Q. Even though I am not a mechanic, I enjoy watching them work on several TV shows. One show I enjoy is “All Girls Garage” on Velocity TV, which had three women overhauling vehicles and doing restoration work. Missy, however, has not been on the most recent shows, and I would like to know what has happened to her.
—Dale, of Swansea
A. Having shown off her mechanical skills since the “Garage” opened on March 3, 2012, Jessi (not Missy) Combs decided her career needed some tinkering, so she announced last month that she was leaving the show.
“That decision was a difficult one to make, as I have nothing but a fond appreciation from my time with AGG,” she wrote on her Facebook page on April 25. “I love Bogi (Lateiner) with her super brainy and savyy ways while mastering and operating her own rad repair shop — a true expert and a bundle of joy. And Cristy Lee, whose travel is crazier than mine, yet she’s killing it in building a name for herself in the host and MC world — mad respect for that chick. Brenton Productions put their faith in me and this idea, I cannot thank them enough.
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“(But) my mission has been consistently focused on women’s empowerment, with each chapter of my career allowing me to reach more people, learn more, and to be exposed to incredible teams, individuals and opportunities. Throughout it all comes a constant re-assessment of life goals. By stepping away, I can focus on racing, fabricating, one-on-one outreach, building the RealDeal ladies network ... and, of course, make a little (note: little) time for friends, family and myself.
“All the while (I can help) give rise to other hands-on girls in our automotive industry. This is not the end for me, I promise. (That’s) not in my instruction manual.”
She sounds as though she rarely has lifted her foot off the accelerator since the day she was born in the Black Hills of Rapid City, S.D. The daughter of a mechanical engineer, she spent much much of her childhood in her dad’s garage, first watching him work on cars and then lending a hand. Turning down a scholarship to attend interior design school, she instead settled in Denver after high school to pursue a career in snowboarding. Then, she got serious, enrolling at WyoTech in Laramie, Wyo., where she graduated top of her class in the collision and refinishing core program. She also stood out in the street rod fabrication, chassis fabrication and high-performance powertrain programs.
“I love to drive, build things and go fast,” she says of her passion. “Cars are all encompassing.”
Her school achievements led to immediate employment fabricating, customizing and painting a 1964 Mercury Cyclone bracket car at the school’s Special Equipment Marketing Association Show. It didn’t take long for her face and skills to make an attractive addition to numerous TV shows — a move that nearly left her paralyzed. While she was working as a metal fabricator on “Xtreme 4x4” in 2007, a huge piece of machinery folded her up like a piece of piece, fracturing her L3 vertebra. Her next vehicle should have been an electric wheelchair (for life), but after surgery, bed rest, eight months of therapy and “a little help from God,” she was given a full medical release.
“I have more good days then bad days, although it doesn’t seem to slow me down in achieving my goals,” she said once of the aftereffects from her injuries.
Indeed, it hasn’t. She went on to star in such shows as “Overhaulin’,” “Mythbusters” and her AOL Autoblog Show, “1001 Car Things to Do Before You Die.” Then, on Oct. 9, 2013, Combs took the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger for a little spin on Oregon’s Alvord Desert — and rocketed down the 13-mile course at an average speed of 392.594 mph after hitting 440.709 during her second run. (The “car” is actually a converted F-104 Lockheed Starfighter that once served as a chase plane for the X-15 experimental jet and the SR-71 Blackbird.)
You can witness that daring drive at gizmag.com/jessi-combs-
Q. What has happened to Bobby Hughes, the Road Runner on KTVI-Fox2? I thought I heard that he had medical problems but that was unclear. I really enjoy his on-the-spot news reports and the commentary he has to go with it.
—Bill, of Columbia
A. You heard correctly: Bobby Hughes’ career has indeed been slowed by medical problems, but KTVI tells me that if his recuperation continues without a setback, he’ll be rolling back onto your TV on May 11.
Chip Taylor, who wrote “Wild Thing” (the Troggs) and “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)” (Janis Joplin) is the brother of what Oscar-winning actor?
Answer to Thursday’s trivia: If you wanted to find the pyramids of Malpighi and the pyramids of Ferrein, you wouldn’t have to travel very far. Like the islets of Langerhans, which produce insulin and other hormones in the pancreas, the pyramids of Malpighi and Ferrein are conelike structures in the kidney. They filter the blood to help regulate the concentration of water and other substances in the blood, thereby helping to maintain blood pressure and volume. They are named for Marcello Malpighi, a 17th century Italian doctor who is often called the father of microscopical anatomy, and Antoine Ferrein, an 18th century French doctor who studied the physiology of voice and coined the term “vocal cords.”
Send your questions to Roger Schlueter, Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 618-239-2465.