VALENCIA ( — Colossus, the epitome of classic roller coasters, will squeeze its final screams from thrill-seeking riders Saturday.

Colossus was once the nation’s tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster. The ride, which looms over visitors as they park at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, will be shut down after 36 years of speeding riders through 100-foot drops at speeds up to 62 mph.

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Rachel and Jim Nelson have been coming to Six Flags to ride Colossus since the day it opened. In fact, they’ve ridden it some 150 times over the years: “It’s an old-school ride. It makes you feel like you’re a kid again.”

“This was such a big deal when it opened. We had friends who were too afraid to ride it because it was so big for its time,” Jim Nelson said.

The ride, which has been featured in films such as “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and TV shows such as “Step by Step,” opened June 29, 1978. The ride’s elevation stretches up nearly 13 stories, its length measures 8,650 feet over six drops and 14 hills, and it takes up more than 10 acres of land, according to Six Flags.

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Six Flags officials won’t say why the coaster is being shut down or what might replace it, but future plans will be announced Aug. 28.

After the ride is torn down, officials say the ride will be sold piece-by-piece.

“It’s sad,” Rachel Nelson said. “This is a benchmark for California. Everyone rides Colossus, front-row with your hands up.”

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John Nelson reflected on the ride’s significance, “It’s a part of your childhood. It’s like seeing your elementary school torn down.”