Friday, October 17, 2003

Waterpark Enthusiast Group's First Event Runs Into Glitches

Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom General Manager Maree Gumble said that the newly formed American Waterpark Enthusiasts (AWE) are no longer welcome at her park. The group, founded in April 2003, had its first convention in Louisville over Labor Day weekend. "We thought it would be good PR for the park and fun for the guests, but it turned out to be an unbelievable hassle," Gumble said.

Problems arose when the gates opened and never stopped. Six Flags alleges that AWE members created dangerous conditions for themselves and other guests. Gumble said the largest problem was that during Exclusive Slide Time (EST) riders would splash down the slides and then sit in the splash pool chanting, "One more time! One more time!" "Apparently they don't understand that to ride again they need to walk their lazy asses up several flights of stairs," she chuckled.

AWE President Steve Gibson said he saw no problems during the group's visit and doesn't understand what all the fuss is about. "All of our members always observe the rules set down for their safety," he calmly told ARN&R. To ensure that his group will have no further problems Gibson posted a letter up on the AWE website that instructs all members to observe all park safety rules.

Kentucky Kingdom Safety Coordinator Don Ramey was equally unimpressed with the group's antics during the EST. "We had people at the bottom of the slide waiting to give people dumping into the pools hand slaps," he grumbled. "But, that wasn't as bad as the buffet. You don't want to see these people in swimming suits to begin with, let alone eating three drumsticks at once."

An exclusive ARN&R photo taken at the AWE event

While the park had done coaster events before they had never tried a waterpark event. "It was a learning experience for us," said Gumble. "And we learned that it is something we will never do again. From arguing with enthusiasts that we can't 'lower the brakes' on the speed slides to telling people that their stupid rowing motion in the lazy river was hitting other guests in the face, it was just too much work. Next year we'll make up the money by working with the local Moonshiners Union; they're much easier to deal with."

Steve Gibson still asserts that plenty of parks are looking forward to working with him. "We have already called Holiday World/Splashin' Safari and Soak City at Cedar Point. Rumor has it that both of those parks are doing a lot of enthusiast events in 2004."