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Young stunt woman on the road again


By Carla Allen THE VANGUARD NovaNewsNow.com Another summer of touring North America has begun for 17-year old stuntwoman Ashley Riddell and her family.

Young stuntwoman Ashley Riddell from Carleton is touring North America with her mother Toby Thibodeau and the rest of the Imperial Stunt Drivers. Riddell holds several wrestling medals and is being coached professionally over the summer. She plans on attending the University of Regina this September where she has a scholarship. Carla Allen Photo

The Carleton based Imperial Stunt Drivers have been entertaining thrill seekers for dozens of years.

Their show includes precision driving, crash stunts, clowns, fire, explosions and skiing (balance driving a car on two wheels).

Riddell does the autobat, a stunt that requires her to stand on the top of a car as it travels around the track at 45 mph and jumps over 10-inch ramps. Another car sometimes travels alongside and she joins hands with fellow performer Tonny Peterson.

She’s up there a good six or seven minutes and has yet to fall off. “I just wear my old shoes, whatever I’m wearing that day,” she said but admitted that practicing is hard work. “I have a full day of just practicing before I am in the air, so I know I’m not going to screw up for the rest of it,” she said.

Riddell also does the Slide for Life. She performs this by letting herself down from the tailgate of a speeding truck and sliding on the ground through a wall of flames.

She broke a growth plate in her arm on The Perch during one show. In that stunt a car drives beneath a six-foot high platform that she’s standing on and knocks it out from under her feet.

Details are foggy afterwards, but she does remember the 12-hour drive back to Halifax so the doctors could set her arm. “I was in pain,” she said.

Riddell has won four Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation provincial titles, and this spring, a silver medal in the Canadian juniors.

She is traveling with a wrestling coach this summer to improve her technique. “We’re hoping someday that Ashley will make the Olympics,” said her mother, Toby Thibodeau.

Riddell has accepted the University of Regina’s offer of a scholarship and plans on attending this September to study Crime Scene Investigation.

The family is now on the road with their first stop scheduled for Wausau, Wisconsin.

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