by Andrew Rybarczyk
I feel sometimes that I grew up with Raptor because Raptor was the first new major roller coaster added to Cedar Point when I was little. Even to this day, there are not any roller coasters that I would choose to ride when presented with an option to ride front row on Raptor. I feel the same way about Cedar Point too. It's no surprise then that for most of my life I was a Cedar Point elitist. Some of you may know the symptoms: only wanting to go to Cedar Point, only wanting to ride Cedar Point rides, thinking that Cedar Creek Mine Ride is better than any ride in the Six Flags chain...I kid, I kid (or do I?). I lived with this philosophy and can understand those others like me that still think this way but about three years ago that changed.
Three years ago a confluence of events happened that broke me free from the desire to only want to go to Cedar Point. It just so happened that one summer, opportunities arose to not only visit Kings Island but also Worlds of Fun. This presented me with a great opportunity to not only experience something new but also take the first steps in the quest that I am still pursuing today. Not only would I attend these parks, but I would start counting the number of roller coasters I had been on and also start trying to obtain as many more as I could to add to that list.
It is no surprise then that some of the most important things that have happened to me over the last three years have happened at theme parks. For instance, I got engaged to my beautiful wife at Knott's Berry Farm on New Year's Eve at midnight overlooking their fireworks display. Very soon after, we got married and then took the whole wedding party and any invited guest that wanted to go to Cedar Point for a reception. I have also had the pleasure to raise money for Give Kids the World through their Coasting for Kids coaster marathons which I've participated in for the last two years. Last but not least, I have also had the privilege to open Shoot the Rapids and close Paddlewheel Excursions and Disaster Transport also through donations benefiting GKTW or the Red Cross. All of these events have brought me closer to my love of roller coasters and theme parks.
It was another random event that brought me here to Coaster-net. A simple tweet that I took note of and responded to led to this opportunity to further develop my love of coasters and theme parks. In the short time I have been here, I have already met people that are truly kindred spirits. More importantly, it gives me the opportunity to lend my voice to the community which brings me to this blog and my intentions.
by Andrew Rybarczyk
I love roller coasters. I love everything about them. I love the freedom I have when riding them. I love the feelings that can be obtained only on them. I love the way they look. I love the way they sound. I love roller coasters. Now that those declarations are out of the way, you're probably wondering who I am. My name is Andrew (more commonly referred to as TheHSBR) and I've had a love affair with roller coasters for the last twenty years. Let me start by telling you a tale that brought us to where we are today...
My real fascination with roller coasters started at Santa's Village in Elgin, Illinois. It started with multiple laps on the most terrifying, the most awe inspiring coaster I have ever seen (at that time)...Dracor! I can remember taking multiple laps on that ride and loving every second of it. My love affair grew up very quickly when my family took our first vacation to Cedar Point in 1992. Living in Chicago, this was a big trip. The park was so different back then. No Raptor, no Millennium, no Maverick but it still had that special something. It was awe inspiring, so many rides and so many big rides. For a ten year old it was almost too much to handle. I almost don't want to say this next part of the story. It's my greatest shame and my biggest secret. That first trip to Cedar Point, I was too afraid to ride Magnum. Yes its true, the great ride warrior who today will not back down from any coaster was too afraid to ride Magnum. My little seven year old brother rode it. I still claim it's because he was too dumb to be afraid (sorry Scooter!). In any case, I did not ride. My greatest shame is there laid bare for all to see.
Luckily, that is not the end of this tale. The next year I came back to Cedar Point and tackled the great new beast known as Snake River Falls. Always watching though was my great nemesis, standing 200 feet tall and always casting a menacing look towards my direction. Needless to say, Magnum would not win this day. As the t-shirt boldly states, I did indeed conquer Magnum XL-200 that day. Never again would a roller coaster hold the power of fear over me. Never again would I be bested by a finely crafted and a finely tuned engineering marvel. From that point forward, even if at the time I didn't know what it was called, I was a Ride Warrior.