Monday, July 10, 2006

Shocking Disqualification Occurs in Internet Wood Coaster Poll

The battle for supremacy amongst coasters is nothing new; for decades, rides have done nearly anything to be noticed by those filling out rank sheets and polls. However, despite the intense competitiveness and high level of showmanship, there has always been a strong sense of gentlemanly respect displayed between the combatants. Until this weekend, perhaps, when an unprecedented turn toward bad sportsmanship may have ushered in a less civil and more aggressive era in top coaster polling, as one leading ride head-butted another.

The aggressor was the Kentucky Rumbler, a widely respected GCI woodie from Beech Bend Park. Video footage showed the Rumbler trading words with the Gravity Group's Voyage, of Holiday World, during in-season voting for the Internet Wood Coaster Poll, after the two were tangled up in a play near their sector of the country. Shortly thereafter, the Rumbler launched the vicious headbutt to the middle of the Voyage, which was not protecting itself and crumpled in a heap for several minutes before getting up under its own power. Although it could certainly be expected that such an unpleasant cheap shot would result in reduced support for the Rumbler in any case, officials took the proactive stance of issuing a red card, disqualifying the ride from any further votes for the remainder of the season.

The unsportsmanlike incident was extremely surprising, considering that the Rumbler has been a force of offense and the unquestioned leader of its park. It had been locked in a pitched battle with Voyage and other wood coasters for the title in what has long been considered the leading and most accurate coaster poll on the internet, and the loss of future votes all but eliminates it from any hope of a high position.

"I just don't understand it," said commentator Brent Mussberger. "It had a great chance at a title, and this senseless act not only ruined those hopes and those of its people, it will tarnish the Rumbler's legacy forever." Mussberger added that the new in-season ballot amending for the Internet Wood Coaster Poll seemed to be adding a previously unknown level of unpleasant energy and intensity to competitive coasters, and that this would probably not be the last time tempers would flare.

"I expect that next year will set a record for ejections and suspensions," he said, reading a cue card.