Born on a cold February afternoon, Kris Rowberry got hooked on amusement parks early in his life. Ask what his first memory is – and he’ll tell you of a family trip to Knott’s Berry Farm in Southern California. The highlight of every summer for the Rowberry family? The day trips to the local amusement parks, of course!
Unfortunately, Kris didn’t immediately see the fun in riding roller coasters – especially ones with inversions (loops). It wouldn’t be uncommon to find him throwing a tantrum or thinking of some obscure ailment that would prevent him from riding with his parents. Instead, he watched over his younger sister, Katelyn.
That all changed on July 17th, 1993. On that day, Kris’s father, Keith, decided enough was enough, and convinced him to ride, “The Tidal Wave” – a short (and now defunct) launching coaster. Keith felt it was the perfect ailment for Kris’s fear. Kris thought his dad was nuts, but he reluctantly walked the steps up to the loading platform.
Kris walked into the line that day as a coaster-phobic…but emerged from the exit as a coaster-holic. Something unlocked in his head on that ride, and with over 385 different coasters now under his belt, he hasn’t looked back.
Tragically in the summer of 2004, Kris lost his mother to Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, or AML. A sentinel moment in his life, Kris decided to adopt the phrase “Carpe diem” as his life motto. Life was short – so why not life it while you have it? Since then, he’s done just that, with Great American Thrills® being the culmination of that event.
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Great American Thrills® is a television concept that takes viewers on a personalized tour of America’s amusement parks (both past and present) to showcase our country’s healthy obsession with thrills. All the while, host Kris Rowberry shares with the viewer what makes each park special, as well as tips to maximize your fun when you visit them with your family.
For instance, did you know Northern California has lost over 25 amusement parks? Or that by choosing to wear cargo shorts to any Six Flags theme park can save a family of four over $30 over the course of a day?
Those are just a few of the many questions about theme and amusement parks that are answered with Great American Thrills™ – the next generation of theme park television programming.
There’s no killer crabs; no gunsmiths; no family squabbles; no pawning and definitely no gold (except “panning” for gold at some California parks). This is an original travelogue program that gives you and your family the opportunity to re-discover our love affair with the amusement park – and in the process, experience the quintessential “American” experience that lives on in them.