June 20, 2008
St. Louis -- Six Flags St. Louis held the grand opening for the high anticipated $7-million Evel Knievel wooden roller coaster yesterday. Friends and family of the famed daredevil were in attendance at the grand opening event.
This compact twister roller coaster designed by Great Coasters International offers the type of intense, high-adrenaline thrills one would expect from a coaster bearing the name Evel Knievel.
According to Six Flags, from the moment it crest the lift hill, taking the first 80-foot plunge at a banked 90-degree left turn until the train pulls into the station, Evel Knievel delivers unparalleled thrills.
Passengers ride in 24-passenger "Millennium Flyer" trains that fly along 2,700-feet of track with features like high banked turns, fan curves, camelbacks, a double down drop, and sixteen hills. During the ride the twisted maze of wood track crosses over itself 14 times.
Each of the two trains sports the red, white and blue colors that Evel himself proudly wore on jump after jump during his remarkable career.
"We are honored to be the home of Evel Knievel, the first and only roller coaster named after this larger-than-life figure," said Dave Roemer, Six Flags St. Louis park president. "Everything about this ride is first-class, and Evel Knievel will quickly become the most talked about wooden coaster in the industry."
While the younger generation may not be familiar with Evel Knievel, the ride will serve as a first-time introduction to the life and times of America's legendary daredevil.
Six Flags has placed monitors through the queue line that will play clips of some of Evel's greatest jumps and a series of billboards will walk guests through a timeline of his legendary career.
"I've been thrilling people all my life with my death defying stunts. And I've proven after a spectacular fall that you're never a failure as long as you try to get up. What better way to create a new generation of Evel Knievel fans than by partnering with Six Flags for this exciting attraction. I'm thrilled to be part of it." - Evel Knievel, September 2007
Evel Knievel passed away November 2007 but his legacy lives on through many tributes including the annual Evel Knievel Days in his hometown of Butte, Montana, a wax statue at Madame Tussauds in Las Vegas, a motorcycle and memorabilia display in the Smithsonian Institute and now the legend rides on at Six Flags St. Louis with the Evel Knievel coaster.
Evel was instrumental in creating the ride's theme and was honored to have the coaster named after him, according to Six Flags.
Evel Knievel began wowing people with his jumps in 1965 and earned the name of America's Legendary Daredevil for his heroic and death-defying feats. When he retired in 1976, Evel held the Guinness Book of World Records for the most broken bones and had also captured ABC's Wide World of Sports largest TV viewing audience with his Ohio jump in 1974.
With the addition of Evel Knievel, Six Flags St. Louis now offers a total of eight roller coasters, the most of any park in Missouri. Six Flags St. Louis is also one of only 11 theme parks in the United States to offer three or more wooden roller coasters.
Photos courtesy of Six Flags St. Louis. All rights reserved.
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