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Park Profile
it well. But my dad decided to make Cedar Point his from San Antonio's Playland Park, my dad decided
competition. Sure, we shared some of the same that was the type of wood coaster he wanted, so he
market, but how could we possibly compete with and Curtis D Summers made some modifications on
by Vekoma
Cedar Point? How could anybody our size compete that basic design.”
with Cedar Point?”
The battle of David and Goliath comes to mind. Wooden Wonder
“Well, we did it by jumping in big with a And did adding a major wooden coaster provide the
Corkscrew, two years after Cedar Point added its attendance boost it does at most parks?
Corkscrew (Cedar Point elongated the standard “Definitely. It was our best season ever up to that
Corkscrew with a speed bump and vertical loop). point!”
And you know something, my dad signed that “When all this was happening, my goal was to
contract with Arrow before he had the financing!” open my own advertising agency in Indianapolis, but
“And then two years later he bought an Arrow my dad asked me if I could commit to a full time job
flume,” I continued. for one year with Michigan's Adventure. He must
“That was another thing. He could have saved a have known this business is in my blood, long before
lot of money keeping the flume on the ground, as I was aware of it. But I agreed to do it. It was a
you suggested, but he wanted a bigger flume than challenge, working for my dad. Even though I was
Cedar Point had, and it was!” general manager, it still was, after all, his park. And
Roger Jourden's two big rolls of the dice worked, he's authoritative and opinionated, but he's so smart,
and Deer Park Funland's attendance increased he has such a natural business sense, that you can
steadily. get past everything else and learn from him.”
“My dad's a gambler, yes, but he was always very Camille learned from her father. A lot. She and
smart about money.” Camille learned a very Roger continued expanding Michigan's Adventure
important money lesson from her dad when she was and maintained a healthy competition with Cedar
nine years old. “I was working at the duck pond, and Point (though Cedar Point may not have paid much
one afternoon I wandered away and left my cash box mind at the time, in the middle of its own competition
unattended. Well, my dad happened by, saw the cash with Kings Island).
box, and took it. When I got back to the pond and “Ten years after the Wolverine Wildcat had opened,
found my money was gone, I was devastated. How we decided it was time for another wooden coaster.
was I going to tell him? Later that day he gave me Our first thought was, 'What can we build that Cedar
the cash box and told me 'Never walk away from Point can't build? Well, we knew that Cedar Point is
your money!'” tight for space, and in fact they've often had to build
Camille eventually worked nearly every job in the on top of their existing attractions, and even remove
ever-growing Deer Park Funland, leaving only to go some older rides to make room for new ones. So we
to college. “I thought I would be getting my degree determined that we'd build a giant out-and-back
in sociology, and go into social work. But I soon wood coaster, with lots of air time.”
realised I don't have the temperament for it, I would Shivering Timbers, built by Custom Coasters
have taken my work home with me. So instead I got International in 1998, worked its magic and provided
my degree in business in 1988, the same year we Michigan's Adventure with its best season ever up to
changed our name to Michigan's Adventure.” that point. Two years later, the waterpark was added,
Also in 1988, Roger Jourden took what by now is attendance continued to soar, and Michigan's

My dad
decided to
considered to be a very safe gamble when he Adventure had jumped into the big league of major
make Cedar
opened the park's first wooden rollercoaster, the American amusement parks.
By this time Camille had married Steve Mark;
Point his
they'd met when they were 15 years old, when he
started working at the park. “Steve went to college
and then taught for one year, but he decided the
How could we
amusement industry was more fun, so he returned
and became maintenance manager. Our first child,
Zach, was born in 1992. He was my dad's first
compete with
grandchild, and so he proudly named our second
wood coaster, built in '94 by Custom Coasters
Cedar Point?
International, 'Zach's Zoomer.'” Zach's Zoomer was a How could
small, family coaster, and as such, while it may not
have given the park the attendance boost of 1988's
anybody our
Wolverine Wildcat, it filled a niche and maintained
size compete
the momentum. “Our attendance just kept increasing
every year. We only had two years in particular that
with Cedar
we didn't increase, probably due to bad weather. I do
The Big Dipper
remember my dad saying 'Only two years! That's all!'
Otherwise we kept going up and up.”
Wolverine Wildcat. “My dad did a lot of shopping It would appear that Roger Jourden, his children, Camille
around, and when he rode Knoebels Amusement and his grandchildren would forever grow and
Resort's Phoenix, which Dick Knoebel had moved maintain what was becoming one of America's
APRIL 2009

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