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[WRE UPDATE | BUSINESS] Inspiring Riggers Worldwide


Nik Wallenda: A


BY CYNDI JONES


sk Nik Wallenda about his life and profession and you can’t help but feel compelled to pursue your own passions. “My mom has always said it’s in our blood, and I truly believe that,” he explains. “Tere was never a point where I didn’t want to do what I’m doing. It’s what I love. Tis is my passion. Tis is about a man living his dream, not about impressing people. If you’re doing what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” He exudes positivity and it’s absolutely contagious, as is his deeply anchored love of rigging.


Nik Wallenda is the seventh generation of Great


Wallendas, world-renowned high wire performers. Te family moved from Europe to America in 1928, when Nik’s great-grandfather, the legendary Karl Wallenda, brought them here to join Ringling Brothers Circus: Te Greatest Show on Earth. For Nik, high wire performance has been a lifelong calling. In fact, his mother, Delilah, was walking the wire while six months pregnant with him. “Which means that I’ve been performing since even before I was born,” Nik playfully points out.


“MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER LOST HIS LIFE, TRUTH BE TOLD, DUE TO A RIGGING ERROR. SO WE TAKE THAT PART EXTREMELY SERIOUSLY. IT’S THE REASON THAT MY FATHER AND I ALWAYS OVERSEE EVERY ASPECT OF THE RIGGING OURSELVES.”


Officially, his first circus performance was at the age


of two. Toted out to the center of the ring in a pillowcase, he was presented to the crowd donning a full clown outfit and makeup. Tat same year, he also began walking on the wire, although he was not permitted to perform the stunt professionally until years later. At age 13, he made his high wire debut with a routine consisting of an incline walk without a balancing pole and riding a bicycle on the wire, at a height of around twenty feet. Just two years later, he began holding pyramids on the wire, a long-standing family tradition. From that start, Nik now holds 10 World Records, including one gained by besting his own prior World Record. “I have such a passion for rigging, I love that part of


what I do. I enjoy the challenges that come along with it,” explains Nik, when asked about his favorite part of the


70 NOVEMBER–DECEMBER 2016 WIRE ROPE EXCHANGE


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