The Liondrome

As far as extreme sports go, this may seem a little much.

These vintage images capture dare devil bikers driving motorcycles around a so-called ‘wall of death’, built perpendicular to the floor.

That’s dangerous enough without adding the lions on board the vehicles, which sit neatly perched in makeshift side-cars as spectators gather to watch in awe.

Dangerous: A dare devil circles around the wood board motordrome with a lion in his cart
Wind-swept: Perched on the edge of the vehicle, the lion is driven around the 'Wall of death' at speeds as high as 80mph

 Perched on the edge of the vehicle, the lion is driven around the ‘wall of death’ at speeds as high as 80mph

Captured between the 1920s and 1960s, the  photographs, which feature on the Retronaut  website, show an event that became one of the most daring acts at fairgrounds and carnivals in the early 1900s in America.

The motorcycle craze – which peaked in the  1930s – began with single drivers circling around a wood-paneled motordrome at high speeds and completely vertical.

Over a hundred ‘walls of death’, as they became known, were traveling the states by the 1930s.

Circles: Taken in the mid-1900s, this photograph snaps a lioness roaring angrily at the driver of the vehicle

Taken in the mid-1900s, this photograph snaps a lioness roaring angrily at the driver of the vehicle
Extreme motorcycle shows became one of the most daring acts at fairgrounds and carnivals in the early 1910s in America

Extreme motorcycle shows became one of the most daring acts at fairgrounds and carnivals in the early 1910s in America

As organizers increased the angle of the walls throughout the years, making them more steep, the number of serious accidents increased.

One of the most popular versions of  the sport was nicknamed the ‘Liondrome’, so-called  because it featured a rider accompanied by a tamed lion.

Traveling with a lion was always risky business – as captured in these photographs – where lions and lionesses are seen letting out gigantic roars.

A man and his pet lion: The cub looks a tad grumpy as it rests on the motorcycle ahead of the show

A man and his pet lion: The cub looks a tad grumpy as it rests on the motorcycle ahead of the show
'Death riders and racing lion': A signed photograph of a lion and the courageous riders

‘Death riders and racing lion’: A signed photograph of a lion and the courageous riders

The drivers placed the animals in side-cars, unless they were small enough, in which case the lions were sometimes placed on the rider’s lap.

One of the most difficult parts of the stunt was to induce the lion to remain quiet  throughout the event.

After a number of accidents in which riders were injured or killed, it was decided the sport had become too dangerous and it ended.

Attribution: Mail Online

Advertisements

About thecommonconstitutionalist

Brent is not a scholar. He’s not an author or speaker (yet). He hasn’t published a book nor does he write articles for magazines (yet). He has no advanced literary degree or pedigree (never will). He is just an American who writes and shares what interests him. He cares about the salvation of this country and a return to its Constitutional roots. He believes in God, country and family.
This entry was posted in Fun Stuff, History, Photography and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Liondrome

  1. This is nuts but fascinating. Amazing post.

  2. Karen says:

    The drivers are obvious idiots, but the poor animals had no say in it. 😦

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s