Maverick thrills on debut day|Excitement soars for ground-hugging roller coaster

SANDUSKY The Maverick galloped down the track for its inaugural ride Saturday. Roller coaster enthusiasts were not far
May 24, 2010



The Maverick galloped down the track for its inaugural ride Saturday.

Roller coaster enthusiasts were not far behind as they showed up in the thousands to ride Cedar Point's newest attraction.

Brian Steinriede, 18, of Cincinnati, showed up early to be one of the first to ride the $21 million coaster.

"It was exciting. Never got boring," Steinriede said. "You got that pit in your stomach when you got to the top of the hills."

Diego Raymond, 18, of Baltimore, Md., showed up right when the park opened at 10 a.m.

"It was extremely smooth. No bumps. No imperfections," Raymond said.

Cedar Point's 17th roller coaster was originally scheduled to open May 12, but was delayed after tests revealed the ride's trains put an excessive amount of stress on three sections of the track.

Park officials estimated the ride would be ready by early June, but it was ready for Memorial Day weekend two weeks later.

Dale Nenadal, 56, of Ravenna, felt the park was justified in delaying the opening of the ride until now.

"As far as I'm concerned, they're making it more safe," Nenadal said.

Raymond didn't even know the Maverick was open this weekend.

"It took me completely by surprise," Raymond said. "That was pot luck."

"We were excited the minute we knew the track had arrived," said park spokesman Tony Clark. "Once it was here, they worked round the clock to put it in."

Three sections of the track were removed and replaced this week with newly fabricated tracks made in Europe.

Throughout the morning and mid-afternoon, rain soaked many visitors. But thrill seekers' spirits weren't dampened as some waited in line for up to 2 1/2 hours to get on the Maverick. The sign posted in front of the ride estimated a two hour wait.

Many people were dressed in red and blue ponchos and appeared drenched when they got off the rides. The rain let up later in the afternoon, and lines began to fill up soon after.

Around 1 p.m., the Maverick experienced a slight 10-15 minute delay, but was up and running the rest of the day. The coaster had no major delays, Clark said.

Christina Frasher, 24, and her husband, Todd, 25, both of Louisville, returned to Cedar Point a year after celebrating their honeymoon at the park. The unexpected ride on the Maverick was also an early anniversary present since they will be celebrating their one-year anniversary today.

"We'd recommend it to anyone. It's right up there with Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster," Todd Frasher said.

"It was a lot better than I expected," Christina Frasher said. "Once you're actually on there, it's really fun. There were a lot of twists and turns."

Beat Fluckiger, 33, and his wife, Sylvana, 34, both of Bern, Switzerland, are avid roller coaster fans, but this was their first trip to Cedar Point.

"It's the best coaster I've ever (ridden)," said Beat Fluckiger about the Maverick. "It's really cool. We don't have many coasters in Europe."

Heather Compton, 16, of Toledo, had never ridden a roller coaster before Saturday, and chose the Maverick as her first.

"It was phenomenal," Compton said. "It was well worth the wait."