Slow start for Shoot the Rapids

From the Sandusky Register

Cedar Point - Shoot the RapidsSANDUSKY

Cedar Point is still looking to make a big splash with its new Shoot the Rapids water ride, but the thirst for thrills won’t be quenched this weekend.

That means winners of a May charity auction, too, will have to keep on waiting to be first aboard the ride.

A state inspection to certify Shoot the Rapids as safe to ride was cut short Tuesday when amusement park officials said they weren’t ready to complete the inspection, said Kaleigh Frazier, an Ohio Department of Agriculture spokeswoman.

“Cedar Point determined they had some issues they wanted to address with a manufacturer,” Frazier said. “We’re kind of waiting for Cedar Point to contact us.”

Once Cedar Point contacts the agency, the inspectors will return. As of Friday, the agency was still waiting to hear back, Frazier said.

The amusement park has missed two deadlines to start the ride. The park planned to certify Shoot the Rapids on March 16, but bumped that date to May 29, which has come and gone.

That said, Cedar Point has apparently decided not to announce any more public deadlines.

“We don’t have a specific date when it will open,” said Robin Innes, the park’s marketing director. “We want to get it open as soon as we can.”

Crews have already been trained to run the ride, but there will be additional work before it opens, Innes said.

Documents from Tuesday’s partially-completed inspection mentions problems with the ride’s boats. Noting items that need to be fixed, the Department of Agriculture inspector wrote, “All boats being repaired to manufacturer’s specifications.”

Innes said he can’t elaborate.

“We’re working with the manufacturer just to make some modifications to the boats and operation system,” Innes said.

On May 10, Richard Kinzel, Cedar Fair’s chairman, president and CEO, said the manufacturer made the flume — the channel that holds the ride’s water — but contracted out the boats.

The boats turned out to be the wrong size when delivered. The ride was designed and built by IntaRide LLC of Glen Burnie, Md., a company that has built successful, signature Cedar Point rides like Top Thrill Dragster, Millennium Force and Magnum.

Thirty participants who won bragging rights as the first official riders on Shoot the Rapids have since been told to “please be patient,” said Ron Rude, executive director of the Firelands Chapter of The American Red Cross.

“We are waiting for word from the park,” Rude said.

The Red Cross Firelands chapter raised about $7,000 when it auctioned off “first rights” to the ride, but the nonprofit can’t count the money until it gives the winners their promised ride, Rude said.

“Of course, that’s on hold until we know what’s going to happen,” he said. “When the ride actually happens, we will know what our receipts are.”

One of the original 30 bidders in the contest had to drop out — he was deployed overseas with his military unit, Rude said.

“We had one gentleman who was being deployed to Iraq,” he said. “Someone else replaced him in his seat. I was sorry we could not give that soldier a ride.”

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