Whether they’re athletes, stuntmen or just bat-crap crazy— those things are up for debate— but Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham insists his Nitro Circus team puts on a mind blowing show.
“Athletes,” Fotheringham said with a laugh.
“Some of us are athletes I like to think; I’ve been training like one lately trying to get into shape for it, but typically it’s around 30 to 40 athletes depending on how many people have gotten hurt.”
Fotheringham and Nitro Circus are bringing their show on the road for a North American tour and it’ll be stopping in at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds on May 27.
The show features a 50 ft. ramp, down which they’ll throw themselves on anything they can attach wheels to, including a bathtub, ice chest, La-Z Boy recliner, and of course, Fotheringham’s reinforced custom wheelchair.
Every show is different, but packed with stunts and Fotheringham assures that regardless of the night’s format, Lloydminster is in for something gnarly.
Producers try to get an idea of what they want done during the night, but that’s where it stops as the athletes/stuntmen/crazy people have tendencies to freewheel stunts as the ideas pop into their heads.
“Sometimes someone will be like, last minute, ‘Hey, I want to try this trick,” said Fotheringham, describing the unpredictability of the performers.
“Or they’re running up the ramp and the producers are like, ‘Wait. What’s going on?’ And people are just trying to throw down the biggest tricks they can.”
As one could imagine, this kind of spontaneity in such a dangerous environment could lend itself well to injuries.
Fotheringham said accidents are common place and he’s no stranger, having bashed himself unconscious before, as well as knocking a few teeth out trying flips in his wheelchair.
Some of his personal favourite stunts are his front flips and double backflips, both of which are hit or miss depending on his luck for the night.
“Almost every show you’ll see someone crash—the fans love it,” he said.
“My worst injury was in a show, I got knocked out, just knocked unconscious; they had to stop the show and wake me up, but I’ve never broken a bone so I’m really fortunate for that.
“I have busted my teeth out a few times though, which sucks.”
Pulling off a show of this scale takes a sizeable crew with up to 100 people and 16 semi-trucks rolling from town to town, hauling ramps, dirt bikes, pyro technics and everything else it takes to make the fans happy.
Aside from Fotheringham and his wheelchair, the dirt bikes and random furniture they attach wheels to, fans can also expect to see BMX riders and pro skateboarders flying through the air as well.
“Oh yeah, and flamethrowers that just shoot giant flames the size buildings,” said Fotheringham with his happy-go-lucky smile.
“That’s my favourite part, every now and then they let me push the button.”