Triumphant return turns into a terrifying scene on Saturday as Flying Farmer John Smith's Chevy Caprice corkscrews and crashes. This report from Hunter Andes and the Bismarck Tribune.

The extent of Smith's injuries wasn't immediately known. He was alert after the crash, trying to pull himself out of the car and talking to his rescuers. Emergency responders used the Jaws of Life to cut him out of the car, and a Makoti ambulance took him to meet up with a medical helicopter out of Minot, according to firefighters.

To start the day, John's son Brian had successfully completed his jump flying 90 feet over two cars.  Also in a Chevy Caprice. The Smiths must really hate the Caprice. There were chants of "Flying Brian" following his successful flight.  The Trib also had this quote from Brian's dad John before the jumps...

"I can't believe I'm doing this one," the elder Smith said. "It's soon coming to an end. This will probably be the end of it. Brian can have my nickname and I'll quit. It's time for me to quit."

Brian, I bet I speak for us all...you got away with it once.  Mom would like to put that in the family album and put you in a car with airbags.

Here's the story I submitted precrash.  Watch Flying Farmer John Smith in all the flaming glory of his jump over a burning trailer.

Flying Farmer John Smith is all healed up and ready to "soar".

It's been five years since John caught enough air to fly over a fire engulfed trailer.  Watch the most terrifyingly awesome YouTube video ever to come out of Makoti, North Dakota.

WOWZA!  If you didn't watch it yet...you really should! Most readers already probably watched it twice.

Well, that mix of heroism/insanity was back in October 2016.  This Saturday, the Flying Farmer will be hitting the ramp at 80 mph in a flying distance competition. This time is a little different...

John will be competing for distance against his son Brian!

Seems the apple doesn't fly too far from the tree.  Who wants to go first? The action will take place at a gravel pit north of Makoti up in the western part of the state.  I'm not sure if this is Brian's first flight, but his dad John has made more than 100 jumps in cars!

As a Minot native, I'm well aware of the exploits of the Flying Famer.  Jumping cars, jumping into a lake, jumping over flaming buildings...but I was shocked to discover the legend of the Flying Farmer is not common knowledge in Bismarck/Mandan.  Most of his jumps came before social media, but I was fortunate to find a build-your-own-website called "Angelfire" where John has 3 pages of pictures of his jumping exploits in the 90s. Including photos of him flying over 15 vans during Minot's Motor Mania. He also provides us a little insight into his way of thinking.

After High School, I started jumping in a legal manner. I entered a "Jump Of Death" contest at the North Dakota State Fair and won it. I was officially hooked.
    In the spring of 1992 I jumped off a dirt ramp in our field near Makoti, North Dakota. I was attempting to set a world record. I didn't even come close to setting a record, but I did manage to roll my car 4 1/2 times. A reporter from the Minot Daily News was there and he dubbed me "The Flying Farmer" and it stuck.

He did end up setting two World Records in the Guinness Book.  Both were for driving the most consecutive miles in reverse in a 24 hour period. So, he's got that to show for his efforts.

The Flying Farmer also had a jump in 2003 that resulted in cracked ribs, a broken nose, a serious eye cut, internal bleeding, and eventually seven back surgeries.

After a well-deserved 13 year break, John was back with that breathtaking burning trailer jump in the video. (please tell me you watched!)   Now after five years with all four wheels on the ground, Farmer and son are ready to fly high on Saturday.

Thoughts and prayers to them both.


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