SARASOTA - At age 34, Nik Wallenda is gaining world-wide acclaim. The seventh generation circus performer is not only carrying on the tradition of his famed "Flying Wallenda" family history, but taking it to new heights.
It's full speed ahead for Nik. In just over a year's time, he has made history being the first person to walk a wire over the horseshoe of Niagara Falls, and is set to make the history books again with a wire walk 1,500 feet over the Little Colorado River at the Grand Canyon.
He had been preparing for that feat for weeks in Sarasota in front of his hometown fans.
When you start on a wire at age two, it becomes natural, he says -- it just doesn't quite look that way to the rest of us.
It was under the big top you could see Nik perform on the wire with his wife, sister, and cousin. He's walked between high rise buildings, performed the sway poles with his wife, high-stepped on the wheel of death high atop a building, done a headstand on a bike on a wire, even hung from a helicopter by his teeth.
And perhaps his most emotional performance? Walking with his mom as he re-traced the steps of his great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, who fell to his death in 1978 during a promotional walk in Puerto Rico.
That tragedy is one Nik says he learned from, and why he always takes part in the rigging process of his walks, never forgetting the danger behind each performance.
For now, it's fulfilling a dream and pushing the boundaries, never giving up on his plans for the next great walk.