Teen Daredevils Cashing In on Outrageous Stunts -- but at What Price?

PHOTO: Some teen stunts include jumping off buildings and setting themselves on firePlayABC News
WATCH Teens Sell Risky Stunt Videos Online

Some teens earn extra cash with part-time jobs at places like fast-food restaurants, but a pair in Arvada, Colo., get a bit riskier in their quest for dollars: They jump off buildings and set themselves on fire.

Seth Leach and Devin van Horne make money by recording their stunts and selling the videos online.

Stunts such as jumping on pogo sticks while on a treadmill and surfing on cars, and even a stunt that has proven life-endangering, have been earning the two teens an income since they were freshmen in high school.

It wasn't the money that first motivated Leach, now 19, to start doing the stunts.

"Initially, the spark was [that] we just did it for fun and posted it online," Leach told ABC News. "Then a website started featuring it and all these views started rolling in. ... You had to keep doing more."

With websites such as break.com paying the stunt duo up to $1,000 per video, Leach said, it's now the money that keeps him in the business. But just how much money has the teen made since his initial video?

"What I like to tell people ... [is that] I'm making pretty good money," Leach said.

Although thousands of dollars for videos less than a minute long might sound appealing, Leach said it's not all about the money.

"I love the moment I have when it's just prior to the stunt ... the feeling ... the rush," Leach said.

But the best part of the videos, according to Leach, is the audience reactions.

"A lot of people just laugh," Leach said. "It makes their day better to say, 'Wow, this kid: I can't believe how dumb this kid is.'"

A stunt in February -- jumping off a 30-foot fence -- almost cost Leach his life.

"We set up a net, but I broke right through," Leach said. "I broke some bones ... my shoulder, an arm. I had brain swelling and I was in the ICU for a few days before they moved me for special treatment."

At least one expert believes such stunts should not be done without proper training.

"You've got to know what you're doing; there's a whole process," said Moses Gomez, the principal fire/life-safety consultant for MGomez Consulting Group, which specializes in safety at work and consults with companies in the film and entertainment industry.

When a professional does a stunt, Gomez said, he or she makes sure it is in his or her area of expertise. For example, there may be specialists in high falls or body burns.

There also is preparation and a safety plan involved in each professional stunt, Gomez said. And even with a safety plan, stunts are never completely safe if something goes wrong. Even among professionals, stunt work is not an exact science.

"There's just a process, and it's kind of sad to see some of these young folks who go out there and think they can do these things," Gomez said. "Youth gets the best of them and [they] are encouraged by peers -- and it can be a recipe for disaster."

Leach's brush with death has critics arguing that such dangerous stunts are plain stupid, but Leach doesn't seem to think so.

"I know what's going to happen," Leach said. "I know the consequences. I'm not oblivious.

"In my opinion it's not stupidity," Leach added. "I think it's something beautiful."

Leach doesn't discourage other teens who want to follow in his footsteps.

"If they want to start it up and do it ... go for it," he said. "It's nothing but awesome."

But the mother of one former teen stunter doesn't feel the same way.

"It's horrific, it's absolutely horrific," said Lori Glickman of Northridge, Calif., whose teenaged son, Elon Glickman, 17, lost his best friend, Adir Vered, to a stunting accident.

Glickman did not know her own son participated in such stunts until after Vered died, and now has advice for other parents.

"I don't care how good you think your kids are," she said. "They're gonna lie -- that's what kids do. It's important for parents not to stick their head in the sand. Don't try and be the cool parents. It could cost you your kids' life."

Vered died while "car surfing." He was hanging out a back window of a car when the boy driving accidently hit a parked car. Vered was thrown from the car and died instantly.

Elon Glickman started giving speeches about safe driving at local high schools after Vered's death and revealed his past participation in similar stunts.

In his speeches, Glickman talks about wearing a seatbelt, sticking to driving regulations and, most importantly, thinking in the mode of "what if."

"Afterwards, I didn't really know what to do with what happened; but I was just thinking and, all of a sudden, I thought I should give some safe driving speeches," he said. "It really helped me make some sense out of this horrible tragedy. I give them because, hopefully, I can save some kids and save their friends.

"Don't do it," he said. "I lost one of the most important people in my life. No amount of money, fame, popularity is worth it. ... At least for five seconds, put themselves in that place. Really try to imagine it and see that it's just not worth it."