A different aerial act from Thursday's cirque-style arts took center-stage Friday as three daredevils from different parts of the country met up in front of the Budweiser Grandstand at the Chautauqua County Fair to put on a show for a packed audience.
Tricks, flips and tailspins in midair captivated the eyes of many during the extreme motorcycle aerial show. Three professional riders competed against each other in a friendly contest for first place, based on which of them could rile the audience up the most.
The performers included Tim Dyson from St. Louis, Mo., Dean Dotson from Memphis, Tenn. and Mike Angerman from Atlantic City, N.J. Dyson was the most experienced of the three, as he said he had been riding for almost three decades, 13 years of that being professional.
"This is what we live for!" he said to a cheering audience.
Dotson said he had been riding for 11 years, three of which included freestyling. Angerman told the crowd he started riding at the tender age of 4 and had eight years of professional experience under his belt.
"This is definitely a fun lifestyle, so everyone should get involved with it," Dotson said to the crowd.
The three daredevils performed high jump after high jump to the amazement and cheers of a rowdy crowd. Dotson's signature move included a tailwhip, where we would rotate his bike slightly from the back in midair, then straighten out for the landing. Dyson enjoyed letting go of the bike's handlebars and free-falling off the seat in midair before sitting back down to steer to safety.
After the performers found their footing on solid ground at show's end, one thing certainly had the crowd all abuzz: Angerman's complete backflip in the air with his bike, which he performed to a standing ovation from the crowd. One audience member went so far as to scream, "That's flippin' nuts!" after Angerman completed his stunt.
"As soon as I heard they were adding flips to their show, I knew that would be a good reason to bring them back to the fair," Dave Wilson, fair director for the grandstand, said. "Motorsports are where it's at in Chautauqua County. It's nice to provide something different from cars all the time, too."
Wilson also said the extreme motorcycle group has been around previous times in the fair, though there is an effort to try and spread out when the event is held so the fair doesn't get stale.
"We like to rotate events around and keep things as fresh as possible from year-to-year," he said. "I'm sure, however, we will bring this group back again in the future. They put on a good show."
After two encore bike backflips by Angerman, kids and teenagers alike rushed onto the track to meet the three cyclists and snag autographs from them. Steve Manciocchi, the show's emcee, was happy to see the kids swarm the performers.
"This was definitely a spectacular show," he said. "You could definitely tell the backflip was an instant crowd-pleaser. These guys are highly skilled."