by Danny Miller
Over the course of the past six or seven years, I have gone from someone who simply played Roller Coaster Tycoon to a full-blown roller coaster enthusiast. I have become a member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts as well as the Theme Park Coaster Club. I recently started writing blogs and news articles here, and have had discussions with a few roller coaster design companies, hoping to pursue an engineering job in the industry. Needless to say, theme parks and roller coasters have become more of an obsession than a simple hobby.
Most roller coaster enthusiasts, myself included, keep some sort of record of the rides they have been on and some sort of ranking system, whether it be in a notebook, in a spreadsheet on a computer, or through a website. By doing this, many of us know when we ride a milestone roller coaster, such as a 100th different roller coaster in their count. Some choose to celebrate by riding with special friends or family, and some simply hold a sign showing the milestone.
I however, have chosen to celebrate big milestones by ordering custom t-shirts that are airbrushed by park employees. Anyone who has been to some of the corporate parks has come across these stands where guests can either get simple designs painted on shirts, or they may submit custom artwork to appear on the shirt. Anyone who is a listener of the Coasterradio.com podcast may at this point identify me as “Dan the T-shirt Guy.”
My very first shirt that I bought was in July of 2008 at Kings Island. Firehawk, the Vekoma flying coaster was my 100th coaster. Not only did I get the shirts, but I also bought my on ride photo, where I made a number 100 with my hands and mouth. My sister recently did the same thing on Bizarro and Six Flags New England, her 100th coaster.
Back in September of 2011, I made my way to Canada’s Wonderland, where the B&M mega coaster Behemoth became my 200th different roller coaster. With a logo that is essentially stylized text, this shirt was a bit simpler, but still an awesome piece of clothing. This shirt was also slighter cheaper price wise than the $50 or so that the others have cost.
Back in May and June, I was in California for the first time as an enthusiast and visited an astounding eight parks in just six days. In the process, I leaped over the 250-coaster mark on my track record. This marked another time to get a shirt, this time featuring Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Tatsu, the giant B&M flying coaster. This was probably the most detailed logo along with the Firehawk one to do, and the artist, Gary, knocked it out of the park, making it well worth the money.
I will refrain from describing them in great detail, and will instead have you look and let you decide which you think is the best. Just a few weeks ago, my sister rode her 100th coaster, Bizarro at Six Flags New England, and has followed in my footsteps by getting a custom t-shirt. This is actually her second, because back in 2009 after riding Boulder Dash, her first big coaster, she wanted to celebrate the occasion with a shirt of her own.
Like I said, tons of enthusiasts celebrate milestone, and many do it in very different ways. I choose to spend a little extra cash to get a souvenir that I will always have and will always be able to wear. Which of them do you think is the best?