Justin Heiser of Courtland works on his part of building a model of the Alpengeist rollercoaster made out of the pretzels from Snyder's of Hanover. James Williams, his friend, also worked with him on the project. The recent contest was held at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. -- SUBMITTED
Justin Heiser of Courtland works on his part of building a model of the Alpengeist rollercoaster made out of the pretzels from Snyder's of Hanover. James Williams, his friend, also worked with him on the project. The recent contest was held at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. -- SUBMITTED

Archived Story

Courtland boys build pretzel rollercoaster

Published 11:35am Saturday, July 20, 2013

COURTLAND—If you think building a rollercoaster out of steel beams, nuts and bolts could be difficult, try using pretzels and hot glue guns.

Justin Heiser and James Williams, both of Courtland, were reminded of that recently when they participated in the annual contest sponsored by Snyder’s of Hanover, which makes pretzels and other snacks. The event was again held at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg.

This year’s challenge was to make a model of the theme park’s Alpengeist rollercoaster.

This is the winning entry made by defending champion Maggie Woodward of Virginia. -- submitted
This is the winning entry made by defending champion Maggie Woodward of Virginia. — submitted

“Me and my friend, James Williams, have been doing this a couple of years now,” Heiser said. “We built a pretzel rollercoaster, took a picture, sent it to the Hanover website, and just waited for judges to judge. They liked ours and we made it to the finals.”

He learned about the contest when he was in seventh grade and a teacher told them about it. Heiser said he and classmates build such a rollercoaster even then.

He added that on deciding to first enter the contest together two years ago, the boys just started building and went along. Drawings were used the next time to be “a little bit more prepared,” he said.

The most recent entry took them four to five hours to build, Heiser remembered. “We just used a hot glue gun and stuck them together, they dried pretty quickly.”

This year’s event was the third try, but not a charm for the boys, both rising sophomores at Southampton High School.

The winner was defending champion Maggie Woodward of Virginia.

“They timed us and gave us three hours. We did not finish. It was really tough, there were so many twists,” said Heiser.

There was another factor against them.

“Being so humid, the glue was not drying,” said Williams. “And being that it was a hanging coaster, the tracks would fall off the supports.”

Neither of the boys, both 15, are completely discouraged.

“We’re looking forward to next year,” Heiser said. “We’ll probably have to build a different coaster in the park.”

“It was a real fun experience,” Williams concluded.

Justin is the son of Megan and Michael Steven Heiser, and his sisters are Madison and Jessica.

James is the son of Kim and Jim Williams, and his siblings are Josh and Sarah.

  • spdrewry

    Nice to see a positive story in the TN about our local youth.

    Suggest Removal

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