Adrenaline junkies ride the "Wall of Death" in Cortland - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Adrenaline junkies ride the "Wall of Death" in Cortland

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CORTLAND, Ohio -

They seemingly defy gravity, flying by at speeds up to 55 miles an hour on a motorcycle on a wall that's straight up and down, also known as the "Wall of Death."

"It is America's original extreme motorcycle thrill show," said Charlie Ransom. "This was before Evel Knievel, before the kids on the freestyle dirt bikes right now and anything. This was it."

They stay true to their roots. Jay Lightnin's been doing this since 1969, defying gravity for a couple dozen shows a year.

"The wall itself is 30 feet in diameter. It's 14 feet tall and we ride around the inside of the walls," said Lightnin.

"This is the world's steepest mobile race course," said Hobo Bill.

"It's a thrill show. My goal is for you to walk down the stairs exhilarated," said Ransom.

For the riders, it's a fresh dose of adrenaline every hour.

"You might be an adrenaline seeker, some of us a little more than others," said Hobo Bill. "It's one heck of a day job."

One of the most unique parts about the show, other than the fact that they're riding at a 90-degree angle, is that all the fans stand at the top watching the action from above.

"The kids at the top, that's the real reward, the faces," said Ransom.

"I look up and everybody's staring at me. It's almost funny, 'What are you guys waiting for?' But it does get you a little bit," said Hobo Bill.

"We feed off that energy too," said Reckless Reda. "When we see the crowd up there and they're excited, it makes us that much more excited."

It's their chance to show off a little but also keep some of that spirit from the early 1900s alive and well.

"This is original live entertainment," said Hobo Bill. "Right before TV, there was over 200 of these. Now there's less than a handful."

The faces in the crowd still light up when they see it, with the "Wall of Death" entertaining a new generation.

The "Wall" is part of the Rockabilly Ruckus going on this weekend at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds in Cortland. Gates will be open Saturday from 9 am-8 pm and Sunday from 9 am-6 pm, with "Wall of Death" shows running every hour.

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