Monday, October 13, 2014

A Blast From The Past - The Celebration City Ozark Wildcat

Some of you long time readers may remember the Blast From The Past series that showed up right here almost every Thursday. A Blast From The Past last appeared on November 1st of 2012. that post started with the comment that it had been quite awhile since we had posted a Blast.. We always wanted to reprise the column. But, it seemed our work load never really allowed us time to do any more Blasts.
I had surgery six weeks ago and had thoughts of doing a few Blast posts while I was off work. Unfortunately that never happened and as I am going back to work on today, this is my last opportunity. So then, what park or coaster should this post be about? The inspiration came from a trip report I read on a Coaster fan site, which had the poster thinking Celebration City was Silver Dollar City in Branson Missouri.

There was no Moose out front to tell the park was closed, the sign said it all. Celebration City closed October 25th 2008.  But why did the park and the Ozark Wildcat closed?  The park opened near downtown Branson, in 1999 as Branson USA and it was little more than a carnival. It struggled from the very beginning, eventually closing in 2001.

Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation purchased the park in 2002 with plans to redevelop and reopen it as Celebration City,  a "night-time theme park"  as an option for Silver Dollar City guests to visit after that park closed. The idea was that Silver Dollar City guests would be  able to extend their day by driving the short distance to Celebration City for the evening, which would take them from the slow easy pace of the 19th Century to the hustle and bustle of the 20th century, with areas based on Route 66, Small-town America in the 1900s, and a beachside boardwalk in the 1920s. Celebration City also had the only wooden roller coaster in the area!
Unfortunately, most of the Branson crowd wanted to see shows at night and Branson has many shows to see, so on October 25th 2008 Celebration City closed due to unmet financial expectations. Most of the parks 30 rides have been relocated or sold, but gem of the park, The Ozark Wildcat, still occupies the site where it was built.

Construction began on this Great Coasters International Inc. twister on May 1, 2003. At a total cost of $4,000,00, the 2613 foot long woodie  has an overall height of 80.3 foot with a 73.3 foot 1st drop.  

When the Ozark Wildcat opened it feature two Millennium Flyer trains and had a top speed of  45.2  miles per hour.
The Ozark Wildcat  or the affectionately-nicknamed OzCat, is the only Great Coasters that has a 540-degree spiraling first drop,  The ride also features many exciting directional changes and a "bucking bronco" final

It's a shame to see such a fantastic ride sit and rot, but there is nowhere on the Silver Dollar City property flat enough for what is accentually a "parking lot" coaster. Neither Dollywood and Wild Adventures need a wooden coaster enough to warrant the cost of relocation. So there you have, the sad tale of Celebration City and the Ozark Wildcat.


Unknown said...

November-December 2015 the Ozark Wildcat was disassembled.