Worlds Of Fun Temporarily Renaming Patriot Roller Coaster
Sports fans will do whatever it takes when it comes to trying to help their team to victory. Kansas City’s Worlds of Fun has renamed their Patriot roller coaster in advance of this weekend’s AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots, all in an effort to support their hometown Chiefs.
Instead of Patriot, the roller coaster will be named “Patrick” for the immediate future, a nod to Chiefs’ starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
The name change was the brainchild of Chris Foshee, PR & Communications Manager for Worlds of Fun.
“Kansas City is a pretty special place. They’re extremely prideful,” Foshee said. “They are a community in the truest sense that they unify and get behind something they believe in. Since the Chiefs have been making their playoff run, it’s been impossible to ignore the buzz going around the city. At Worlds of Fun, we definitely wanted to add to and participate in that buzz and help the community rally behind the Chiefs.”
“Since the Chiefs made the playoffs,” he continued, “We’ve thought, ‘what can we do to have fun with this?’ If it ended up being Chiefs and Eagles, maybe we could have done something with Dorney Park. If the Super Bowl match-up ends up being Rams and Chiefs, maybe we can do something with Knott’s Berry Farm. Renaming the roller coaster Patrick was just something we did for the week of the Patriots game as kind of a fun thing to rally behind the team.”
The coaster “formerly known as” Patriot is an inverted roller coaster from Swiss designers Bolliger & Mabillard, which opened Worlds of Fun in 2006. Standing nearly 150′ tall and with a track length of 3,081′,
Patriot Patrick takes riders through four inversions during its 2-minute, 18-second ride cycle.
Foshee came up with an idea to change the name of the coaster, and sent it to the Worlds of Fun sign shop, who were able to quickly bring his vision to life.
“When we found out the Chiefs were playing the Patriots, I was looking for something fun we could do with the name of the coaster,” Foshee said. “I was planning on having fun with photoshop, or maybe just putting a tarp over the sign. However, I realized that ‘Patriot’ was really close to ‘Patrick,’ and it could be a quick fix.”
“On Monday afternoon, I sent a very poor Photoshop draft to our sign shop, who sent me a proof back that evening,” he said. On Tuesday, around 4:30, I was out there while they installed it, took a few pictures, and posted the sign to Facebook first. Within 25 minutes, we had 3,000 likes. It was nuts.”
Outside of a shared home city, there is some great synergy between the Kansas City Chiefs and Worlds of Fun, as both were founded by businessman Lamar Hunt; the Chiefs in 1963 and Worlds of Fun a decade later in 1973.
Once the photos were posted, they took the internet by storm, quickly going viral in both theme park circles and football media streams, with the original social media post being shared more than 13,000 times on Facebook and getting more than 24,000 “likes” on Facebook and Twitter combined. The coaster’s name has even been changed on its Wikipedia page.
The name change has quickly become a national story, appearing on several national outlets including NPR, NBC Sunday Night Football, NFL Live on ESPN, SportsNation, Yahoo! Sports and Bleacher Report.
“It really goes to show you the power of social media and Chiefs’ community,” Foshee said. “The fanbase in Kansas City was the first to catch on, to really start sharing and liking on social media. That type of boost that the Chiefs fans gave it got the attention of the larger outlets.” The attention even made its way to the Boston metro area, home of the New England Patriots, where Foshee was interviewed by a Boston sports radio show, and by a writer for The Boston Globe.
“The fact that we’re a feature story in Boston is pretty neat. They’ve been completely friendly about it. I was expecting a little more trash talk!” Foshee said with a laugh.
Oddly enough, the name change also elicited several Spongebob memes in response, in a reference to an early episode of the cartoon where Spongebob’s friend Patrick gets a job at the Krusty Krab, fielding multiple phone calls asking if this was the Krusty Krab, to which the starfish replies, “no this is Patrick.”
"Is this the Patriot?"
"NO. THIS IS PATRICK." pic.twitter.com/bQCJvCdprX
— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) January 17, 2019
If the Chiefs end up winning this weekend, Foshee is looking forward to making plans for the Super Bowl, where the Chiefs’ opponent would be either the New Orleans Saints or the Los Angeles Rams. Being a big sports fan himself, Foshee is looking forward to the potential of a “bet” with fellow Cedar Fair park Knott’s Berry Farm if the Rams defeat the Saints.
“We’re just going to focus on this week,” Foshee, a University of Alabama fan, told us, channeling his inner Nick Saban. “Once the Chiefs win and get to the Super Bowl, we’ll talk about it. I have a good relationship with the team at Knott’s, and if it happens, we’ll see if we’ll be able to have some fun between the two parks, I’m sure.”
We’ll definitely see what happens this weekend. Maybe the Patrick name will be here to stay for good, or at least a little bit into the 2019 season.
“If the Chiefs win it all, I’d love to see an ‘improved’ version of the sign that’s up in the park for the first few weekends of the 2019 Season,” Foshee said. “Maybe there could be a ‘Chiefs Day’ at Worlds of Fun to celebrate the team. That would be awesome!”