Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Well folks, this is it...the results of the final showdown are in and it shakes out like this:

MIDWEST / SOUTH 1. The Voyage, Holiday World, IN (57%)
NORTHEAST 3. Phoenix, Knoebel's, PA (43%)

The winner of the first-ever Wood Coaster Madness is the coaster we all thought would wind up on top, The Voyage. Congratulations to The Gravity Group and Holiday World for earning yet another (turkey?) feather in their cap for this outstanding ride. That said, Voyage fans, don't rejoice too soon. Even though Voyage won this match-up (and this tournament), it was actually trailing to the seemingly unstoppable Phoenix by as many as two or three votes as late in the game as Sunday. A late surge after a "get out the vote" posting to Theme Park Review resulted in Voyage pulling ahead for good by a total of five votes. The final vote total was Voyage 20, Phoenix 15. As such, kudos to runner-up Phoenix for earning second place in Wood Coaster Madness...and "earning" is the operative word, as Phoenix defeated two 1-seeded rides to get this far.

There were some other questions to be settled, so without further ado, let's get to it....

The consolation match-up to determine third place pitted the two rides eliminated in the Frightening Four against each other. The results were:

INTERNATIONAL 1. Balder, Liseberg, Sweden (40%)
WEST 2. Hades, Mount Olympus, WI (60%)

So Hades is our third place ride, while Balder will have to settle for fourth. Add another "thumbs up" to Gravity Group's resume for having conceived two of the top three rides in the tournament.

The four-way battle royale for fifth place featured the four rides eliminated in the Exciting Eight round of the tournament. Here's how it went down:

WEST 1. Tremors, Silverwood, ID (8%)
NORTHEAST 1. Boulder Dash, Lake Compounce, CT (33%)
MIDWEST/SOUTH 3. Thunderhead, Dollywood, TN (48%)
INTERNATIONAL 6. Colossos, Heide Park, Germany (11%)

With nearly a majority of the vote among the four, Thunderhead earns the final spot in the top 5. From the looks of things, only me and one other voter consider Tremors to be the best of the four. Congrats to Dollywood and GCI on Thundie's impressive performance throughout Wood Coaster Madness.

So which coaster was the (theoretical) worst coaster to be invited to compete in Wood Coaster Madness? Two U.S. coasters were eliminated in the first round without a single vote. I asked which of the two you liked better and this was how you voted:

NORTHEAST 30. Big Dipper, Camden Park, WV (52%)
MIDWEST/SOUTH 32. Twisted Twins, Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, KY (48%)

By one vote, you prefer Big Dipper over Twisted Twins, making the Six Flags siblings the least favorite U.S. coaster in the tourney. Though I'm sure living in the shadow of Holiday World and The Voyage can't help, congratulations (?) anyways to Six Flags for, well, reminding us why we, um, "love" Six Flags.

As for the future of Wood Coaster Madness, the majority of you think that the tournament should be repeated, saying that you "loved everything about it." The next most popular response reflects the fact that, apparently, you don't want me to shut up (and in most regards, I suspect you're the exception, not the rule), requesting that I continue to provide analysis of the match-ups once completed. I will take this into consideration going forward. Alas, not a single one of you were willing to pay me to run this thing, so I suspect that any extra frills will be on a "if I'm feeling up to it" basis in the future. It was a pretty dead-even split between those that wanted the International rides to stay in and those who wanted them gone, so there will be some deliberation going forward on that issue. Similarly, it was pretty even between those who liked a sense of order to the seeding and those who would like to see a more random approach to the match-ups, so I'll also have to think on that one a bit as well. Only six of you (out of 40) wanted the field to open at 64 instead of 128, but for logistical purposes, I may still consider doing this in the future. Only three naysayers thought I shouldn't run the tournament again at all, with one not stating a reason and the other two thinking it was a waste of time.

As far as an Amusement Park Madness tournament goes, there once again were only three "no" votes. The rest of you would like to see one, so I shall work on that. The one thing that seemed to strike a chord the most with you is a desire to see the parks arranged by size/attendance rather than geography to make for a more fair tournament. There were 12 votes for this option vs. only five for geographical arrangement (and I think a couple of people voted for both options, not knowing that the logistics of doing both is nearly, if not completely, impossible). Once again, the international parks issue was left unresolved, as it was nearly a dead even split between those wanting international parks removed, those wanting them limited in number, and those wanting full representation for them. As for a time frame, most of you didn't express a preference one way or the other, but a couple more of you liked July/August better than March 2008, so that's what I'll likely look into.

Time permitting, I may compile a final ranking of all 128 rides (with rides losing by a narrower margin ranking higher than those losing by a wider margin in the same round). Check back to see if/when that happens.

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