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S&S Worldwide Ride manufacturer looks ahead

Everything changed in 1994. With the launch of the Space Shot, the world's first vertical amusement ride, S&S Power, now S&S Worldwide, took the outdoor amusement industry to new heights. Since then, it has pioneered innovative attractions that have earned the respect its clients, customers and competitors alike, not to mention several Guinness world records. Here’s an update on the company’s activities

S&S Kiddie Rides

Three kiddie rides from S&S’ new Critter Collection will be exhibited for the first time at IAAPA Attractions Expo this month in Orlando, in the outdoor exhibit area. The rides have been designed and engineered as true family attractions, with seating for children over 0.9 metres (36 inches), but parents and grandparents will also be able to ride.

As well as Monkey Madness (see “New Concepts,” right) there will also be Jungle Swing, plus a new version of S&S’ popular Frog Hopper. Each has been designed as a standalone piece, but the entire collection also provides a unique, well-themed,

complementary set of rides for any amusement facility.

The new small rides division at S&S is being headed by Kathy Archer, under the general direction of Kevin Rohwer. S&S anticipates that these affordable and innovative new rides, manufactured with the quality upon which the company has built its reputation in the amusement industry, will be a successful addition to the company’s product portfolio.

ABOVE Jungle Swing BELOW: Mini-Hu

Ownership Changes

S&S is a major coaster manufacturer and producer of other small footprint, high visibility amusement rides. And now, with more than 400 rollercoasters, thrill rides and family attractions in over 30 countries, S&S is under renewed ownership. Larsen MacColl Partners, the Utah ride manufacturer’s largest shareholder, acquired majority ownership in the company towards the end of September, including all shares previously held by founder Stan Checketts. Based in Radnor, Pennsylvania, the private equity fund Larsen MacColl acquired a significant stake in S&S Worldwide back in February of last year (2009) based on its “proven business model, solid management team and significant growth potential.” It now anticipates continued strong growth for S&S domestically and internationally, driven by the company’s commitment to product innovation and customer service. S&S will continue to be led by president and CEO Rich Allen, who has been with the company since 1997, while Kevin Rohwer, who joined in 2002, will maintain his role as vice-president of sales and marketing, overseeing the global sales team. The Koffman family and affiliated shareholders will maintain their ownership interest in S&S, represented on the board of directors by Jeffrey Koffman. Stan Checketts, who together with wife Sandy gave S&S its name, is no longer a shareholder and has ended his consulting relationship with the company in order to pursue other business interests.

New Concepts Happily for S&S, parks are continuing to buy big rollercoasters. "We currently have under contract and are continuing to contract several high-thrill air- launched coasters and our third 4th Dimension coaster," reveals CEO Rich Allen. Yet the company is also aware of present market conditions. “S&S is very sensitive to the challenges of the current economic climate," acknowledges Allen. "Given that the demand for big coasters will fluctuate, we’ve developed a number of other exciting coasters


that are affordable for almost any park, including Free Fly, El Loco and a new retro mine train coaster. We also have new collection of family rides.” The Huli Hu, for example, is a brand new ride concept. The prototype will be called Monkey Madness (or Mini-Hu), part of S&S’ new Critter Collection of kiddie rides (see panel, left). Passengers ride a catapulting, spinning coconut tree accompanied by mischievous monkeys. The near miss perception of the cars spinning past one another and the tropical theming create an exciting ride experience for all ages. The ride itself comprises two arms, each of which swings 180 degrees from a central hub. Four passengers are seated in each teacup-style car, facing inwards. As the ride reaches speed, the arms rise vertically and then continue to horizontal in an opposite orientation. Each of the ride vehicles can freely turn or spin as the passengers turn the wheel in the centre.

Coming Soon

S&S has a number of exciting new projects nearing completion. In the next 12 months, the company will launch the long awaited Ring°Racer coaster in Germany, three launched coasters in China, a Screamin’ Swing at Dollywood, a 4th Dimension coaster in China, an El Loco coaster in France and several large tower projects. When Ring°Racer opens in 2011, at

S&S president and CEO Rich Allen in the workshop with part of Dollywood's new Barnstormer (Screamin' Swing) ride

Ring°Werk in Nürburg (alongside the Nürburgring race track), Allen promises, "our incredibly smooth launch system will astound and delight adrenaline junkies from around the world. While

there has been much talk in the industry about coasters claiming to be the world’s next fastest, we are deferring the announcement about Ring°Racer’s operational speed to be made by the Nürburgring at the time they deem appropriate." As for the EL Loco coaster in France, it will open at

Fraispertuis City in Jeanménil, between Nancy and Mulhouse, in mid-June. The park’s owners, the Fleurent family, had been looking to add a new coaster for several years, but it was only last month, at Euro Attractions Show in Rome, they signed the deal with S&S. Similar versions of the ride can already be found at Indiana Beach in the United States (where it is called Steel Hawg) and Flamingoland in England (Mumbo Jumbo). Although the model going to Fraispertuis City is the same, it will feature an even steeper first drop – 113 degrees – setting a new world record.

Be sure to stop by the S&S booth (5100) at IAAPA Attractions Expo. In the meantime, you can check out the company’s new look website at:


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