82-year-old Pittsburgh man rides 95-year-old roller coaster 95 consecutive times


One of the world’s oldest roller coasters celebrated a landmark anniversary in style with the help of its biggest fan.

Kennywood Amusement Park’s Jack Rabbit, a wooden coaster built in 1920 by legendary designer John Miller, marks 95 years of thrilling riders this season. To celebrate the birthday of the fifth-oldest roller coaster in the world, Kennywood fanatic Vic Kleman embarked on 95 consecutive rides of the Jack Rabbit on Sunday, May 24. Kleman’s marathon ride began at 10:53 a.m. and completed his final ride at 7:17, taking a total of 8:24 to complete. Kleman did not get out of his seat once during his daylong ride.

“I feel great” Kleman said shortly after finishing his run. “I made sure to move my legs throughout the day to keep from getting stiff after sitting so long.”

Kleman, a native of nearby Pittsburgh, has now ridden the Jack Rabbit 5,000 times, with his first experience on the Jack Rabbit’s famed ‘double-dip’ hill coming in 1959. The 82-year-old has now completed runs of 80, 90, and 95 consecutive rides on the Jack Rabbit.

“The thrill of riding the Jack Rabbit never gets old for me,” Kleman said. “I don’t want to leave yet! Let’s go ride a few more times!”

The Jack Rabbit helped revolutionize the roller coaster world in 1920 thanks to a state-of-the art wheel system that allowed coasters to go faster, turn sharper and drop from greater heights than ever before. Today, nearly all coasters use this mechanism. The ride is recognized by the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) as a Landmark Coaster for its impact and longevity in the amusement industry. Kleman has been a member of ACE since 1981 and considers Kennywood his home park.

“Vic embodies what being a Kennywood fanatic is all about,” said Jerome Gibas, Kennywood General Manager. “It takes a certain kind of commitment–and craziness–to ride a roller coaster 95 times in a row. But those are the kind of feelings Kennywood creates in people.”

For more information or on-ride footage of Vic Kleman riding the Jack Rabbit, contact Nick Paradise, Director of Public Relations at nick.paradise(at)kennywood(dot)com or 412.461.0500, ext. 1176.

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