SARASOTA, Fla. - Local daredevil Nik Wallenda was welcomed by his hometown of Sarasota tonight. Wellenda successfully walked without a tether across a 2-inch wire that stretched 1,500 feet at Little River Gorge near the Grand Canyon.
The Suncoast Charities for Children dedicated this year's 29th Annual Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival Parade of Boats in honor of Wallenda. Wallenda was the parade's honorary grand marshal and he didn't let Mother Nature rain on his parade.
He was driven around in a neon green Ford Mustang with the top down. And when the rain came pouring down, Wallenda opened up his umbrella and kept waving to the crowd.
Wallenda's latest death defying stunt took place on June 23, 2013. It was televised live in 217 countries.
"I am glad to be in one piece," said Wallenda. "It's good to be back home."
Wallenda trained for his latest walk at Sarasota County's Nathan Benderson Park.
"I trained right here in Sarasota with Tropical storm Andrea with 52 mile an hour gusts," Wallenda explained.
Wallenda told ABC Action News what the public doesn't understand is that he has been working on a high wire since he was 2-years-old. He added that while his mother was six months pregnant with him she was pulling off similar daredevil stunts.
"I've been walking a wire my entire life. I've trained my entire life to go down to the safety of that wire if there are any issues," he said.
Wallenda said he spent four years planning his recent stunt and took multiple trips out to the Grand Canyon. His crew studied everything from wind speed to temperature changes. Wallenda said rescue crews are with him while he walks and could reach him within 60 seconds should he be in danger.
Connie Spronz, a fan of Wallenda, has only seen him perform on the computer. She watched his latest stunt online from her home in Cleveland, Ohio. Tonight, she hopes to get his autograph or to at least see him in person.
"My Facebook goes off, 'He's walking! He's walking!" explained Spronz. "And all the people are showing me from Facebook he's walking. So, I like it you know. I wouldn't want his job, but I like watching it."
Wallenda successfully walked across Niagra Falls back in January.
He wouldn't reveal the exact location of his next death defying stunt but did say he has plans off the continent.
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