Victoria Jonas, Howard University News Service
Kings Dominion, a historic Virginia amusement park, is rebranding one of its controversially-named roller coasters. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the “Rebel Yell” roller coaster will now be known as “Racer 75.”
The ride was originally named after the war cry used by Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War. The renaming of the wooden coaster is an initiative of King Dominion’s “revitalization.”
Katelyn Sherwood, public relations manager of Kings Dominion wrote on the King Dominion blog, “Rebel Yell will become “Racer 75” as a nod to its 1975 entry into the park as well as giving recognition to ACE, the American Coaster Enthusiasts, (rACEr 75 – get it?!). ACE was founded in 1978 after a roller-coaster-riding event on this attraction. The new name, Racer 75, is also reflective of the design, a racer-style coaster.”
In light of the recent sensitivities surrounding Confederate symbolization, the question was raised if King Dominion made this rebranding decision to avoid the risk of offending future customers.
In response, Sherwood said in an email, “We’re constantly evaluating elements of the park and we plan updates in existing areas when we invest in new products in the vicinity.”
The “Racer 75” isn’t the only change coming to Kings Dominion. There are other changes in progress, such as renovations and name changes to the “Ricochet” coaster, the “Rock Shop” souvenir store, and “The Dinner Bell” restaurant.
The removal of Confederate monuments and memorials began after the Charleston church shooting in June 2015, where an armed white man murdered nine black churchgoers. Some believe the monuments glorify white supremacy, while others believe the artifacts are part of the United States’ history and southern culture.