"The 'ramp' I rolled up when I started my relationship with
— John "Mercury" Morgan
John "Mercury" Morgan — United States
John "Mercury" Morgan grew up in the early 1970's in Rochester, New York. Like most kids of that era, John became fascinated with Evel Knievel. John's goal was to make stunt riding his life. His mother would not allow him to get a motorcycle, so he stuck to bicycles. Morgan practiced everyday popping wheelies and jumping over anything and everything he could. He became known throughout his neighborhood for his feats of courage and skill. Ever the promoter, John convinced a local TV news crew to even come out and film him jumping his bicycle over 15 trash cans.
One day the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus came to town. Morgan immediately fell in love with the circus. He wanted to be a performer for them, so he contacted the producer for the circus. The producer told John to send him promo materials and he would take a look. Not too long after that, the circus informed him that there was no place in the circus for his daredevil feats. Disappointed, but not discouraged, John performed anywhere he could. From fairs to carnivals, wherever he could talk someone into letting him perform, he would go.
When John was a junior in high school, he heard that Gene Sullivan was going to speak at a church youth group. That name rang a bell for John because Gene was a motorcycle stunt rider and a former body guard of Evel Knievel's. Morgan figured he would sit through Gene's talk and then show him his stunt portfolio and maybe Gene could help him reach his dreams. After Gene's talk, John showed him his stunt work. Gene replied, "That's really great, Merc, but have you let Jesus into your life?" John said he did, but Gene knew Morgan hadn't. Gene had a ministry called, "Jumping for Jesus" and he invited Morgan to come along with him. In that time, John accepted Christ into his life and that's when God took control of John's life.
Over the next two years, John added more things to his shows, including flying through a wall of fire at the end of his jumps. He set a record for jumping a bicycle over 10 cars and appeared on television's "That's Incredible" jumping over nine elephants! But John kept getting discouraged, he kept getting turned down by the circus. He returned home discouraged. Gene informed him that his faith was being tested.
July 22, 2009 – John jumped his bicycle the distance of a 10 car gap, through the flaming wall (placed on the jump ramp) at the Hemlock Fair in Hemlock, New York. The jump was done using his brand new ramp system and all worked fantastic! Photos courtesy of John Morgan.
John realized that God wanted him to grow spiritually and get well grounded in a local church, before show business and personal accomplishments. John left the stunt business and got a job as a bicycle salesman. "God wanted me faithfully involved in a local church. That's so important," said John. Then one day John got a call from Ringling Brothers. He finally reached his dream to perform for "the greatest show on earth." He performed for the circus for three years jumping over elephants using a ski style jump ramp.
Today John shares his faith before youth groups, schools and on television. He uses his stunt abilities to share Christ to everyone he meets. Jesus Christ has now displaced Evel Knievel as Morgan's hero, for Jesus did more than defy death—He conquered it!
John can be reached at: Leap of Faith Evangelistic Association PO Box 92333 Rochester, NY 14692
John "Mercury" Morgan jumping eight U-haul trucks!
Left: 8 U-haul trucks. Right: John's 15 trash can jump that was covered by the local news station.
John's longest jump was on October 10, 1984 at the Buffalo Raceway (horse racing track) in Buffalo, NY. He jumped his bicycle over 10 cars and landed his bike on the other side by flying through a wall of fire!
Symbolism in John "Mercury" Morgan's Stunt Shows
The Take off Ramp: Represents our launch into life when we reach the age of being accountable for our own actions and sins.
The Cars: Represent the mountains and valleys of life, the high points and the low points of life.
The Flaming Wall: Represents what waits for every man at the end of his life — the Gates of Hell. Bursting through the flaming wall, represents Christ's victory at the cross, destroying the power that Hell holds over our lives at the point of death.
Mercury Morgan jumping July 2007
Left: July 2007 jump Right: Evel Knievel with Mercury Morgan at the 2007 Knievel Days in Butte, Montana. This was the last one Evel attended.
Mercury was stunt coordinator for a publicity stunt for the Big Apple Circus: "Bello skis behind a Duck!!" (the duck is a WW2 duck tour boat, they are all around DC and Boston). Bello Nock is the headliner for Big Apple Circus and was headliner for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for many years.
Nik Wallenda with John Mercury Morgan 2012.