Daredevils Cruise Into the Harley-Davidson Museum

A new exhibit features the death-defying vehicles used by daredevils.

A fourth-generation daredevil, Erwin Urias has been riding motorcycles since he was 2. And he’s been practicing his family’s signature act, the Globe of Death, since he was 5. The centerpiece of the act is a monstrous steel mesh sphere that’s large enough for Erwin and his family members to speed around inside on motorcycles, narrowly avoiding each other while completing vertical and horizontal loop the loops. Erwin remembers that when he met Evel Knievel at a show in Mexico City, Knievel wanted to test it out.

“My father was performing there too,” he says. “He let Evel try it, and he broke his collarbone.” 

The Globe of Death is just one of the highlights of the Harley-Davidson Museum’s summer exhibit, “Daredevils,”on view through Sept. 8. 

[alert type=white ]Since Erwin Uria’s great-grandfather Jose built the original Globe of Deat in 1912, it’s been a staple of the family’s act. [/alert]

Others include a “flying recliner” that Travis Pastrana incorporated into his Nitro Circus performances, and other death-defying vehicles installed throughout the 10,000-square-foot exhibition space. There’s also historic ephemera, some of it dating back a century.

“Stunt performers and daredevils are a constant in American culture,” curator David Kreidler says, “whether we’re talking today or 100 years ago.”

The museum is hosting many events with the exhibition, including a performance by the Division BMX Stunt Team on Aug. 10.

“Daredevils Cruise Into the Harley-Davidson Museum” appears in the August 2019 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning August 1, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

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Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.