Friday, January 1, 2010

Cookie Ayers- Queen of the Daredevils

Cookie Ayers the "Queen of the Hell Drivers" made her living crisscrossing the eastern and southern United States with various carnivals and shows as one of the pre-eminent female riders of the motor drome, or as it was more commonly known, the Wall of Death.
The motor drome earned its nickname as one of the early-to-mid-20th century's intersections of shock value and entertainment, and performers occasionally did die on the wall or die years later from repeated injuries from mishaps.
A circular contraption with high, 90-degree walls, sometimes with a sloped section between the Wall and the ground, the dromes married science with the excitement and power of motorcycles and mixed in some panache in the form of the gutsy and acrobatic riders. Riders built up speed on the flat bottom of the drome and then made their way up the vertical sides, sticking for no reasons other than centrifugal force and an extremely well-developed sense of balance and riding know-how. Once up, riders would delight fans standing atop the walls by riding with no hands, sitting sidesaddle, standing up on the cycle or even staging two-person races, all while speeding around parallel to the ground.

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