Maintaining a rollercoaster is not easy.

    --a Cedar Point employee
    • Re:Dangerous (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Gherald ( 682277 )
      I doubt the use is heavy enough for maintainance to be a big issue.
      • Re:Dangerous (Score:5, Informative)

        by Christopher Thomas ( 11717 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:01PM (#6593740)
        I doubt the use is heavy enough for maintainance to be a big issue.

        Weather's a big issue. Even pressure-treated lumber wears in an annoyingly short time. The rails will also corrode.

        It's a great achievement, but if its time before a major overhaul is needed is over 10 years, I'll be impressed - and this took years to build.

        As long as he puts in the time, kudos to him.
    • Re:Dangerous (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Insightful?

      What does professional rollercoaster maintenance have to do with the fact that an intelligent young man successfully designed, built, and tested his own rollercoaster?

      How about, "Kids, stay out of model rocketry because NASA procedures take lots of time!" Better yet, stay away from all engineering....?
    • Re:Dangerous (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jacer ( 574383 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @12:40AM (#6594069) Homepage
      Last summer when I was at Cedar Point I was stranded on the top hill of a roller coaster for about two hours before being escorted down the stairs to the side of the first hill. The engine towing us up the first hill was siezed. I was really pissed off because I drove 1,200 miles for the roller coasters and spent a good chunk of my second of three days doing nothing, I mean, for the two hours, I could have almost made it completely throught the line of the Millenium Force!
      • by naelurec ( 552384 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @12:56AM (#6594130) Homepage
        Thats what you get for riding the Wildcat .. :)
      • by Xandar01 ( 612884 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @02:04AM (#6594351) Journal
        The Six Flags park I worked at (long ago) would give riders who were stuck walk-on ride access to either the ride you were stuck on or another ride if that one was down for the rest of the day. You know if you had played your cards right, you probably could have walked right onto a few rides after being stuck so long.

        Also, thought I should mention that I find it kind of weird that they left you in the ride for so long. In my several years working major coasters, I don't recall leaving anyone stranded on a ride for more than 15 minutes or so.

        Oh one last thing (heh heh), I remember occasionally stopping trains at the top of the 115' lift of a certain ride I worked because "I saw someone do something." I tell you it was 1) exhilarating to walk to the top of that 115' lift and 2) amusing as hell to see people, who are safely strapped in, start freaking out because they are afraid of heights. What were they doing on a "tall" coaster anyway?
    • by reality-bytes ( 119275 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @11:23AM (#6595427) Homepage
      This is possibly the best 'coaster in the entire world.

      I mean, 'coasters are all about causing exhilleration though fear induced adrenalin rushes.

      The think that always spoils rollercoaster rides for me is the safety. Theres little or no chance of even getting injured on mordern 'coasters so the whole thing seems less scary; whereas this guys creation is a whole different story.

      If you take a look at this image [ou.edu] you realise that if you really were riding this; you'd have just worked out that there was an even chance of you not living to regret climbing aboard!

      What a rush!! ;)
  • NIfty toy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by curtlewis ( 662976 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @10:25PM (#6593606)
    Pretty slick, but you just KNOW some kid is gonna climb his fence, ride the coaster, fuck it up, hurt himself and sue the guy.

    So... $5.5k + $1million lawyers fees + $5 million per kid that parents let run loose unattended.

    • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @10:35PM (#6593643) Homepage Journal
      "Pretty slick, but you just KNOW some kid is gonna climb his fence, ride the coaster, fuck it up, hurt himself and sue the guy."

      Wasn't it Han Solo who said "better you than me"? Man, it's like that movie applies to everything!
    • Re:NIfty toy (Score:3, Insightful)

      by toughluck ( 633962 )
      This to me just says how badly things need to change. Any parent that sues another because

      1. they let their kids run around with no supervision.

      2. does not teach their kids what is safe and what is not.

      3. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY!!! does not and will not take responsibility for their Childs actions and for their own lack of parenting

      should have their lawsuit thrown out of court and then sued by the government and by the person they sued for contributing to the problem of our kids pushing off the blame to a
      • Re:NIfty toy (Score:5, Informative)

        by guacamolefoo ( 577448 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:01PM (#6593739) Homepage Journal
        Two words:

        Attractive nuisance. Sorry, user 633962, the courts disagree with your view. Here's a brief definition of the doctrine:

        http://insurance.cch.com/rupps/attractive-nuisan ce -doctrine.htm

        Clearly, a parent who fails to supervise would be likely be brought in as a codefendant, but that's not to say that a person or entity that maintains an attractive nuisance is without responsibility for the harms that can befall children (who do not know better).

        Here's the problem:
        The tort system is used to try to compensate for damages. A very young child just doesn't know better, and the law has developed in a way that basically says "society should hold someone other than the child responsible for making the world safe for children because the child (1) doesn't know and better and (2) leaving the child exposed to danger is harmful. Better to look to a way to prevent these injuries from happening. Someone maintaining an attractive nuisance presumably has the benefits of it, so it is only fair that they should bear the costs of it as well.

        Your issue is not necessarily with attractive nuisance, but with a separate tortfeasor, namely the negligent parent. While I do not disagree with you, you must remember that the harmed party is the child and limiting the child (who, remember, does not know better because he/she is very young) from recovering. Saying "blame te parents" doesn't screw the parents, it screws the kid more often than not, since it limits the ability of the totally without blame child from recovering for his injuries from either (1) the negligent parent (who may, and usually is, insolvent) or (2) the maintainer of an inherently dangerous object.

        Any parent that sues another because [...]
        should have their lawsuit thrown out of court


        It is not the parent's lawsuit -- it is the child's lawsuit. And yes, as I mentioned above, it is likely that the negligent parent would be brought into the suit as a codefendant by the maintainer of the attractive nuisance. Unfortunately, the parent is all-too-often insolvent. That leaves us with an extremely young child with poor judgment in an uncompensable situation just because someone likes to maintain a rollercoaster in his yard (something with low social utility). Sorry, but the courts do not agree with you.

        GF.
        • Re:NIfty toy (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Sabalon ( 1684 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:21PM (#6593807)
          An 8 foot pricacy fence should stop a child too young to know better. If they are old enough to bypass the fence, they are probably old enough to know better.

          Perhaps I'll find some poisinous berries on a bush on government land, let my daughter eat one then sue for them being an attractive nuisance.
          • Re:NIfty toy (Score:3, Informative)

            Perhaps I'll find some poisinous berries on a bush on government land, let my daughter eat one then sue for them being an attractive nuisance.

            I presume that this is a hypothetical, and that you ouldn't purposefully poison your own child. I definitely hope that this is true because you can't sure the government under most circumstances. Go google "sovereign immunity" and try again.

            GF.
            • I would never poison my own child.

              Local governments get sued all the time. Find enough lawyers and they'll go after whoever the county/state hired to maintain the grounds, the commisioner that signed the order for the bush, etc...
        • I see your point of that the courts do not always agree with me, however that does not mean that the the courts are always right.

          An extremely young child does often have poor judgment, this is a given. IMHO this does not excuse the parent from not watching the child or put the blame on someone that has taken some steps, like putting up a fence as stated in the parent post.

          I will admit that there have been cased where both the neighbor and parents should be at total fault for a child getting themselves in
        • Re:NIfty toy (Score:4, Interesting)

          by roystgnr ( 4015 ) <roystgnr@ticam.utexas . e du> on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:36PM (#6593864) Homepage
          That leaves us with an extremely young child with poor judgment in an uncompensable situation just because someone likes to maintain a rollercoaster in his yard

          To make this sentence correct, the word "just" needs to be deleted and the words "and because someone else likes to let their kids run around other peoples' yards unsupervised" added.

          It is not the parent's lawsuit -- it is the child's lawsuit.

          If it were really the child's lawsuit, then:

          The damages would only be taken from the maintainer of the "attractive nuisance" after the parents had demonstrated an inability to pay.

          They would be placed in a trust for the child that his guardians could only touch to cover medical bills.

          The child would be placed in a foster family away from those parents, who, even if there were no backyard roller coasters, may be unable to successfully raise children in a world with operating railroads, roads full of fast cars, alleys full of junkies and muggers, and all sorts of other dangers that can be lethal to young children running around public (not to mention private) property unsupervised.
          • If it were really the child's lawsuit, then:

            The damages would only be taken from the maintainer of the "attractive nuisance" after the parents had demonstrated an inability to pay.


            There would be a weighing of relative responsibility for the harm to the child. This is the responsibility of the jury.

            They would be placed in a trust for the child that his guardians could only touch to cover medical bills.

            Minor settlements must be approved by the courts to ensure that the funds benefit the child and payme
          • Re:NIfty toy (Score:3, Informative)

            That leaves us with an extremely young child with poor judgment in an uncompensable situation just because someone likes to maintain a rollercoaster in his yard

            This required a separate answer.

            World with "good parents", "bad parents", "no roller coaster", "roller coaster", "injury from roller coaster", "no injury from roller coaster"

            My matrix develops the following scenarios:

            1. If "good parents" and "roller coaster"; no injury from roller coaster.
            2. If "bad parents" and "roller coaster"; injury from rol
            • >>You are hung up on this "trespassing" notion. Young kids can't trespass because they lack the requisite intent. Therefore, you folks are seeking a substitute by which the intent can be derived through the child by the parent's actions or inactions. Sorry, but the legal status of the child and the remedies available to the child do not depend upon the parent's actions or inactions. The child (rightly so) has a separate and independent legal status under the law.

              What if there's a fence? I suspect any
              • What if there's a fence? I suspect any kid who is big enough and strong enough to jump a decent fence would also know that they aren't supposed to.

                Aren't we geeks? Don't we know that physical size and strength have little to do with judgment and intelligence? Besides, you would be absolutely amazed at what a 7 year old can do if you turn your back on the little fucker. There's a movie about it called "Gone in 60 Seconds".

                Yes, fencing and efforts to exclude are considered, but not in the manner you sugges
                • >>Besides, you would be absolutely amazed at what a 7 year old can do

                  If they're 7, they should know not to enter a fenced in area where they are not allowed. I know 5 year olds who have known stuff like that for some time...
        • That leaves us with an extremely young child with poor judgment in an uncompensable situation just because someone likes to maintain a rollercoaster in his yard

          Yes but this description of "extremely young child" explains the thinking abilities of a large number of 13-24 year olds. in this country.

          you know the ones.... they think that drunk is neat/cool and vandalisim or violating laws are cooler.

          should they be included in this as "young children"?
    • If you're breaking into my house and fall down the stairs, I'm not liable. Likewise if you're breaking into my backyard and using my rollercoaster.
      • Re:NIfty toy (Score:5, Informative)

        by ashkar ( 319969 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @10:58PM (#6593729)
        Actually, in at least several states in the U.S. you are liable even if the injured party is "uninvited".

        Sometimes my pride in being American tastes like shit.
        • Re:NIfty toy (Score:5, Informative)

          by Plix ( 204304 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:47PM (#6593907) Homepage
          That's true in New York including if the person is trespassing (I realize that you were implying thus, but I figured I'd just state it explicitly). You can also be prosecuted for what's called an "attractive nuisance" (which a backyard rollercoaster would probably qualify for).
          • You can also be prosecuted for what's called an "attractive nuisance"

            You're confusing criminal and civil law. Attractive nuisance is a tort doctrine, which is civil law. Prosecutions occur only in the context of criminal law.

            Your statement is roughly the equivalent of saying that someone has been electrocuted by fire. The result may be that someone is dead, but the method you describe is impossible.

            GF.
      • I don't have a link handy, but I remember reading about a case a couple years ago that went something like this: A burgler was walking along the roof of someone's house to try to get into an upstairs window. Unbeknownst(sp?) to him, the owner was doing some sort of construction to his roof (installing a skylight or something) and he fell through. The burgler sued and won because the judge said the jury couldn't consider the fact that he was trespassing in the case.
    • Keep the car locked up. That would significantly decrease the chance someone would hurt themselves on it.

    • "So in closing your honor, the child saw a ROLLER COASTER in the back yard of another individual, so he HAD NO CHOICE to climb the fence, cover the barb wire with a pillowcase, throw meat to the dogs, sneak out at the property at night, chloroform the owner of the house, and steal the proper keys to get the device running. It is that injury that makes the defendant liable for all the injuries and damages up to $17 million that my client has asked for."

      "We the jury, being too stupid to understand per
  • by dicepackage ( 526497 ) <dicepackage@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday August 01, 2003 @10:27PM (#6593610) Homepage
    Technical Info: Style: Out and Back Height: 17 feet First Drop: 20 feet Top Speed: 20 mph Track Length: 444 feet Max Positive G's: 3.5 Max Negative G's: -0.2 Material: Pressure Treated Southern Yellow Pine Number of Drops: 4 Lift hill angle: 26.6 degrees 1st Drop: 54 degrees 2nd Drop: 43 degrees Curve banking: 50 degrees Duration: About 1 minute Cart: Single Car, Wood and Steel Construction Capacity: Single Rider Chain Lift: 1HP Motor, 3/4" Pitch Roller Chain/Sprockets Overall: 9,500 lbs (4.75 Tons) Lumber 7,000 Screws/Nails 2,900 board feet of lumber Investment: $5.5k Started Construction: September 1997
  • loops. (Score:5, Funny)

    by stagl ( 569675 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @10:30PM (#6593622) Homepage
    what? no loops? ;) (i'm hoping some crazy guy will take this challenge so i can see another article entitled "bigger badder roller coster")
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2003 @10:30PM (#6593626)
    So, do slightly crazy folks in other countries build homemade roller coasters as well, or have the slightly crazy Americans got a monopoly on this?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2003 @10:33PM (#6593638)
    I'm looking at it and thinking that I will be reading about this guy when he gets a Darwin award...
  • by pHatidic ( 163975 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @10:40PM (#6593656)
    Anyone read the title and think that AOL switched from CD-ROMs to Laserdiscs? :)
  • Time? (Score:4, Funny)

    by MoThugz ( 560556 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @10:40PM (#6593657) Homepage
    Jeremy is, clearly, a man with too much time and money on his hands!


    He should spend some hours on HTML when he's done with the roller-coaster.

    The roller-coaster is something really cool... can't say the same about the site though!
    • Re:Time? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:25AM (#6595017) Homepage
      Jeremy is, clearly, a man with too much time and money on his hands!

      I am sure that after Jeremy finishes college... he will get a better job than you and by 35 own a hellova(tm) more stuff and have much bigger piles of money than you BECAUSE of this.

      This is the kind of person that already at 22 has more accomplishments not only personal but in the workplace that 90% of the population. a 22 year old with a project manager title and corperate engineering experience already on his resume.

      sorry, but this lad is a better man that most of us here (Yes including me.)
      • at my old job, they gave out Project Manager titles, and Vice presidentships with boxes of Tide. Titles mean nothing these days, back that title up with experience then we'll talk.

        The way I see it, they give out the title for accountability, the more people accountable, the easier the managements job is to point fingers at who to blame when THEIR butts are in the sling.
  • by ewhenn ( 647989 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @10:46PM (#6593681)
    bag of popcorn: 3$
    300 yards of lumber: 5.5K
    labor to assemble: 6.7K

    watching the neighbors annoying kid puke his guts out: priceless

  • It's a good thing this guy didn't break any patents on roller coasters [psu.edu]. Although to be fair, most of those have expired, and patents on actual physical machines are palatable.

    Oh, does this remind anybody else of the Cartmanland [geocities.com] episode of South Park where Cartman owns his own theme park?

  • Too much money? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2003 @10:48PM (#6593690)
    If the poster read his resume, he'd see:

    "Oklahoma EPSCoR Stipend Recipient - Personal roller coaster project - 1999"

    So, he doesn't necessarily have too much of his own money on his hands...
  • by Barlo_Mung_42 ( 411228 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:09PM (#6593767) Homepage
    Soon he will have to let in two people to pay for the security guard. Then two more to pay for the upkeep. Then more for candy sales. Then he'll get all pissed off because he doesn't have it all to himself anymore and sell it back.
    End of story.
  • by vudufixit ( 581911 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:15PM (#6593788)
    I'm really tired of hearing normative statements like that. If someone has earned that money and/or time to pursue a hobby, no matter how unconventional, it is their absolute right to do so. Before we humans started generating agricultural surpluses above what we could hunt and gather, one person's idle pursuits could impact the ability of a whole community to feed itself. We don't have that situation now, and shouldn't feel the need to criticize anyone's idleness, if they have earned the right to it.
    • Ever heard of irony......?
    • ...Before we humans started generating agricultural surpluses above what we could hunt and gather, one person's idle pursuits could impact the ability of a whole community to feed itself. We don't have that situation now...

      I take it by "community" you mean "the neighbourhood in which you live," because it appears as if we are *not* adequately feeding our global community. So, in other words, your statement is complete bullshit, even if I *do* agree with the fact that one's hobby shouldn't be criticised.

    • "Before we humans started generating agricultural surpluses above what we could hunt and gather, one person's idle pursuits could impact the ability of a whole community to feed itself. "

      Then why can't the human race feed itself today?
  • ok go ahead (Score:2, Funny)

    by citroidSD ( 517889 )
    and post jokes about slashdot taking webserver for rollercoaster ride here...
    • Following on the heels of previously reported backyard roller coasters (here and here)

      I guess they get a free bonus slashdotting.
  • by nhavar ( 115351 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:33PM (#6593851) Homepage
    Ah to be young and bored in Oklahoma again... this reminds me just how little there is to do there. You either work yourself to death, drink the boredom away, or find a hobby like this guy (which I assume involves both).
  • Great job! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:41PM (#6593883)
    Since nobody else has said it,
    "Great job!"

    Of course, all of the early posts either talk about how much time it took, how boring Oklahoma is, how it can be dangerous, etc. People like Jeremy are actually DOING things instead of reading about them and being critical.

    Well done!
  • Pot-kettle-black (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WasterDave ( 20047 ) <davep AT zedkep DOT com> on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:43PM (#6593893)
    A man with too much time on his hands builds a rollercoater? This is from people who spend all their spare time building kernels for a community developed operating system, pissing around with config files, fighting off RPM dependencies then telling the world how easy it all is?

    Do you not think there's a little, y'know, irony in the whole thing? Maybe "Rolldot. News for people that make rollercoasters. Stuff that matters." runs the occasional story about people making operating systems in their back bedroom.

    Dave
  • by ndvaughan ( 576319 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @12:01AM (#6593951)
    Not one of the pics (or movies, I believe) has anyone actually IN the car (if you can call that little wooden box a "car") as the coaster is operating. One pic has a view of the top of the first hill, but he could have just climbed up to take it.

    I have a feeling the first day he tested it out, it either :
    A) Caused serious injury, or
    B) Didn't work (couldn't make it up hill or around track)

    Just my suspicion.

    Dallas
    • If he's riding, He wouldn't be able to take pictures. And Depending on how he stops the cart it might be moving too fast if he lets it go unloaded. (It weighs 100 lbs instead of 300)
    • Well, nothing is said about him testing it... I can make some guesses though. My first test would be an unloaded car, which should make it around. Then I would figgure the person capacity of the car (one or two people it appears) and put 400 lbs per person (average person is less than 200 lbs, so double it for a margin of error) in the car, again the car should make it around. Solve all problems the above tests reveal. Then I would start looking for things like dolls that are similear to humans in

  • by The *Amazing* Larry ( 618253 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @12:29AM (#6594039)
    All I can say is personal rollercoasters are a must-have for all true geeks . Check out www.speedcult.com For those of you who know about it, this will be on the esplanade at The Man this year (we were 2 streets off center camp last year) ((www.burningman.com)). If you're in the Detroit area and want to ride it, we can probably work something out. Oh, Free Spin is by FAR the best.
  • Resume (Score:5, Informative)

    by mrpuffypants ( 444598 ) * <mrpuffypants@ g m a i l . com> on Saturday August 02, 2003 @12:31AM (#6594043)
    Check his resume and you'll see that he has some experience with Roller Coasters: Not only is he a mechanical engineer, but also once woked for Arrow Dynamics, which is one of the foremost Roller Coaster companies in the world.
  • by DunbarTheInept ( 764 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @12:56AM (#6594128) Homepage
    It looks like the coaster is made of bare wood, without any sort of weather seal on it of any kind. It seems to me that unless he paints it or stains it, rotting is going to make it unsafe in a few years.
  • by Farley Mullet ( 604326 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @01:11AM (#6594177)

    Did anyone else click this link to an old coaster article in the story text [slashdot.org], and see how michael had added a cute little "sorry buddy" note about slashdotting the guy's server, and even posted links to mirrors? Now the /. effect is positively a marketing tool; we're told that we can "beat the rush" and see the sites before the server is reduced to a smoking husk if we buy a subscription.

  • by m33p ( 635261 )
    This isn't quite a roller coaster, but it is one goddamn impressive ride: http://www.speedcult.com/speedcult/coaster_a.html [speedcult.com]

    There is a reason that disclaimer is on the ticket...

    http://stories.about.ticketstubs.org/story.stub/41 [ticketstubs.org]

  • But I find it hard to associate the words "biggest", "baddest" and "behemoth" to a 20 foot tall rollercoaster.

    Maybe "miniature" and "for toddlers" are better ways to describe it...
  • This really annoys me. People boast of freedom, but when I was a child we actually had far more freedom in many things than modern children. I expect the childhood mortality rate was slightly higher as a result of accidents, and definitely higher because of the lack of modern medical techniques, but I'm not sure it was really significant. The pressure on parents to insulate children from reality, on the other hand, is significant. It may be true that it is mostly bad parents that fail to teach their childr
    • Perhaps, but I hope this guy has some way of keeping unwanteds out anyway. I can just see some local teens getting drunk and putting a few cuts into critical supports and him not noticing before a ride one day...

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