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600 roller coaster experts travel to Kings Dominion for anniversary convention

Coaster Con 41 brings American Coaster Enthusiasts full circle to its origins

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — From June 17 – June 22, a huge turnout of 600 members of American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) will travel from across the continent to descend upon three theme parks for Coaster Con 41. The collective of aficionados represents 37 states and D.C., as well as Canada, England, Chile and Israel. Kings Dominion will co-host the event on June 19 and 20.

"This year is our 40th anniversary," said Communications Director Tim Baldwin. "We have so many ways we will celebrate the occasion. The concept for ACE was formed at Kings Dominion during a promotional marathon publicizing a movie (Rollercoaster) released in 1977. Now we get to return to where it all began. This is exciting."

In the book 100 Things To Do Before You Die, authors Dave Freeman and Neil Teplica place attending a Coaster Con as a must-do. For many enthusiasts, it is their favorite week of the year. Coaster Con 41 boasts a collection of renowned coasters, as well as numerous behind-the-scenes and coaster-related activities. Event organizers have been working for months to have presentations ready to go, as well as photo and video contests to challenge members. One of the biggest perks of attending Coaster Con is ERT, which is coaster lingo for Exclusive Ride Time. Prior to park opening and after park closing, ACEers have the wild rails all to themselves.

"Twisted Timbers is going to be a huge highlight," said ACE President Jerry Willard. "So far the reviews have been off the charts. Our members are extremely eager to conquer this new steel machine. It is a 'must-get-to' ride this year, and we are fortunate to have it be a part of our convention."

Registration has exceeded attendance expectations. Prior to Kings Dominion, the group will visit Six Flags America and continue on to Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Kings Dominion now boasts 13 roller coasters. In addition to Twisted Timbers, members will enjoy time on favorites such as the towering Intimidator 305 and three wooden coasters which include Grizzly and Racer 75, an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark.

About ACE: Founded in 1978, American Coaster Enthusiasts is a nonprofit, volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation, promotion, appreciation and safe enjoyment of roller coasters. With more than 5,000 members worldwide, ACE is the largest and longest-running enthusiast organization in the world. Members of ACE receive exclusive park benefits, newsletters, magazines and the opportunity to attend national, local and even international tours at parks. ACE has been prominently featured on various news programs and many cable networks such as the Travel Channel.

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* Tim Baldwin
Communications Director
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