MACK RIDES | Carowinds
Charlotte, North Carolina
So much for Southern hospitality. For all the attention a shiny new coaster generates, the Byrd family wishes you would walk away. A sign reading “No Trespassin’” hangs in a tree just across from an outdoor bathtub at the entrance to Carowinds’ new “Copperhead Strike” launch coaster. Granny Byrd has a secret—and an eye for detail.
“People have gotten off the ride and said wonderful things about the ride—and the theming,” says Pat Jones, Carowinds vice president.
The new roller coaster from Mack Rides, with theming by the Weber Group, rolls right out of the rustic station (where used truck tires hang from the rafters) and into a jojo roll maneuver, a heartline twist encountered at a slow speed. The slick trains modeled after a 1930s coupe—complete with working headlights, chrome grills, and windshields—invert riders gently before pulling into the Byrd family’s barn. Among the bubbling copper kettles, riders overhear a conversation where Granny Byrd reveals she’s making moonshine. As the illegal concoction overheats, trains launch out of the barn at 50 mph and into a vertical loop designed to decelerate, so riders can spend more time upside down. The 16-passenger trains navigate five inversions and a series of tight twists and turns.
“New—that we’ve never done before—is how we placed the second launch over an airtime hill,” explains Thorsten Koebele, chief officer of sales and marketing for Mack Rides.
The second launch accelerates into an inversion placed 82 feet tall—the tallest point of the ride.
“Copperhead Strike” anchors the refreshed Blue Ridge Junction, inspired by the Carolinas’ easy-going culture. A second ride re-debuted next to the new coaster as Carowinds returned its Larson International Flying Scooters ride to service, “Mountain Gliders.” The area is also home to a towering outdoor fireplace, complete with rocking chairs. The stone hearth will provide comfort when temperatures drop during the shoulder season, as Carowinds’ parent, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, looks to further expand the park.
“It’s broad family fun as we touch the area and make it comfortable, really evoking a sense of place,” says Cedar Fair CEO Richard Zimmerman. “We think Charlotte has a lot of untapped potential as a growth market.”