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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

High wire walk planned between two Sarasota buildings

Nik Wallenda is a Sarasota native. And while he was born and raised here on the Suncoast, surprisingly this tight rope walker never performed one of his daring stunts outside the big top in his hometown.
But on Thursday that will change.
"I started walking the wire at the age of 2." Nik is a 7th-generation circus performer. You could say he was destined for the life in the center ring. "The only bones I've ever broken in my life was playing football."
The thrill-seeking superman currently holds the Guinness World Record for the highest and longest distance traveled by bicycle on a high wire. "My highest walk last year was 262 feet high, and it was about 900 feet across."
A 5/8" inch thick galvanized cable is all that is between Nik's feet and the ground below.
Nik and the crew of Circus Sarasota are getting the big top ready. Nik will be the featured performer in this year's show, and to get the show off on the right foot the crew will be setting up outside the circus tent for a stunt that will let everyone know Circus Sarasota is in town.
This Thursday morning at 9am, Wallenda will take to a wire suspended from the top of the One Watergate condominium, 600 feet across to the Ritz Carlton...more than 200 feet above the ground.
"I was born and raised here in Sarasota and I've done a lot of walks all over the world, and I've always wanted to do one here in Sarasota," say Wallenda.
Now Nik will have his chance. And if it's like any of his other jaw dropping stunts, audiences will be wowed. "I'm really concentrating on what I'm doing. I'm staying extremely focused on the wire and what I'm doing. The world kind of goes away and it's just me at that point."
Nik says the walk from One Watergate to the Ritz Carlton should take about 15 minutes to complete. The event is open to the public to watch.

If you would like more information on the stunt or on Circus Sarasota, which begins on February 12th, visit www.circussarasota.org/.
ABC 7 will be airing Nik's high wire walk live starting at 9am Thursday. MySuncoast.com will also be streaming it live as well.



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