The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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May 7, 2008

Some performers stay in character

What they do can be who they are

Have you ever thought it would be easier to wear a mask that would disguise your true self?

Or maybe you have dreamed about living your life through an exciting new persona.

A few people in southern Minnesota have had these dreams and also made them happen. From The Singing Cowgirl — the name she is known as more than her birth name, Lisa Murphy — to Miss Lollipop the Clown (Jo Ellen Genelin), some performers get so into their roles, part of their true selves become these characters.

It happened to stunt man Doug “9-Toes” Marble. And it’s pretty well known that Bryce Stenzel plays a mean Abe Lincoln. Then there was Miz Peach (Dez Goettlicher), an Old West re-enactor who recently skipped town to recreate a four-block section of Guthrie, Okla., circa 1889 near Gutherie.

As one would imagine, they’ve all got great stories to tell.

Here are three of them.

Living on the edge

For more than 30 years, Marble has been known as Doug “9-Toes” Marble or simply, “9-Toes.”

“It was from a motorcycle accident, and I lost my big toe, so I got called 9-Toes,” Marble explained.

Marble, who will soon turn 50, is well known for the 12 years he spent as a professional stunt man.

“I had seen a man at an air fest in Mankato go through a fire wall, and what I saw him do, I knew it could be improved,” Marble said. “I did what he had done and fixed it.”

Marble has since set five world records in his career as a stunt man, which includes driving through a 104-foot tunnel of fire, a stunt that could have cost him more than a toe.

“That was a deal where the record was 90 feet,” he said. “All of the people who did the 100 feet got killed doing it.”

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