Who Brought Wallenda To The Falls?

June 15, 2012 Updated Jun 15, 2012 at 4:40 PM EDT

By WKBW Programming

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June 15, 2012 Updated Jun 15, 2012 at 4:40 PM EDT

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. ( ABC / WKBW ) On June 15, Nik Wallenda will walk approximately 1,550 feet on a tightrope wire, suspended 173 feet above the raging waters of Niagara Falls — an unprecedented feat that has been banned for over 125 years.

Friday on Channel 7's "AM/Buffalo," New York State Senator George Maziarz told Linda Pellegrino the process of how this all came to be...from the intial pitch from Wallenda, to negotiations with Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Maziarz told Pellegrino the event will be a major boost to the Falls for tourism, especially with the network coverage from ABC, which can be seen on Channel 7.

ABC will air Wallenda’s long-planned stunt live. The “Megastunts” ABC special will be part of a two-part, three-hour event that will include an hour devoted to the greatest stunts in history and culminate in Wallenda’s walk. Anchored by Josh Elliott and ESPN’s Hannah Storm, and featuring reporting from Elliott, Storm, Bill Weir and Sam Champion, “Countdown to Niagara: The Greatest Megastunts of All Time” (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) and “Megastunts: Highwire Over Niagara Falls – Live!” (9:00-11:00 p.m., ET) air FRIDAY, JUNE 15 on the ABC Television Network.

Wallenda’s tightrope walk over Horseshoe Falls, the biggest of the three falls that make up Niagara Falls, is unprecedented and will be a culmination of a life’s work for Wallenda, 33, and his entire daredevil family. “It’s very exciting. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” says Wallenda, a seventh-generation member of the legendary Great Wallendas, a travelling family circus troupe dating back to 1780. “It’s been a dream I’ve had since I was six years old when I first visited the falls with my parents. I remember looking across… and thinking, it would be cool to be the first person in the world to do this.”

Crossing the Niagara River on a tightrope has been banned since 1890. Thirteen tightrope artists have traversed the gorge throughout history, notably the Great Blondin, but Wallenda discovered in his research that no tightrope artist had ever before walked directly over the awesome and raging cascades.
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