Rollercoaster record: Man notches 23,000 rides at Valleyfair

A Rosemount man is on quite a roll, when it comes to rollercoasters, or at least one rollercoaster in particular. For 16 summers in a row, he's been obsessed with one of the coasters at Valleyfair, riding it now thousands upon thousands of times.

"I just love the speed of it. The air time, the different G-forces," explains "Renegade" Mike Cameron. "I can't think of a better way to spend summer."

But having this much fun riding a rollercoaster should be against the law.

"It's kind of weird that it just kind of grew into this, " Cameron explains. "Just loving it, riding the coaster."

His passion for rollercoasters isn't a fleeting thrill. In fact, Cameron has now ridden the Renegade Rollercoaster an astonishing 23,000 times.

"It's kind of exciting. Like I can't believe it's 23,000 rides already," he explains, reflecting on his achievement.

Cameron's dedication takes him to Valleyfair almost every day during his lunch hour and then again after work to experience the ups and downs of his favorite amusement park attraction over, and over, and over again until the park closes. He averages 28 rides per visit.

"From the drop to the brakes, it doesn't slow down, doesn't give you a chance to catch your breath. It's just nonstop the whole time," Cameron describes.

His love affair with the Renegade began more than 15 years ago when he was one of the first people to ride it in 2007 when it debuted.

"I rode it the first day, opening day, I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, this is how a rollercoaster should be. It's like, I love the thing. So I just rode it the rest of the day, kept track of my rides.'"

Within a few years, he started "marathoning" it, as he calls it, to see how many rides he could take in a single season. By 2017, he reached 10,000 rides to celebrate the rollercoaster's 10th anniversary – and to earn the nickname "Renegade Mike".

Since then, he has more than doubled his total number of rides on the Renegade, also traveling across the country to ride other rollercoasters from coast to coast.

"The ultimate goal is to ride them all, of course, but that probably won't ever happen because there's a big world to ride coasters on," Cameron acknowledges.

He keeps a shrine to the ride in his living room, featuring memorabilia of the coaster like a segment of the lift chain to the original grill from one of the trains.

When asked if he's addicted to riding the Renegade, Cameron cheerfully admits, "I guess I am. There are worse things I could be addicted to so I'm happy to be addicted to this."

His friendships with the park employees keep him coming back for more.

"Meeting people from around the world that work here every year, that's kind of one of my favorite things, getting to know these people," he shares.

And he plans to continue coasting for as long as he can.

"As long as my body will let me. I don't see an end in sight. I do kind of have a goal of hitting 42,236 rides, which would equal the amount of riding Renegade around the world," Cameron concludes.