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Falls Jumper Still Waiting to Cash In on Exploit

August 28, 1985

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario (AP) _ Steve Trotter, who came here seeking fame by becoming the sixth daredevil to shoot the falls in a barrel, returned Wednesday without enough money to pay the $503 fine imposed for the illegal stunt.

″I’m short about $200,″ said the 22-year-old Trotter, an aspiring stuntman from Barrington, R.I., before his appearance in Ontario Provincial Court. ″People think you make a killing off this. You make nothing.″

Trotter, who pleaded guilty to performing a stunt in the park, was given the maximum fine by Justice of the Peace Jack Irwin.

He had about $270, or roughly $350 Canadian, with him, and he asked Irwin if he could have more time to raise the remainder.

The judge ordered the fine paid by Thursday, but after receiving $100 from his booking agency and scraping up the remainder from other associates, Trotter was able to pay the fine, $369.45 in U.S. dollars, by the afternoon.

When he became the sixth daredevil to survive the 176-foot-drop over the Horseshoe Falls on Aug. 18, Trotter said he did it to boost his career.

On Wednesday, Trotter, whose picture is in Time magazine, said he has had many offers, but, ″I still don’t know what’s going on yet with them.″

″I wasn’t in it for the money really anyway,″ said Trotter, who said he spent about $6,500 building his barrel. ″But if there’s money being made, I don’t want someone else making it and me getting stiffed on it. I can’t even pay my fine. This is ridiculous. I look like low-life.″

He also said that he hasn’t had many offers to do stunts for TV or movies since the plunge because ″they really don’t think I’m that safe a guy.″

But he said, ″as soon as I start working hard, they’ll know I’m all right.″

He also said that the 16-foot-long, 6-foot-high barrel that carried him over the falls has been retired.

″That rig’s history,″ he said, adding that ″the Daredevil Hall of Fame (near the falls) wants it.″

Before his appearance in court, Trotter shook hands with John David Munday, who had attempted the feat three weeks earlier only to be trapped by Niagara Parks Police in a hydroelectric power pool at the top of the falls.

Munday, 48, of Caistor Center, Ontario, was charged under the same statute as Trotter and fined the same amount Wednesday. He also was placed on two years probation because he indicated he would try the stunt again.

Nine daredevils have attempted to conquer the falls in similar vehicles. Three died in the attempt. In 1960, 7-year-old Roger Woodward, wearing only a life jacket, was accidentally swept over the falls and lived.

Michigan schoolteacher Annie Edson Taylor became the first person to go over the falls in a barrel. Although badly injured, she survived the plunge in 1901.

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