Three stand out, according to Theme Park Insider reader ratings - El Toro at Six Flags in New Jersey (prefabricated wood), last year's rebuild of Texas Giant at Six Flags' original park in Arlington (steel track on wood support), and the defending champion in this tournament, The Voyage at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana (wood track on steel support). Voting is open for 24 hours, and campaigning - in the comments, and on Facebook and Twitter - is encouraged.
El Toro - at Six Flags Great Adventure
Texas Giant - at Six Flags Over Texas
The Voyage - at Holiday World
Tomorrow: It's time to vote for the best theme park 3D movie.
El Toro is my favorite ride, so I'm biased. I've been on it more than 600 times. Sure, there's some things that will cause a bad ride, and I've had some. Front seat is lackluster, the ride can be a little sluggish on a cold Spring morning, I'm stapled in so it can be uncomfortable. But I've been on almost 300 coasters, and none tops this ride. I can't wait 'til April 5.
I've been on Voyage. My 50 rides over two days in 2007 were universally mind-blowing, even near/in the front. But people I communicate with on other sites...whose opinions I trust and value, along with some on this site..seem to agree that Voyage is not the ride it used to be. Rough, bumpy, etc. Maybe the work they're doing with the re-tracking and Timberliners will boost it. But if you haven't been on these rides, or haven't been on Voyage recently, please vote for ET. I've heard great things about the Texas Giant re-do, but it's not a part of my coaster experience.
I think one question to ask is: If Texas Giant's track was made of steel (in addition to its steel track), would it still be considered a wooden coaster? Probably not. Voyage has steel supports, but isn't considered a steel coaster because it's the track that classifies the coaster, not the supports.
Anyway, by keeping El Toro and Voyage out of the "traditional" wooden category we voted on earlier, that gave two other wooden coasters a chance to compete - including Prowler, which won the category. (The Beast lost in that category, for the poster who referenced it.)
So let's put aside the category name, and how about just voting on which of these three is the best coaster?
I would put Hades up there with El Toro and Voyage.
El Toro, on the other hand, is nearly perfect. Smooth, filled with airtime (including some extremly intense airtime), and twisty enough to not be a boring generic out and back. The only negative is that the ride operators staple riders in, but that is acceptable on this ride as a loose restraint could easily result in a rider getting flung out of the train. This ride just placed as best wooden coaster in the world in Mitch Hawker's poll, so it must be something, right? If you haven't been on it before, trust me...it delivers!
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My vote: The NEW Texas Giant and the I-Box retracking that helped it rise like a phoenix from the flames.
Incidentally, the Rocky Mountain Construction Group (the folks responsible for the rebirth of The Texas Giant) are working on a brand new coaster installation for Silver Dollar City in 2013. Being just 3.5 hours from SDC, I now have another reason to keep on living (Peter Jackson's upcoming HOBBIT movies keep me plugging along as well).