Specific Type: Wooden
Since the park opened in the mid 1920s, Lake Winnepesaukah, known as Lake Winnie for short, has always remained as a very small family park. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the park even got its first coaster with Little Dipper, followed in 1960 by the slightly bigger Allan Herschell Mad Mouse, neither of which is in operation today. Still, neither coaster was very big by any means, and neither coaster was wood, something that seems synonymous with classic lakeside amusement parks. Just a few years after the addition of Mad Mouse, the park would get its first, and still only, wooden coaster.
Dubbed Cannon Ball, the new wooden coaster was a design from Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters legend John C. Allen, known for his classic, airtime-filled out-and-back designs. While its stature is fairly small at 70 feet, the coaster packs a lot of hills in its nearly half-mile of track. Located at the very back of the park, Cannon Ball sits across from the more modern White Lightnin’ wild mouse coaster amongst a handful of classic flat rides.
Passengers board up onto one of the blue 3-bench cars, pull down their lap bars, and roll around to the right out of the station to engage with the lift. At the top of the 70 foot tall lift hill, the train rolls by the American, Georgia, and Tennessee flags, giving a nod to the park’s location right along the Georgia-Tennessee border. With the flags falling behind, the train rolls over the apex and down the first hill, curving slightly as it hits a top speed of 50 mph. The cars then careen over a low hill packed with airtime, then traverse a taller second hill, and blast over a third hill that threatens to eject passengers from their seats with the sharp airtime. From here, the ride rises up from the “out” leg and turns around to begin the “back” leg of the journey.
Beginning the second half, the bottom drops out and back down, skimming right along the grass before the second set of hills. The first is a slightly higher and slower hill that turns the train to run alongside its “out” leg. The second hill is lower and longer, inducing some nice floater air, with the next third hill being lower still, upping the airtime ante. Two additional hills follow, each packing some additional airtime, with the last ending in a head-chopper with the cover of the final brake run. Here, the train is slowed and eventually stopped in the station with a good old-fashioned skid brake, which is still operated by hand to this day.
Cannon Ball may not be a huge twisted thriller of the modern age, but it is a great example of a classic, airtime-filled, out and back PTC…and there’s never anything wrong with that!
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