Cycle, Car Stunt Show Set May 24

Auto Extravaganza Custom-designed As $75,000 Fund-raiser

April 28, 1997|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Crashing cars and skidding cycles will roar into Westminster next month for a Motor Spectacular -- the brainchild of a mild-mannered local Rotarian and doctor of pharmacology.

Seven of the country's leading stunt drivers will perform 15 feats during the two- to three-hour show of jumps, crashes and roll-overs, rounded out with patriotic music and fireworks.

"A spectacular, death-defying auto and motorcycle show," screams a flier for the May 24 event, complete with TicketMaster information.

"You've seen them in action-packed movies, TV shows, Disney World and at NASCAR Tracks. Bring the whole family for Thrills, Chills and Spine-tingling action "

The tone seems at odds with the appearance of Arnold L. "Skip" Amass, a 60-ish pharmacist for the Food and Drug Administration, who said he was looking for a way to raise the Rotary Club's $75,000 pledge for the new amphitheater at Carroll Community College.

But the event isn't completely out of character: Amass is a fan of National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing -- "very much so" -- and a son was in the pit crew of champion NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt.

"There'll be lots of pyrotechnics and exploding -- all the things people love to see," Amass promised cheerfully.

A past president of the Rotary and a member for more than 25 years, Amass heads its events committee. The club wanted to celebrate its 75th anniversary with a major community project and chose the college amphitheater, he said. As a result, the project will be named the Rotary Amphitheater. The next step was to look for a major fund-raiser to meet the pledge, Amass said.

"I was just trying to think, `What hadn't been done here? What was new and different? What do people like?' and I thought of tractor pulls, monster trucks.

"Anything in the movies or TV with all these crashes gets very large ratings, so I'm trying to look for something like that," he said. "What had not been done was an auto daredevil show for many, many years -- since the Carroll County fair was in Taneytown -- 35 or 40 years [ago]."

He said Motor Spectacular could draw 20,000 people -- which would pay for the estimated $75,000 cost of the show and raise the Rotary's entire $75,000 pledge.

Amass was behind the Carroll County Air Spectacular shows of 1988 and 1989 that drew thousands of spectators.

Among the Motor Spectacular drivers, he said, will be the chief stunt-car driver for Universal Studios, Mark Hager of Cleveland, and the Guiness Book of Records motorcycle-jump champion, Todd Seeley, who set his 246-foot mark in 1988.

"They do the flashy car stunts for Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood," Amass said.

He rattled off a list of television shows, commercials and movies in which these drivers had appeared, including "Miami Vice," "Taxi Driver," "Ace Ventura" and "seaQuest."

Hager helped to put the show together by contacting other stunt drivers, said Amass, who knew of Hager from the stunts he did before races at the Charlotte, N.C., speedway.

Because the show has been custom-made for Carroll County and the Westminster Rotary, Amass said: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime type of thing -- not something you can just go anywhere and see."

The Motor Spectacular will have shows at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the 80-acre campus of Carroll Community College, south of Westminster at 1601 Washington Road. Tickets go on sale Thursday. The cost is $11 for adults, $8 for children younger than age 12.

The site is served by several major roads -- Routes 140, 32 and 97 -- with parking at nearby schools.

Shuttle service will be available from lots at Friendship Valley Elementary School, Carroll County Agriculture Center and Carroll County Farm Museum.

After the event, volunteers will tidy the field and return it to its normal condition for soccer and lacrosse.

When asked whether the stunts would damage the grounds, Amass said: "Surprisingly, no.

"These people have done this kind of thing before, and it usually just looks like a soccer game was played on it. The Rotary Club is committed to putting it back the way it was."

Pub Date: 4/28/97

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