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Arizona grandpa constructs DIY rollercoaster in backyard

Gary Dykman spent three months constructing a small rollercoaster in the backyard of his home in southern Arizona.
Credit: Gary Dykman

TUCSON, Ariz. — Gary Dykman really enjoys spoiling his grandkids. 

But rather than bore his family with swing sets or sandboxes, Dykman's begun to turn his property into a mini amusement park. 

He's already built a self-propelled merry-go-round contraption and spent three months constructing a small rollercoaster in the yard of his home located northwest of Tucson.  

The retired mechanic said the do-it-yourself project wasn't too difficult to figure out. 

"I just got some pipes and tubing and started bending it," Dykman told 12 News.  

Dykman said he got the idea for the rollercoaster shortly after his daughter announced she was pregnant with the family's first grandchild. 

Now the one-of-a-kind toy has become a popular attraction for birthday parties and family gatherings. But Dykman said he only lets relatives take a spin on the little rollercoaster since he doesn't want to deal with any liability issues.  

After initially testing out the rollercoaster with some bags of concrete, Dykman began allowing family members to take a ride along the track.  

The rollercoaster is designed to transport one rider at a time on a track that's about 190 feet long and moves up to 20 mph.

"The first time we had someone on it, they lost their hats on that little hump," he recalled.

Credit: Gary Dykman

Dykman said the welding skills he's picked up over the years have come in handy for the special projects he's carried out on his property. 

Now that the retiree has more time on his hands, Dykman said he's going to be working on some more homemade projects in the future.

He's already begun welding together old horseshoes to construct life-size statues resembling horses, buffalo, and the iconic Saguaro cactus.   

Maybe a Ferris wheel could be the next amenity Dykman adds to his backyard? 

Credit: Gary Dykman

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