Kentucky Kingdom's newest roller coaster is the first of its kin - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky Kingdom's newest roller coaster is the first of its kind

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky Kingdom opens this weekend to thrill seekers and coaster enthusiasts, and the amusement park is rolling out its newest roller coaster.

The Storm Chaser roller coaster is the first of its kind in the United States and WDRB got to go for a ride Thursday.

"On the one-hundred-foot drop, there's a unique barrel roll, that means the coaster makes a complete turn as it's descending, and that is unique to North America," said Ed Hart, owner of Kentucky Kingdom.

Storm Chaser is the only steel roller coaster to have this type of drop.

The $8 million ride was developed by Rocky Mountain Construction, which has designed some of the world's top-rated roller coasters.

"They are able to do so many different elements in a ride so fast, and that's what makes Rocky Mountain Coaster so unique ... That's what makes this put Kentucky Kingdom on the map," said Marshall Cobb, a coaster enthusiast.

The Louisville amusement park has come a long way since it closed in 2010.

It sat empty for three years until Hart brought new life and hundred of jobs to the property in 2013.

He invested $53 million in improvements, including the water park and new rides like this one.

"The lift hill is pretty quick, and once you get to that first turnaround, it's an amazing feeling to go through a barrel roll on the first drop," Cobb said. 

"And the second hill has a lot of airtime at the top of the hill, which is what you want in a coaster."

Although it hasn't opened yet, Storm Chaser was named by USA TODAY as one of 10 most anticipated coasters of the year.

"I think it will be a huge hit for Kentucky, for Louisville and for Kentucky Kingdom," Cobb said.

"It is definitely the best roller coaster I've ever been on. It's amazing," said Brent Yin, a Purdue University engineering student who rode the ride for the first time Thursday.

"It's all about the thrills, and that's what we're trying to do -- bring thrills to the community and thrills to the region," Hart said.  

The amusement park re-opens this Saturday for the summer.

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