Anyone who knows a thing about rides in the Amusement Industry has heard of S&S and Stan Checketts, known world wide for their series of thrilling tower rides. Last year S&S made two major announcements... the purchase of Arrow Dynamics and the creation of a new Wooden Coaster division, picking up most of the creative people from CCI shortly after their former company closed up shop. Now S&S is ready to take the world by storm through a slew of innovative roller coaster projects.
S&S had once again invited me to journey to their Logan, Utah headquarters for a couple of days to take a long look at their latest creation... a little device we had a glimpse of last year called the Screaming Squirrel.
The Screaming Squirrel - In short, the Screaming Squirrel takes the idea of a common Wild Mouse style coaster, but takes it to the next level... S&S style. The idea was to take the typical switch back track found on virtually every Mouse coaster and then to turn it sideways.
First you’ll quickly climb to the top of the steep 88 foot tall lift hill where you quickly come face to face with the end of the world. The four passenger car quickly speeds up as it approaches and runs right off the edge of a cliff... only to flip you upside-down.
Just before the blood starts to rush entirely into your head you realize that all of your body weight is comfortably held in place by the new innovative lap restraint system, instead of jamming your neck and shoulders up into the bars. Before you know what’s happened, you hit another curve and the car rights itself back up once again... only to zoom off towards yet another plunge over the edge and under it once again.
Of course, I wasn’t the only one who had the pleasure to take this latest ride for a spin. Over the course of the day, it looks like every school child and half of the adults in Logan had come out to S&S to take a test spin on it. Several groups of kids were running from the exit right back into the entrance to ride the Screaming Squirrel over and over again. They just couldn’t get enough of the cool feeling of being held upside-down. If your worried about being held upside down a little too long... don’t. Everyone seemed to think that you were held upside down just the right ammount of time.
Meanwhile, the ride was thrilling enough for the teens to cause spontaneous screaming each time the car would dive straight down towards the earth, only to flip upside-down instead. And lets face it... this ride just looks great when the car has a full load of teenage girls with long hair hanging in the wind.
It’s not just the kiddies who love the Screaming Squirrel. The ride was designed to be a “Family Ride”, with an experience mellow enough that parents can take their children on it without fear of discomfort.
For the parks, there are a ton of benefits as well. Like an S&S tower ride, the Screaming Squirrel takes up hardly any land at all, making it a perfect addition to any park with very little room to expand. The same can be said about the ride’s height, coming in under 90 feet will allow for virtually every park to buy one without fear of height restrictions. If that wasn’t good enough, we’ve heard that the price tag for these rides will be just right, coming in under $2 million.
The Future of S&S - What does the future hold for S&S? S&S have several incredible new ideas on the drawing table for amazing new rides just waiting for someone to buy them. The X coaster concept is not dead and S&S already have a set of plans to steal back the record from Cedar Point for the tallest and fastest ride on the planet. More wooden coasters are on the way and we haven’t seen the last of the incredible Sky Sling.
Stay tuned!! We haven’t seen the last of Stan Checketts and S&S.