December 2nd, 2011
Aaron Evans is a friendly, unassuming guy from Milwaukee’s northwest side who spent two years in his late teens living in a car. But lately, his fame has been growing by leaps and bounds. Evans, 23, a longtime gymnast, has perfected a stunt in which he does a flip in the air over an oncoming car.
The stunt (the video went viral on the Internet) has won him a Guinness World Record and an appearance on a History Channel reality show called ” Stan Lee’s Superhumans” (the show dubbed Evans “The Spring”). And on Monday, he’s jetting off to Beijing to jump over cars for Chinese television.
Michael Binkow, the Los Angeles-based executive producer of the television pilot where Evans set the Guinness record, calls him a “modern-day Evel Knievel.”
“He’s a kinesthetic genius,” says John Wamser, a Milwaukee gymnastics coach and instructor who’s been a father figure and sometimes employer to Evans since he was in seventh grade. “He can do just about any activity and figure it out right away.”
Evans himself says it’s “crazy” what he’s been going through in the past year since the world started noticing him. Asked for his reaction to all of it, he says, “Oh my goodness, Dude. This is not happening.”
Evans’ now-famous stunt was actually dreamed up by Patrick Sengyothinh, a factory worker and auto mechanic with a flair for promotion and video. Sengyothinh, 22, who befriended Evans in Wamser’s east side gymnastics gym in 2008, was familiar with a viral video for Nike shoes, in which Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant appears to leap over a speeding Aston Martin. That video’s widely believed to be faked. (What National Basketball Association team would let its star risk injury with a stunt like that?) But Evans’ stunt is real.
He and Sengyothinh developed it in March or April 2009 on a street near Miller Park, and then Evans performed it publicly at a couple of car shows Sengyothinh organized at State Fair Park in 2010 and 2011.
In the stunt, the car drives directly at Evans, who takes a few running steps at it and then leaps just as the front bumper is about to hit him in the shins. He does a full flip in the air and lands well behind the car, which is traveling 25 mph to 30 mph.
When you see the stunt on video, as producer Binkow points out, Evans makes it look easy – but it takes considerable skill and daring. (Translated: This is dangerous. Do not try it at home.)
Evans set the world record in September, in the pilot of a show produced for truTV, called “Guinness World Records Gone Wild.” Binkow says truTV hasn’t decided whether to pick up the show.
Guinness spokesman Jamie Panas in New York confirms Evans does hold the record, though.
The record is actually for “fastest to jump head-on over three moving cars.” Binkow said the show was looking for somebody to set that record and found video of Evans online. Producers flew Evans and Sengyothinh to LA for the show. It was the first time Evans had ever been on an airplane, and he had Sengyothinh take a photo of him in the cockpit with the captain.
Jumping 3 cars
In the car-jumping segment, video recorded on a blocked-off street next to the Staples Center downtown, Evans jumped over a Honda Del Sol, motioned for a Saturn Sky and jumped over that and then did the same with a Toyota MR2 Spyder. His world-record time, from when his feet left the ground in front of the first car to when he landed behind the third, was 1:11.79. Not that anybody had ever set a record before doing the stunt.
“The (Guinness) adjudicator was speechless,” Binkow said. “He didn’t even know what to say.”
The “Stan Lee’s Superhumans” show, named for the creator of Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk and other classic comic-book heroes, aired last month on the History Channel.
The segment on Evans, filmed in February, shows him doing a flip over a 7-foot pile of gym mats and then performing his car stunt inside a south side warehouse. He actually does the car jump twice, because on the first try, his foot hits the car’s hood – though he completes the flip successfully.
The show’s producers interview Kris O’Connor, an associate professor in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s kinesiology department, to establish Evans’ “superhuman” bona fides.
O’Connor, who has his UWM students measure their jumping ability as a lab exercise, said this week that Evans is a good jumper, though not the best he’s ever seen.
“I’ve seen a thousand kids jump,” he said. “He’s in the top two to three percent, probably.”
What really impressed O’Connor, though, was Evans’ spatial awareness in the air.
“His ability to know where he is in space and to time that jump is pretty amazing,” he said. “He’s kind of catlike. He always lands on his feet.”
O’Connor also said that he’s worked in the past with Olympic athletes, and Evans’ focus on his car-jumping stunt reminds him of their focus on their individual events.
Bruce Lee inspired him
Evans says his gymnastics career started when he was 5 watching a Bruce Lee movie. In the movie, Lee runs up a wall and does a back flip, landing on his feet on the ground. Evans says he went out into his mom’s northwest side backyard that day and tried the stunt, succeeding on the first attempt.
He kept up the self-taught stunts through middle school, when a teacher worried about him and his friends performing the feats on concrete and brought them to Wamser.
Evans’ education and work history have been a challenge. He and Wamser say he attended eight different schools in his middle and high school years. He finally graduated at age 20 from the Kilmer South alternative high school on the south side.
From age 17 to 19, after his mom couldn’t support him in her house anymore, he lived in his 1966 Buick LeSabre, for at least part of the time with his pet iguana. Evans’ main diet: ramen noodles.
Over the years he’s had a string of jobs, including at McDonald’s and KFC restaurants, and as a tattoo artist in a studio on N. Teutonia Ave.
These days, he earns his money from gymnastics instruction he gives at Wamser’s old gym, now run by the Milwaukee Turners, and repairs he does out of his home on electronic devices.
“He’s a great instructor,” Wamser says. “He has infinite patience with all levels of students.”
Evans lives near N. 110th St. and W. Appleton Ave. with his mother, his girlfriend and her daughter.
Besides the car-jumping, there’s YouTube video of him doing something he calls free running, and others call parkour, which, as he puts it, includes “jumping off of porches and the tops of houses.”
He’s not getting rich yet out of his car-jumping stunt, though Chinese TV producers, who are also connected to the worldwide Guinness organization, are paying him some money in addition to travel and hotel expenses for him and Sengyothinh, who’s going along on the China trip.
The two hope to take a business trip later to New York City, where Evans has engaged an agent and plans another jump, and later a trip to Italy, where another Guinness-related TV show plans to feature Evans.
Further ahead, Evans hopes to extend his world record to jumping four cars, and then five.
Beyond that, he says, he dreams of starting his own gymnastics studio, along the lines of Wamser’s, and helping street kids like himself keep active and out of trouble. He also wouldn’t mind being in a movie, if that opportunity should come.
That would fulfill something Sengyothinh says he told Evans when they were getting to know each other:
“Dude, I’m going to make sure you get to Hollywood. Because your talent is really out of this world.”
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
11965 54151 38
his path of destiny = 38 = Take care of yourself.
find out your own numerology at: