Showdown: Iron Rattler vs. Outlaw Run

Overview

What Iron Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City have in common is that both are RMC (Rocky Mountain Construction) terrain coasters.  What they don’t have in common is that one (Iron Rattler) is a former wooden coaster retracked with steel whereas the other is a wooden coaster built by RMC from scratch.

Layout, Theme and Setting

Iron Rattler, themed after a rattlesnake and built over a limestone quarry, is notable for its stunning topography.  It would be difficult to imagine a more perfect setting for a coaster.  Outlaw Run, elaborately themed after the old west with a stagecoach outside the station and western artifacts within, races through open fields surrounded by trees.  Iron Rattler features RMC’s signature I-Box track whereas Outlaw Run features RMC’s Topper Track, which makes for a smooth ride and facilitates inversions on a wooden coaster.  Both coasters operate with two trains of six cars seating two across in two rows for a total capacity of 24 riders.  The restraint on each is a lap bar.  Outlaw Run has shin guards which prevent people like me who don’t have long legs from planting their feet on the floor of the car.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield

Elements

Iron Rattler boasts a 171-foot 81-degree drop, four overbanked turns, barrel roll and tunnel.  Outlaw Run has a 162-foot 81-degree drop, overbanked turn, double down and double barrel roll.  When Outlaw Run opened, it had the steepest drop of any wooden coaster in the world.  It was subsequently surpassed by RMC’s Goliath at Six Flags Great America, which has an 85-degree drop.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield

 

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield

Ride Experience

Iron Rattler begins with a left turn out of the station, during which it picks up speed before slowing down and ascending the chain lift hill.   Upon reaching the top, the train appears to come to a standstill, creating considerable suspense.  It seems to just hang there.  A few seconds later, it dives 171 feet slightly to the left, in what can be described as a hair-raising drop.  From there it goes up into a 110-degree overbanked turn followed by a 95-degree overbanked turn.  Next comes the one inversion, the barrel roll, and this is an absolute delight.  The remainder of the ride consists of a couple of camelbacks and two more overbanked turns before the train zooms into a tunnel and finishes the course.  Highlights would have to be the barrel roll and descent into the tunnel.

A ride on Outlaw Run begins with the train passing under the bridge that serves as a ride exit before ascending a 107-foot lift hill.   Once at the top it navigates a short pre-drop such as can be found on Apollo’s Chariot before plummeting 162 feet.  It’s a drop which affords superb floater airtime.  After the drop the train ascends into a 153-degree overbanked turn that comes very, very close to inverting.  This is followed by a double down and outward-banked “wave turn”.  The train then flies over a couple of bunny hills before going up into the awesome double barrel roll;  the final hills offer enough ejector airtime that my shirt was in danger of flying over my head.  Following the two inversions it hits the brake run and returns to the station.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield
Outlaw Run is the world’s first wood coaster to twist upside down with a record-breaking three inversions. (PRNewsFoto/Silver Dollar City)

The Winner

And the winner is…Iron Rattler.   Both coasters make exceptionally good use of the terrain and both feature outstanding elements but I found Iron Rattler to be the more thrilling of the two.  A spokesperson at another Six Flags park told me that Iron Rattler was the one coaster she rode that she found truly terrifying.  I wouldn’t go that far but it certainly is breathtaking.  The initial drop is guaranteed to produce an adrenaline rush and the other components of the ride add up to an electrifying experience.  Iron Rattler uses the quarry wall to great advantage, with the track partially over and partially under it, just as Outlaw Run makes good use of its wide open terrain.   The tunnel is a nice finish because it’s pitch black and you don’t see it coming up until the very last minute.  Both Iron Rattler and Outlaw Run are outstandingly good coasters but I would have to give Iron Rattler the edge.

What’s your take?  Have you ridden Iron Rattler and Outlaw Run and if so, how do you think they match up?