Local news

Thrills rise to new heights

Student who named Aftershock gets first dibs on ride

Pennsylvania college student Richard Palamara couldn’t stop screaming Monday at the monster he named: the steely 191-foot roller coaster Aftershock.

And shock it did, as Silverwood Theme Park’s newest ride plunged, whipped and rolled the first riders along at 65 mph.

“It’s a big rush,” said Palamara, a self-proclaimed “coaster junkie” who won a naming contest, putting him in the front seat for the Aftershock’s public debut. “This has you looking straight down with all your weight pressed against the reinforcements.”

To a thrill-seeker, this is a good thing – as is hanging upside down as the cars bolt through the loopty-loop and cobra roll.

Silverwood flew Palamara, 19, and his mother, Nancy, to North Idaho for opening day. It’s their first visit to the state, but hardly their first coaster ride.

The Palamaras rode the Aftershock three times before 1 p.m., mostly with media representatives and park employees. Then the park opened the gate to give the public its first thrill on the coaster, which took six months to engineer, set up and wire.

Judging by the screams, cheers and claps, the Aftershock pleased.

“That’s the best ride in the park,” yelled a middle-age man as he ran to get in line again. The giddy smiles of adults were just as big as those of teenagers who flocked to the ride, billed as the park’s “largest, tallest and costliest.”

Silverwood received more than 6,100 entries to name the new attraction, and Palamara was the first of 11 people to suggest Aftershock, a name he thought fit with Silverwood’s Tremors coaster. He discovered the naming contest while browsing the Internet for coaster sites.

“I thought I would stick with the whole earthquake theme,” he said.

That was the same logic used by Kyle Russell, 15, of Bonners Ferry, who also suggested Aftershock. Other names submitted included FireBolt, Stingray, Recoil and Cobra Canyon.

“It’s not as bad as you think,” Russell said to reassure his neighbors while buckling in for his second ride.

Silverwood bought the giant inverted boomerang-style roller coaster from Six Flags Great America near Chicago, where the ride was named Deja Vu.

Spokesman Layne Pitcher said it cost $3 million to dismantle, ship and reassemble the ride at the theme park just north of Hayden.

Fred Grubb, of Rocky Mountain Construction in Hayden, spent almost four months assembling the green and blue behemoth. The company also put together Tremors and built the water park.

“Oh, here they come,” Grubb said with glee as a horde of people ran to get in the first Aftershock line.

Some people stopped to gawk at the towering structure gleaming in the summer sun.

“This is what it’s all about,” he said. “We worked hard for so long.”

Grubb took a few spins on the coaster.

“If we won’t ride it, you don’t want to get on,” he said. “We know it’s good.

Contact Erica F. Curless at (208) 765-7137 or ericac@spokesman.com.


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