Nikolas Wallenda. Born January 24, 1979 in Sarasota, Florida. A proud father of 3. Some would say he looks like your "everyday man", but he certainly doesn't act like it.
Not many would guess by looking at him that he is going to be the man to walk across Niagara Falls on a steel tightrope only 2 inches in diameter on June 15, 2012. Luckily, Wallenda has some practice. He has been making his living by performing extremely risky highrise daredevil stunts since he can remember. It was at the age of 4 when Nik's family had him start practicing on a tightrope. Since then, he has grown to be a world-renowned performer. Currently, Wallenda and his wife Erendira own and operate Wallendas Inc, an entertainment company that puts on thrill shows across the globe. He and his wife also perform at Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. But currently, Nik has his focus set on conquering the huge feat of walking across the incredible wonder of the world, the mighty Niagara Falls.
Looking at Wallenda's family's history, we can see that it is no surprise that Nik is living the life that he is. Nik is the great-grandson of Karl Wallenda, who was born in 1905 to an old circus family, and started performing at the age of 6. In 1922, Karl put together his own crew of performers including his brother Herman and two others. After a stunt that went slightly wrong and caused his crew to fall off a tightrope but remain unhurt, a news reporter who witnessed the event said that "they fell so gracefully that it seemed as if they were flying", which in turn gave them the name "The Flying Wallendas".
Karl and his crew performed across Europe among other nations and were eventually hired to perform at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. For the majority of their career they developed and performed different highrise tightrope acts, including "the seven-person chair pyramid". Over the years, Karl's partners had died due to accidents or moved on for other reasons, but Karl decide to continue, performing with a smaller group and performing solo acts. It was in 1978 on a promotional tightrope walk, Karl fell and died. However, like Nik Wallenda, there are still several descendants of the Wallendas performing today, mostly the grandchildren of Karl. Many of them have achieved records in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Nik is obviously no stranger to performing daredevil high wire stunts as he will perform on June 15 in Niagara Falls. Below are some of Wallenda's key accomplishments over his career:
- 1992 - At the young age of 13, Nik had his first professional performance on the wire.
- 1999 - In Montreal, Quebec, in front of a crowd of over 18,000 people, Nik proposed to his future wife Erendira, on bended knee on a wire 30 feet high.
- 2001 - Wallenda was part of a eight-person pyramid on the high wire in Kurashiki Tivoli Park in Japan – a feat practiced intensely for over five months. This event set a Guinness world record.
- 2001 - Wallenda successfully crossed a highrise tightrope between the Royal Towers of the Atlantis Paradise Island hotel in Nassau, Bahamas on a bicycle. This set a Guinness world record for the highest tightrope crossing by bicycle at 238 feet.
- 2011 - Nik Wallenda completed a highrise walk in San Juan, Puerto Rico with his mother Delilah, which was the same walk that his great-grandfather Karl Wallenda fell and died from at the age of 73 in 1978.
It will be on June 15, 2012 that Nik Wallenda will put his daredevil tactics to work again in an attempt to walk across the majestic Niagara Falls.
The plan is for Wallenda to cross the Niagara River on a highrise steel wire that is 2 inches in diameter. Wallenda will start on American territory on Goat Island, the island that lies between the American and the Canadian Horseshoe falls. He will walk 1,800 feet across the river over the Canadian Horseshoe falls, which is estimated to take about 40 minutes. Wallenda will end up on Canadian territory near the site of the Table Rock.
Be sure to tune into our webcam on June 15, 2012 to watch this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle.