That was 22 years ago.
More than 11,000 rides later — 11,290, to be exact, as of Oct. 13 — Henry Sievers still can’t get enough. “I knew it was fast,” Sievers said, recalling his first ride on the Mean Streak at Cedar Point when the ride opened in 1991. “It was great. I’ve been riding it ever since.” During Cedar Point’s operating season, Sievers rides Mean Streak about 30 times a day, on average. Sometimes more, sometimes less. But when he says “riding,” consider adding the word religiously next to it.
He has kept meticulous track of his rides over the decades.
It’s a curious feat, and it has earned him the name “Mean Streak Henry.”
There’s something about the coaster’s thrills and noises — the trains thundering by, the creaking of the wood frame — that continues to lure Sievers, day after day.
He said he loves the view that Mean Streak offers of the lake and the amusement park.
His love for coasters was ignited when he was a 12-year-old boy growing up in New York. At Eldridge Park, with his mom and dad by his side, he rode his first wooden coaster.
If memory serves him right, it was smaller than Cedar Point’s Junior Gemini. “It was great,” Sievers said.
Then, when he was visiting Geauga Lake in 1985, a chance conversation got him to visit Cedar Point. “Someone said I should check out this park called Cedar Point, that was about an hour away,” he said. “I’ve been coming ever since.”
The first coaster he rode on his first visit: Gemini. “I rode it and rode it,” he said. Mean Streak came along a few years later, and a love affair was born. “I always see Mean Streak Henry,” Cedar Point general manager John Hildebrandt said. “He always has a smile on his face and he is always walking to the Mean Streak.”
When Sievers retired in 2008 from his job as a custodial worker at Corning Community College, he and his wife started living at the local KOA campground six months out of the year. The arrangement gives him plenty of opportunity to visit Cedar Point several times each day during the summer.
In the winters he and his wife return to their home in New York.
Sievers could quite likely claim rights to a “Most Rides on Mean Streak” award, if such recognition existed. But the park doesn’t track any individual’s rides, Hildebrandt said.
Ultimately, Mean Streak Henry is a living testament to mankind’s love of coasters — especially the ones at Cedar Point.
“Cedar Point is an emotional experience,” Hildebrandt said. “(Guests) bond with certain rides.”