SARASOTA - Famed tightrope walker Nik Wallenda pulled off yet another nail-biting stunt in Sarasota on Tuesday morning as he successfully walked nearly 600 feet across a wire some 200 feet over U.S. 41. We followed every step of the way.
A half hour before departure time, under a requisitely bright Florida sky, the Wallenda family prayed -- as they always do before they do what they've become synonymous with.
"We have to take every one seriously," explained Nik as he was asked again about the way-up-in-the-air trek through his hometown's downtown. "Every one's just as dangerous. There is a risk every time that I get up on that wire."
And with EMS crews at the ready -- just in case -- the 34 year-old scion of the famed Wallenda family was up and away toward his 500+ foot up walk on that twisted rope of metal -- about as wide as a nickel -- all held taut by circus workers on the ground.
"I was taking off the tension -- the slack off the wire," explained worker Alec Bryant. "Becasue every time he steps, he creates a wave of friction, I'm supposed to stop that from it swaying back in forth."
Indeed, swaying would be bad on the wire suspended between a crane and a condo, where Nik's main focus narrows right down.
"Very focused on that wire," he dead-panned. "I'm thinking about that wire, my balance and making it to the other side."
Totally exposed, without a net or even safety tethers, the seventh-generation Wallenda made his way down the wire.
"And I very much dislike walking downhill," he said, in a post-walk press conference. "It's just like walking up stairs, if you're going to trip up, the stairs are there, if you're gonna trip down stairs, they're a lot further away."
Despite that downhill lie and the winds that gusted up to near ten miles per hour, Nik was on it. And he knew it -- with a celebratory fist pump just feet before his feet were off the wire, and he opined about future Wallendas efforts.
"People often ask, 'Do you want your children to carry on what you do?" he said -- stretching out the anticipated answer for maximum reaction.
"Absolutely not," he replied, emphatically. "Which one of you parents out there would want to see your klids carry on what you do if you did what I do?"