Efforts underway to bring first national roller coaster museum - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Efforts underway to bring first national roller coaster museum to Texas

PLAINVIEW, TX (KCBD) - Parts of amusement rides from all over the country are in Plainview, waiting to see if they'll be a part of history. The city is conducting a feasibility study to see if they could support the first national roller coaster museum.

You may be surprised to learn that the town already has a strong connection to thrill rides you can find at the South Plains Fair and Joyland in Lubbock.

They take people upside down. They're responsible for thrills across the world, and some are made right in Plainview. Since the company's beginning in 1965, Jeff Novotny says Larson International has made everything from farm equipment, to oil rigs, and now rides.

"Our products are located all over the world in about 35 different countries around the world, the closest product is a drop tower at Joyland in Lubbock," he said.

At their factory in Plainview, about 30 employees help design, manufacture, test, and ship.

For more than a year, Larson International has been designing, manufacturing, and is now testing the Megawhirl. It's the first of its kind, it could be at an amusement park near you in the spring, and it was developed in Plainview.

The west Texas town could also eventually be home to the first national roller coaster museum. The proof is right next to Lawson International.

Inside a building owned by the National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives, there are pieces of theme park history everywhere.

You can find roller coaster cars from famous rides in Dallas, Amarillo, and Houston, and what's left from Six Flags in New Orleans, destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Novotny and the board want to share them with people across the world from Plainview.

"What we hope is to see is a partnership between our board, the American Coaster Enthusiast Clubs, and the city of Plainview," Novotny continued. "If all goes well, hopefully we can have an operating museum, the only one of its kind."

There's a lot of pride that comes from making people put their hands in the air and scream.

"It's very stressful when you take people upside down and drop them from 100 feet in the air," Novotny continued. "There's a lot of safety components that go into that, there's a great deal of engineering and thought that goes into that. It's very challenging, but rewarding," Novotny said.

Novotny says he hopes to have the results of the city's feasibility study in the next few weeks.

©2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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