published Sunday, May 12th, 2013

“Thar’s silver in them thar hills!”

Mary Eloise H. Leake
Outlaw Run shakes things up with the world’s first double barrel roll (720 degrees) on a wooden coaster.
Outlaw Run shakes things up with the world’s first double barrel roll (720 degrees) on a wooden coaster.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

“Thar’s silver in them thar hills!”

That’s Silver Dollar City, just outside of Branson, Mo. Perched in a scenic area of the Ozarks, it’s been filled with a passel of whooping and hollering since March 15.

Why?

The 1880s-era theme park ripped the wrappings off its new $10 million roller coaster, Outlaw Run. Using cutting-edge technology, Idaho’s Rocky Mountain Construction designed and built the wooden roller coaster with steel wheels. Outlaw Run packs such a wallop that two posses — Coasterforce and the European Coaster club, both based in the United Kingdom — are crossing the pond to hitch a ride.

Those who ride the coaster encounter the world’s:

First and only double barrel roll (720 degrees) on a woodie (coaster fanatics’ name for wooden coasters);

Steepest dive (81 degrees, 162 feet) on a wood coaster (more than 16 stories);

Only trio of upsidedown twists on a woodie;

Second-fastest wood coaster, topping out at 68 mph.

The scream machine follows the lay of the land on the edge of Wilson’s Family Farm at the park’s border. Instead of clean-cutting the picturesque mountainous track area, trees were left as close as safety allowed to let riders feel as if they’re being slung into the trees.

Outlaw Run starts off traveling slowly up the 107-foot lift hill. Jumpstarting its first gut kick is nose-diving down the 81-degree — almost vertical — descent. Then it swoops into banked turns, double downs, curves, wave turns, barrel rolls, which produce a total of nine episodes of “air time,” coaster-speak for negative G-forces that lift the rider from the seat.

Based on Concord stagecoaches of bygone years, the four-person carriages dish out a steady ride on the fast 2,937-foot custom RMC Topper Track. Wooden coasters often get lambasted because their ride can be herky-jerky, but this new track ditches that problem.

Sniff the air. Smell the wood? Underpinning this great track is 450,000 board feet of lumber, attached together by 89,000 bolts and 59,000 wood screws.

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