10 PNE COASTER, Pacific National Exhibition, Vancouver
Though the PNE was the site of his NDE (near-death experience), Rodriguez (below) loves this "rickety wooden workhorse."
9 SWAMP FOX, Family Kingdom Amusement Park, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
The rare train with legroom. "What I call Southern comfort," says Rodriguez, who rode the Fox for 110 hours in 1979.
8 BIG DIPPER, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, England
The classic bare-bones, complete-circuit wooden coaster: "My first choice for competitive coaster marathoning."
7 WILDCAT, Lake Compounce Theme Park, Bristol, Conn.
Meek, scenic and Skippy-smooth: "Like riding a piece of antique furniture."
6 MAGNUM XL-200, Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
The world's first megacoaster is still the best: "My favorite steel ride. It sparked the current industry arms race."
5 TEXAS CYCLONE, AstroWorld, Houston
A steel-and-wood-hybrid homage to the Coney Island Cyclone, "with a frightening character all its own."
4 MR. TWISTER, Elitch Gardens, Denver
"A masterwork with fantastic spiraling and hairpin turns." And that was before Elitch moved and became a Six Flags, and Mr. T was rebuilt as Mr. Twister II.
3 THE BEAST, Paramount's Kings Island, Cincinnati
"Riveting helix, rock-face steepness, precipitous drops and a strobe-lit tunnel."
2 THUNDERBOLT, Kennywood, West Mifflin, Pa.
"Its surprising opening descent and superbly orchestrated twists and turns make this an extraordinary experience."
1 THE CYCLONE, Astroland, Coney Island, N.Y.
"The Mount Everest in my backyard. The first drop still rocks me 22 years after my first marathon."