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The Wall of Fire: Team Danger's Kevin Juarez did the stunt for the very first time in Vinton.

On the stages and the racing surfaces at small-town venues such as the Benton County Fair, hundreds of performers – race car drivers, singers and others – entertain crowds week after week.

Among them are some who have huge dreams – dreams of making it to the big time, the top of their profession, where bigger crowds at bigger venues can see and hear them.

Vinton residents have met some of those people in recent years, most notably dirt track racers Landon Casill and Ken Schrader, who spent years chasing the checkered flag in small towns in Iowa and neighboring states before earning a NASCAR ride and a weekly audience that numbers in the millions.

Now, another group of performers whose most recent show took place in Vinton is poised to take their act to a much larger stage. The members of Team Danger hope the History Channel’s new “American Daredevils” television show – which will feature three daredevil teams who entertain audiences with fire stunts and motor vehicle jumps and crashes – will change their lives.

Christopher Carpenter, Kevin Juarez and Nikki McBurnett – known when they perform as Danger, Jr., Jalepeno and Mighty Aphrodite – came to Vinton for the 2013 Benton County Fair. Their team leader, Greg Carpenter, had been injured in a stunt mishap a few days earlier at the Jackson County Fair in Maquoketa, and was recuperating at the U of I Hospitals.

Now, Texas-based Team Danger is celebrating as the History Channel has now publicly announced what they have known for months: A new TV show called “American Daredevils” will premier in October.

The show premieres at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22. The History Channel has begun airing promotional videos, and is advertising the show on posters. There is also a line of “American Daredevils” merchandise, including coffee cups, clothing and coasters, available on the History Channel web site.

During the Benton County Fair, Carpenter and Juarez performed fire stunts. Juarez, who recently joined the team, made his first “Wall of Fire” drive, crashing a small pickup into two wooden walls which were covered with straw and diesel fuel and set ablaze. And each of the two men took a turn sitting inside a car that was covered with fire; Carpenter took the stunt a step further and ran from the car as flames spread to his fire suit.

The TV show will feature many stunts like these by Team Danger as well as Team Spangler and Team Dizzy. Spanky Spangler, age 63, holds many daredevil world records. And Mr. Dizzy, Mike Buse, 44, of Washington State, has been performing a variety of stunts for more than a decade.

The 16-episode series will follow the daredevils as they travel from town to town, planning, setting up and performing their stunts, while discussing on camera the challenges and dangers of their profession.

The performance in Vinton was not filmed for the TV show, but the Maquoketa event will be included, say the daredevils. The Benton County Fair was the team’s last show of the season before returning to Texas.

Over the next few weeks, Vinton Today will share some of what Team Danger members told us about themselves during their visit to Vinton in July, as well as some thoughts they have shared in recent interviews.

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