Enjoying the Ups and Downs

April Tainter

ThedaCare At Work nurse April Tainter, left, with thumbs up, gives her approval of the one of many coasters she rode during American Coaster Enthusiasts’ 2013 “Coaster Con.”

April Tainter, employee health and occupational health nurse at ThedaCare At Work in Shawano, has a life filled with ups, downs and the occasional corkscrew, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. As a member of American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) since 2008, Tainter regularly visits amusement parks to ride the most hair-raising coasters ever conceived. 

Earlier this summer, Tainter, along with several family members, joined fellow enthusiasts at ACE’s annual “Coaster Con.” Every year, nearly 700 members from around the country descend on a different region of the country to visit approximately 3-5 parks over the weeklong event.

“We choose our annual location based on the proximity of multiple parks, as well as the hot, new coaster,” Tainter explained. “We track the rides we go on through our ‘coaster counter.’”

As a nurse, Tainter knows the importance of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure, and her awareness regarding the health and safety of others is naturally heightened. “The coasters we ride are very safe and are well-built,” she said. “Safety is a high priority for the parks we visit.”

Tainter says the most enjoyable part about her job at ThedaCare is working with fellow employees to help improve their overall health. She also has enjoyed being a nurse for more than 32 years, a career she believes prepared her for her current hobby.

Tainter has visited 100-plus parks around the United States, but none overseas—yet. Her favorite amusement park is Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and her favorite single ride is Bizarro at Six Flags New England, near Springfield, Mass.