Justin Doede and his mother Denise tucked themselves into their football shaped seats and waited eagerly to take off.
As the harness fastened over Justin’s Detroit Lions jersey, the five-hour drive from Huron Township to Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh felt more worth it with every second.
Steel Curtain — Kennywood’s newest Pittsburgh Steelers themed roller coaster — was the two’s 175th ride they were going to conquer together. They’ve been coaster buddies since Denise took Justin, 22, to Michigan’s Adventure when he was 10 years old.
“Whenever we find a new park she’s ready to go with me,” Justin said.
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Friday morning they were among the first 24 riders to break in the 4,000-foot-long black and gold painted coaster, which is reported to have a corkscrew 197 feet off the ground — the largest inversion in the world.
They couldn’t wait.
“Here we go,” the voice of Steelers broadcaster Bill Hillgrove announced over the loud speaker.
The coaster lifted and exploded out its gate taking the sounds of the Doedes and the other riders’ screams with it.
After two minutes, nine inversions and a max drop of 215 feet all at 75 mph later, it was over.
And it was awesome.
“Definitely give it a try, It’s outstanding,” Justin said over the phone, following his sixth trip on the ride.
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Roller coaster fanatics will get a chance to ride Steel Curtain, the first ride in Kennywood’s new Steelers Country part of the park on Saturday. The Doedes won the chance to sit in the last cart of the first ride after Justin won Kennywood’s online scratch-off and word search competition in 2018.
Justin had to find and decode clues to uncover what the park’s newest project — then code named “Project 412” — was going to be.
After multiple tries, he got it and was shocked to become part of roller coaster history.
“I couldn’t believe I had actually won,” Justin said. “When I first found out I said to myself “Oh my god, I get to try out a brand new ride.'”
Justin was one of 12 winners and got to choose who he wanted to ride alongside with. It was an easy choice.
Denise, who has loved roller coasters since she was young, relishes being able to spend time with her son.
“It’s just great to have a child who enjoys it as much as I do and share these experience together,” Denise said.
The two have become more than just roller coaster fans over the years: They’re experts. Justin, a senior at Toledo, hopes to design roller coasters of his own. He has coaster designs on his computers, and likes creating many twists and turns.
Maybe one day, the two will share a ride together on a coaster designed by Justin.
“That would be one of the most awesome experiences of my life,” Denise said.
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Published at Fri, 12 Jul 2019 21:47:43 +0000