From the Sandusky Register…
The wait for the inaugural splash has ended.
Leaders at Cedar Point said they plan to launch the new Shoot the Rapids water ride on Saturday.
“GREAT NEWS! Shoot the Rapids is scheduled to open THIS SATURDAY, June 26 RT PLZ!” the park announced at about 3:50 p.m. Thursday on its Twitter feed.
The last two abbreviations are Twitter-speak, translated into English as, “Please spread around this announcement.”
A similar bulletin went out at the same time on Cedar Point’s Facebook feed, prompting hundreds of responses almost immediately. At about the same time, the Sandusky Register posted a bulletin on its website.
To clear the way for the ride’s launch, Cedar Point on Thursday asked the Department of Agriculture’s ride inspectors to inspect the ride.
As of Thursday afternoon, inspectors were tentatively scheduled to look at the ride at 10 p.m., said Kaleigh Frazier, a Department of Agriculture spokeswoman. A successful inspection means the ride will get a license to operate.
The first official ride is scheduled for about 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
Thirty people bid in a charity auction to become the first official riders, and they’ll also get an official certificate attesting to the moment. The auction’s proceeds go to the Firelands Chapter of the American Red Cross.
One of the 30 riders had to drop out — a soldier who was sent to Iraq. The Firelands Chapter is checking to see if the other 29 riders can still make it.
After getting the official word late Thursday afternoon that the Saturday launch is on, the Red Cross began calling winning bidders to find out who can attend Saturday’s inaugural launch.
“We have to find out who is still able to come on short notice,” said Rod Rude, of the Firelands Red Cross chapter.
“We’ve left a lot of messages. I really don’t know how we stand,” Rude said Thursday. “We’ll have a better idea tomorrow.”
The twice-delayed ride was originally supposed to launch on May 16. That date was then bumped to May 29. When that date passed, too, Cedar Point promised it would make no further announcements until officials were absolutely sure the ride is ready.
Problems with the boats forced Cedar Point to retool the ride.
Dick Kinzel, Cedar Fair’s president, chairman and CEO, has said the boats were initially the wrong size.
Maryland-based Intaride LLC created Shoot the Rapids, a 2,100-foot ride that cost more than $10.5 million.
Billed as a thrill ride the whole family can enjoy, the ride lasts three minutes and drops riders from two separate hills.