Amazing Backyard Roller Coaster Evokes Spirit of Old West

A man who went viral for building a 26-foot-tall roller coaster during COVID lockdowns in his parents’ backyard in Napa, California, has outdone himself by reworking the ride into an Old West tribute with about 900 feet of track.

Sean LaRochelle was a 29-year-old studying architecture at Clemson University with experience in the construction industry when he decided to build the first coaster: a tribute to Disneyland’s Matterhorn ride. LaRochelle told Storyful he had a whole team of “mechanical, civil, and electrical engineers, architects, musical composers, welders, carpenters, rock artisans” to help him.

That roller coaster was a viral hit, prompting him to make an even bigger ride, named Little Thunder, “inspired by the majesty, wonder, and danger of the Old West,” as LaRochelle told Storyful. The roller coaster has a max speed of 22 miles per hour, about 900 feet of track, and the tallest mountain on the set stands about 22 feet, he said. Credit: Sean LaRochelle via Storyful

Video Transcript

- Yay!

- Yay!

- Woo!

- Matthew [INAUDIBLE]

- Here they come.


- Woo!

- Woo!

- Woohoo!

- Matthew!

- Yay! Woo!

- He's going into the tunnel now.

- Woo!

- Woo-hoo-hoo! Woo-hoo-hoo.

- That's so fun.

- That is so fun.

- Aw.


- That's going be one--


- Hi! Have fun!

- Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo! Oh, no, don't do that.


- No, I think--

- That makes me nervous. Where's Michael?

- Sheriff. Sheriff.

- It's good you's here. Them bandits, they's in the mine. You gotta-- you gotta help me.

- You have a gun? You don't have a gun?

- I don't have a gun again-- second time, man.

- What do you mean you don't have a gun?

- They keep not giving me a gun. They don't trust me or something.

- Shh, they gonna hear you.

- How else are you gonna take care of them bandits without a gun?

- I don't know.

- Shh. Shh.

- Look who it is. All right, a little light because you're on camera. You know, we want you to look beautiful for the cameras.

- That's good.

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