A grand "reopening" ceremony was held recently at Knott's Berry Farm, for the Timber Mountain Log Ride attraction. It had been closed since the beginning of the year for an extensive five-month refurbishment.
The "Calico Log Ride," as it was originally called, first opened to the public on July 11, 1969. Actor John Wayne and his son, Ethan, were flown to Knott's by helicopter to host the opening ceremony.
Here's a shot of Ethan shaking hands with Walter Knott.
And this photo shows him and his dad watching as Cordelia Knott breaks a bottle of boysenberry juice over the bow of one of the logs.
Mr. Wayne and his son were the first guests to ride the new attraction that day.
Special grand opening entertainment included log rollers in the splash-down pond out in front of the attraction.
For the rededication ceremony last month, the entertainment included members from the park's new show, "Boomtown." As stated on the banner, it's "Where Cirque and the Old West Collide!"
This guy was doing a balancing act using wooden crates and "moonshine" jugs.
The Ghost Town Miners (formerly known as the Miner 49ers) were also on hand to liven things up.
And once again, Charles Phoenix was the master of ceremonies. He had helped open the three new Boardwalk attractions just an hour earlier. To see the photos from that ceremony, click here for part one of this series
Ethan Wayne was also in attendance for the rededication. Below, Charles shows Ethan the photo of him shaking hands with Walter Knott back in 1969.
Beth Swift, the Mayor of Buena Park, gave a wonderful speech acknowledging Bud Hurlbut as the creative genius behind the Log Ride. She even designated May 30th as "Bud Hurlbut Day."
Taking the first ride of the day were Knott's General Manager Raffi Kaprelyan (in back), Lara Hanneman, Director of Entertainment Production (middle), and Ride Maintenance Supervisor, Kelley Roberts (front).
Just for the day, a special exhibit was set up in Jeffries Barn (Wilderness Dance Hall). The exhibit included concept art, construction photos, and Bud Hurlbut's original Log Ride models. Also on display was this original Log Ride figure.
The figure was being auctioned off and the proceeds were being given to the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.
Photos of the Log Ride's original interior scenes were on display.
This photo shows John Wayne addressing the crowd on opening day. Record crowds showed up at the park that day.
Here are Bud Hurlbut and Walter Knott going for a ride.
And here's a photo of Mr. Hurlbut showing Walter Knott an early concept model of the new attraction that he was proposing for the park.
That original model was also on display in the barn.
A sign explained about some of the details of that first model, including the three tunnels on the right side of the mountain. The original design was going to have the mountain extending over the Stage Coach path, the Calico Railroad tracks and the path for the old Burro attraction.
Bud Hurlbut reworked the design of the ride and built a second model. That second model is actually closer in design to what was actually built.
Detailed information about the second model:
Some early concept art was also included in the exhibit.
Certificates for "100 Shares" of the Calico Logging Company were being handed out to guests in the barn.
Now, let's take a look at the new ride. Yay, the original Log Ride ticket booth is still standing! Today, it serves as a "snack shack."
If you look in the center of the photo above, a new figure is visible outdoors.
This is the first indoor scene, inside the saw mill. The figures are now all animatronic.
Here is that outdoor figure that we saw before boarding.
The next two photos are from the second indoor scene. I have to say, there are so many figures in the attraction now, that it is difficult to see them all on just one ride-through....not to mention trying to photograph all of them.
I was glad to see that the old logging train still remains in this scene (not pictured).
This guy is hanging around in the caverns at the bottom of the first drop.
Here is an official Knott's press-release photo of the same scene. I will point out now that the official photos from Knott's depict the scenes much more accurately in comparison to my photos in which a flash was used.
Again, my photo:
And the official Knott's photo:
Two more official Knott's photos:
And my photo:
These last six are all official photos from Knott's. These scenes are viewed just before going up the second lift hill:
I really enjoyed the updates that were made to the Calico Log Ride. The company responsible for the refurbishment was Garner Holt Productions. After seeing what they were able to do with the Log Ride, it got me thinking.....what if they were hired to bring back Kingdom of the Dinosaurs to Knott's, or even better, Knott's Bear-y Tales! One can only hope! :-)