A man of action: Flinton resident performs car stunt for television show

Brian Gates of Flinton is a martial arts master with his own dojo and has protected the rich and famous as a personal bodyguard.

Now, he’s crashing cars. On purpose.

Gates, 50, recently performed a car stunt at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., which was filmed for the upcoming History Channel TV?series “American Daredevils,” to begin airing in October.

“It’s a double-car jump into a pyramid of wrecked cars,” Gates said. “Two guys race to the wall, to see who gets there first and who crashes and burns the best.”

Gates’ stunt will be shown on the third episode of the series, he said. He will also appear on more episodes of the show.

“We’ll have more stunts on more shows, more things coming up,” he said.

The series originated when the History Channel approached Gates’ stunt mentor, Spanky Spangler of Phoenix, with the idea.

“We’ve been working on [an idea for] a television show for five years,” said Spangler, who is “in his early 60s and still at it.”

“The History Channel came across me and my son doing some stunts, but it would have been a lot … for one or two people to do all of these stunts, so we got a group of guys together.”

“Through my history with Spanky, they asked me to come in and do this gig,” Gates said.

Other stuntmen who will appear on the show include Spangler’s son, Spanky Jr., “Mr. Dizzy” Mike Buse and “Dr. Danger” Gregory Carpenter.

Carpenter performed the double-car jump stunt with Gates.

Gates – who operates the Master Brian Gates Mixed Martial Arts training facility in Patton and MBG Protection, which operates internationally, protecting “recognized CEOs, VIPs, actors, screen and stage entertainers,” according to the company’s website – began his journey to performing stunts with a chance meeting.

“My tattoo artist, Richard Cummins, introduced me to a younger kid named Corey Scott working for the Joie Chitwood thrill shows; they did all the fairs,” Gates said. “This kid expressed interest in learning how to kickbox, so he came to my school for private lessons.

“They were doing a show in Ebensburg, so he invited me to come up and check out the show. When I was there, they put me in a car in the passenger seat and did a stunt. That got my thrill going for stunts.”

Gates also had worked as a bodyguard for legendary daredevils Evel and Robbie Knievel, and it was through the Knievels that he then met Spangler.

“Spanky and I talked, and he thought I would make a great stuntman,” Gates said. “He thought I had the demeanor, the right mindset and the diligence. He trained me, and on Oct. 5, 1997, I did my first car stunt at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, during the preshow of a NASCAR race.”

Gates has since continued to do stunts “whenever there’s work.”

“Brian’s a karate guy,” said Spangler, who, by his own count, has completed over 22,000 stunts and holds 24 world records for stunts involving cars, motorcycles and high falls, among others. “He’s a quick learner and pretty smart. He can figure things out and see how it works.

“He has the heart to do this. You have to have an instinct. Some people have it, and some people don’t. Brian has it.”

For more information on Gates, visit his website at www.mbgmma.com.

Mirror staff writer Cory Dobrowolsky can be reached at 946-7428.