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Motorcycle Stunt Show


Rhett "Rotten" Giordano
Official Site

He runs on adrenaline, cigarettes and the love of a crowd, a daredevil showman in the Evel Knievel tradition.  "Robbie Knievel, he does one big jump and it's over," Rhett says. "I am out here every day for eight to 12 shows."

His father owned the 1941, 30-foot round drum which is his Wall of Death.  He purchased it from him.  It takes seven days for he and his girlfriend to put it together for a show.  As a boy, friends said, he was not allowed to go near the Wall of Death.  His mother had him when she was 14 and named him Rhett.  "She liked 'Gone with the Wind.'"  It is his mother who provided him his inspiration to become somebody special, and although she died of breast cancer, Rhett said she still provides the "driving force in my life."

In the drum, Rhett Rotten is a freehand trick rider of the highest order, able to sit sidesaddle while going around and around on the sides of the wall and fly up towards his audience, which stands on top looking down.  He rides perched on top of the gas tank with his arms thrust up into the air.  Spectators  step back as Rotten revs up and come careening towards them, his feet and wheel coming only a few inches from their hands at close to 50 mpg.  The show is exciting!

"All my customers are covered by insurance, but the riders are not,"  says Rhett, noting there has never been an accident involving a member of the audience, but too many accidents to count inside the ring.  He and his partner, Jim Mishler, who rides a four-wheeler around the wall, are on their own when it come to injuries and as part of their show, Rotten collects dollar bills to go into an insurance fund.

Rotten figures that the combined interest in retro bikes and the advent of competitions like the X Games on television make him an appealing character for corporations that are marketing to that audience.  Until his corporate ship arrives, though, Rotten will be going round and round at bike show, taking dollar bills out of people's hands, sleeping in cheap motel rooms, working hard and being fueled by adrenaline and the cheers of the crowd.


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Copyright 1999 by Jerry D. Palmer.  All Rights Reserved.
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