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Well it started a long time ago I guess; Trial by Fire. The thought of challenging one of the elements in such a direct way, is, I would say, primitive, to say the least. Cavemen dancing around a raging fire, jumping through it necked, leaping and shouting praise to their God who led them on a successful hunt, sharing their joy with the whole tribe.

This story takes place under most of the same circumstances.

We were in Kankakee, Ill. at the Easyrider's All American Motor Cycle Rodeo, Carmela's first this year. I had been to the Rodeo's in Michigan and Pennsylvania. I put together a twin engine Harley trike to pull the sled. Although to heavy myself to make the 1000 lbs weight limit, I knew I could find a rider light enough.

Marvin did the first two. He sure earned the ride with all the work he did fabricating special parts and putting the final touches in place to make the thing run in the first place as a two wheeler and then making it work as a trike. The only problem we had was that the tires were not big enough to cut it against those Giant Capac Pullers installed on most of the other trikes in the fuel class. Although we didn't qualify in the pulls we did win the dirt drags they have on Sunday morning before the church service the CMA holds in the grandstands. I guess the roar of the drag racing gets everybody going after a hard Saturday night of partying. I know Marvin and Family had a blast and it was so good to see one of the guys that make stuff happen out front for a change. Thanks so much again Marvin.

Anyway, Jim Albany who camped next to us in the Kankakee pits, expressed a need to ride. At 155 lbs he just barely made weight and got the job. Tires were the culprit again and he failed to make the cut, but again we won the drag races on Sunday. Jim loved the chance to ride the double shovel trike and the experience convinced him to build his own puller for next year. By the way, he won $600.00 in cash and a pile of gift certificates in other events along with his lovely wife Pam.

It was hot on Friday night there in Kankakee. The Demolition Derby and ACC Wrestling were well received by the crowd. The high light was this guy from the Derby crew riding a beat up Honda through the Wall of Fire. Fireworks went off and the crowd was disappointed when it looked like the guy didn't actually go through it. I guess when he hit it the wall folded up and he went under it. They said he didn't let it burn long enough so it would shatter. The wall itself is two quarter inch thick four by eight foot sheets of lattice work, held up by a two by four frame, doused with gasoline and loaded with fire works

We were all standing around sort of amazed when Billy Tinnie pulled up in his golf cart. He is a long time photog for Easyrider's and a good friend. So Billy says I ought to do it on that twin engine machine of mine. He says it would be a lot more class and the truth is he is right and I said as much. The next thing you know everybody agrees that in Chilli it will be me who rides through the wall of fire.

While we were discussing it, I turns around and there is Carmela. She got a ride to the rodeo with Louann, her long time friend and neighbor. It was so good to see her there. Of course she expressed concern about my safety. Carmela takes care of my web page along with her son Caleb and all of my personal business. I reassured her that it was just a carnival stunt and she reluctantly agreed that it would be alright. As I write this still ten days away from the show I have to wonder will it be alright? I tell myself it will and cross my fingers at the same time.

I'll be 52 years old in October and wonder if I ain't past this sort of exhibitionism. I can count the scars and broken bones on and in my body from other times of less than fortunate happenings and have come to the conclusion that this is no big deal. Do it right and it will go just fine. Do it wrong and I got Rodeo Ray Tueksbury to put out the fire. He has promised me to be standing by with the proper tools to do it. Don't get me wrong, this is a professional stunt. There is always a chance something may go wrong with serious consequence. Don't try this at home.

Wall Of Fire Page 2

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