As of 8 p.m. the night before the York Fair, the fate of its new roller coaster, the Mine Bender, remained uncertain.

The 54-foot-tall coaster awaits the state's approval to run, but all hope is not lost, said fair president Gene Schenck.

"It still might be (approved), but it hasn't," Schenck said. "Our optimism has faded, but our hope will never fade."

The ride was not refurbished till May, and discrepancies with paperwork have pushed its approval back, he said. Engineers have tested the ride over the last eight weeks and believe it to be safe, Schenck said.

But he said he's not applying any political pressure in order to get the ride approved.

"If the ride isn't safe, we don't want it to run," Schenck said. "But we're still hopeful."

Itchin' to ride: The coaster perated for only two seasons, 2001 and 2002, and clocked in only 200 rides in that time, said Derek Shaw, member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts organization.

What happened is that the original owner died, and his widow didn't want to operate it, he said. In effect, the ride is a hot commodity in the roller coaster world, and people from all over are planning on coming to the York Fair to ride, he said.

"There are a lot of roller coaster enthusiasts champing at the bit to get their credit on it," Shaw said.

Although the wild mouse-type ride's inaugural debut at the fair is in the balance, he said it should be up and running soon.


"The ride looks great, so I'm very optimistic that it should open," Shaw said.

Out of the 2,200 or so coasters in the world, he said he has his credit on about 1,350.

"So this will be 1,351," he said.

The York Fair runs from Friday through Sunday, Sept. 15.

-Reach Mollie Durkin at