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Friday, September 30th, 2016

WALLENDA TRIES DEATH-DEFYING STUNT

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Just heard a great interview with Mario Wallenda on Johnny B’s show. This should be quite the event tomorrow here in Chicago.

CHICAGO, Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ — Paralyzed from the waist down in a high-wire accident in 1962, Mario Wallenda of The Flying Wallendas now uses a specially constructed “Skycycle”, allowing him to personally continue his famous family’s high-wire act. The death-defying feat will be conducted September 19th from The Merchandise Mart in Chicago, where The Loop Studios are located. The man who convinced Wallenda to come here and perform, Jonathon Brandmeier, will broadcast live from the site in front of the building where Wallenda will perform his tightrope act, crossing the Chicago River.

The stunt will take place approximately 9 a.m. this Tuesday when Mario will travel roundtrip from the Merchandise Mart river front to Wacker Drive atop a 5/8 inch steel cable hoisted nearly 100 feet above the river between two cranes from Imperial Crane Services of Bridgeview.

The Wallendas began in 1780 as a traveling circus family known for their expertise on the flying trapeze. They toured the world, headlining with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus during much of the 1930s and ’40s. In 1947, The Flying Wallendas created the seven-person chair pyramid consisting of four men on a wire 35 feet in the air, a second level of two more men, and at the top, a woman sitting, then standing, on a chair. Successfully executed from 1947 through 1962, the seven-person pyramid collapsed on January 30, 1962 and the Wallendas experienced tragedy. Two men from the pyramid fatally fell to the ground while Mario survived as a paraplegic. Sixteen years later in 1978, Mario witnessed his 73-year-old father, Karl Wallenda, die after a high-wire fall in Puerto Rico.

Still, the now 64 year-old Wallenda told Brandmeier why he wants to perform again: “I want to feel alive and productive. I just can’t sit around the house and not do anything. I’d rather be a live hero than a dead martyr.” He first performed with the Skycycle in 2001 and set a Guinness World Record for the feat. This stunt will be just his third attempt, and his first in more than two years.

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