Risking their life for your entertainment

For the past few years, I’ve photographed several daredevil stunt shows – three times at Lebanon Valley Speedway, and once at the Orange County Fairgrounds.  Every time I photograph these events, it’s a mixture of excitement and danger, of thrills and chills and spills and what-in-the-blessed-name-of-Joie-Chitwood-are-these-people-thinking action.

I’ve made friends with several of the stunt drivers and daredevils – two of them, Rocky Hardcore and Crash Moreau, are Facebook friends of mine – and whenever either of them are performing in the general area, they usually hire me to photograph their events.  It’s a reciprocal arrangement – while I’m photographing their stunts, I’m also trying to come up with new and unique photo tricks to get something extra-special for my use.

Earlier this month, “my use” included a new article for RoadKing magazine.  RoadKing, the travel magazine that you can pick up at any TA truckstop in the United States, features my article about Crash Moreau, Rocky Hardcore and the life of the traveling daredevils.

You can read the article at this link.

Now if you watch the cable television series American Daredevils, you get some idea of what these stunt drivers will go through – putting their lives on the line in crashes, falls, explosions and lots of fire – for the crowds’ enjoyment.  But after talking with Crash and Rocky about their lives, their goals, their successes and their survivals, you get the idea that being a stunt driver isn’t a crazy choice of life.  It’s a mixture of adrenaline and physics.  Hit the ramp at just the right speed to sail through the air and land on the exit ramp.  Too fast, you miss the ramp and you crash.  Too slow, you miss the ramp and you crash.

And that’s assuming that every variable is covered.  Sometimes a rainstorm softens a dirt ramp, ruining a jump.  Sometimes the stunt car barely has two miles of life left in it – and the ramp is two and a half miles away.  I’ve even seen one time where a disgruntled driver intentionally crashed his car into a stuntdriver’s setup, wrecking the stunt.

But the show must go on.  And these drivers find a way to make even the most outrageous stunt seem both dangerous and thrilling at the same time – while cheating death one more time.