Get ready for the rootin'est, tootin'est ride this side of the Mississippi.
After a weeks-long advertising campaign, which featured a cartoon strip of a hillbilly carrying a shotgun, Cedar Point unveiled Shoot the Rapids on Thursday morning, the latest ride for guns-blazin', rollercoaster-lovin' varmits.
According to the park's Web site, the 2,100-foot-long journey includes a 49-foot plunge into roaring river rapids at its conclusion, and appears to revolve around some sort of Wild West-meets-Prohibition theme.
"The feudin's been goin' on fer decades," the park's Web site says. "Now, climb aboard and immerse yourself in one of the wildest water expeditions this side of the Appalachians!"
"You'll board your boat inside the Crystal Rock Bottling Company and travel through rivers, around an illegal moonshine still and encounter some wild feudin' and fightin'. We still have no clue what they're fightin' over (it could be Whyte Lightnin'), but yer sure to be a part of it!"
Shoot the Rapids will be the third water ride at Cedar Point, along with Thunder Canyon river-rafting ride and Snake River Falls, said Cedar Point spokesman Robin Innes.
Riders will climb aboard the ride on one of 10 boats, ascend one of two lift hills and "shoot" through whitewater rapids.
The jaunt will last three minutes, and includes an 85-foot drop into whitewater rapids in addition to the 49-foot plunge at the end. It will cost more than $10.5 million to build, making it the most expensive water ride ever built at Cedar Point.
Innes said the ride was approved earlier this year, and the recession didn't affect its design or implementation. Construction will start by the end of the month. It will be located on the Frontier Trail.
"I think the best thing about it is it will be a very popular ride," Innes said. "We think people will really like it."
The marketing campaign preceding today's announcement drummed up as much attention as the announcement itself.
For months, many speculated about Whyte Lightning, the name of the comic strip involving the shotgun-ready hillbilly, as well as the name of the mysterious drink at the center of the ride's marketing strategy.
A Cedar Point Web site, www.whytelightning.com, promised "a beverage unlike any other" that is "Bold. Exciting. Refreshing."
Half-gallon bottles with the "Whyte Lightning" label were delivered to news agencies last month. Each bottle contained a comic strip featuring the hillbilly carrying the shotgun.
The ambiguous clues started a frenzy among coaster junkies across the country.
On Thursday, the guessing games continued after the announcement. Asked if Whyte Lightning will play an integral role in the ride or if a real drink might be created, Innes played coy.
"We'll just have to wait and see," he said.
The ride shares the name with another attraction, Shoot the Rapids, which was one of Cedar Point's first water rides in the 1970s.
In 1982, Shoot the Rapids was dismantled to build White Water Landing, another traditional water flume ride, which was then disassembled at the end of 2005 to make room for the Maverick.
Other than the name, the new ride isn't connected to the original, Innes said.
The ride was designed and manufactured by IntaRide of Glen Burnie, Md., the same company that built the Maverick, Top Thrill Dragster and Millennium Force, as well as Thunder Canyon. Shoot the Rapids will have a capacity of about 1,200 riders per hour.
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