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Fred Grubb building a RMC Raptor coaster for his granddaughters

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Staff Writer


Fred Grubb’s granddaughters are headed for the ride of their lives — in Grubb’s front yard.


Grubb, who owns the Rocky Mountain roller-coaster manufacturing firm in Hayden, plans to construct a personal coaster this summer that’s 100 feet tall at its tallest point, will move as fast as 52 mph and has a 90-degree dive next to his home just south of Silverwood Theme Park.


"It’s eccentric, but I want to build it for my grandkids and I wouldn’t be in the business if my team and myself weren’t a little eccentric," Grubb said, adding that he has granddaughters who are 10, 7 and 6.


"This has always been in the back of my mind, and my grandkids are tall enough to ride a coaster now. It’s like building a big swimming pool, except I’m in the roller coaster business."


The "Raptor" coaster, which will have four seats, will be built just off Old Highway 95 west of U.S. 95. Grubb declined to say how much the coaster will cost to build. The coaster is 1,800 feet long and the ride time is 66 seconds.


The family declined to release the names of the girls for security reasons, but the eldest said, "My sisters and I are so excited to have an actual roller coaster to ride at our papa’s house. We are so lucky to have a papa who wants to do this for us. We cannot wait for our friends to ride it with us."


Grubb said it’s doubtful the coaster will be seen from U.S. 95. He said it won’t be loud and it will be painted to blend in with the environment. Grubb owns the 14 acres to the north of the property and 10 acres to the south, so there are no neighbors in the immediate vicinity.


"I don’t want it to be intrusive," he said. "I want it to look nice. It will be a form of art."


David Callahan, Kootenai County’s community development director, said there’s nothing in the county’s code that prevents Grubb from moving ahead as long as it’s for private, not commercial, use.


However, Callahan said he wanted to give county commissioners a heads up Monday on the project since it’s "unusual."


"This has got to be one for the record books, but there is nothing in the county books that says, ’no,’" Callahan said. "He’s probably one tenth of 1 percent of the population who can afford to do something like this."


Rocky Mountain has built roller coasters for theme parks around the world, including Silverwood’s "Tremors," "Timber Terror," and "Aftershock."


Commissioner Marc Eberlein called the project "fascinating." When Callahan revealed a rendering of the coaster to commissioners, the board was in awe.


"It’s a pretty significant deal," Callahan said.


Commissioner Bob Bingham quickly replied: "I’ll say."


Callahan said Grubb has signed an affidavit recorded in the county land records that states the coaster will not be used commercially on his property.


Grubb said the roller coaster may be on his property several years, but he may sell it in the future.


It will be built on Rocky Mountain’s newly developed concept of a single track, unlike double tracks of other coasters, and riders will ride as if they are on a motorcycle or horse.


"We can build these about 45 percent less than comparable mega coasters and we can do sharper corners," he said, adding that the coaster will be built to industry safety standards.

Grubb said the coaster will take just six to seven weeks to construct.



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Wow - I guess he got the permits.  I always wanted to build a coaster in my back yard.  My main questions are how often will this ride be run, who will maintain and operate it, and how will inspections be performed?  Especially since I assume this wouldn't be considered a commercial application.

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I doubt that it will be relocated anywhere as i guess it would only work for the 4 train config he wants, not the 8 that the parks are getting (but still, not very economical in terms of capacity)

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