He’s walked across a part of the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls, now daredevil tightrope walker Nik Wallenda is back in Western New York for the summer to perform at Darien Lake Amusement Park.
Wallenda performed a special student at the park on Saturday to kick off his summer performances.
More than a 100 feet up, the daredevil rode 750 feet across a lake on a motorcycle attached to a thin wire, his wife and two other stuntman hanging below helping to balance the bike.
“There’s a lot of logistics behind what we do and I’m involved every step of the way; so I’ve been out here,” Wallenda said. “I was actually on paddle-boats going in circles trying to get the 700 pound cable from one side to the other. Eventually Mike fell in and I feel in halfway and it was freezing that day.”
On the ground, during the stunt, hundreds watched in anticipation.
“I was more worried when he did the handstand on the motorcycle,” attendee Maddy Ambuski said.
Others said they thought the stunt was “cool.”
“I think he was spectacular and amazing and all his tricks were amazing,” attendee Alissa Harrington said.
Wallenda said he began performing even before he was born, when his mother would walk across a high wire while six months pregnant with him. He then began doing it himself at the age of two.
“My mom would take my hand and walk me back and forth on a two foot wire,” Wallenda said. “Now I take her hand we walk a wire a little higher than that.”
The family affair, dating back several generations, will continue this summer with members of his family also performing in the 120 one-hour shows.
Wallenda said it was after his trip across Niagara Falls that he felt Western New York became his second home.
“When I got off that cable in Niagara Falls, I said there is a piece of my heart that will always be in this region and this community has embraced me,” Wallenda said. “It’s been amazing.”
It's the support of fans like those on Saturday that Wallenda said keeps pushing him to be the stuntman he is, and it will continue to push him as he and his family looks to entertain thousands of visitors this summer.
“That means more than anything,” Wallenda said. “That’s more rewarding than anything I do, than any dollar amount in the world is the fact that I inspire people that they can make it through any challenges.”
Wallenda’s shows this summer begin on June 24 and continue through September 1.
It is free with paid park admission.