“How cool would that be to walk a wire across Niagara Falls!” Those were the thoughts of a young Nik Wallenda the first time he visited the Falls with his family while his parents were performing in Buffalo. Nik admits that might sound strange to most people, but being part of the seventh generation of Wallendas who continue in the family tradition, “It’s sort of in the blood,” he says.
Fast forward about 25 years. To make his longtime dream a reality, serious lobbying of US and Canadian officials began twenty months before the walk actually took place. The New York State Assembly passed a bill that granted a onetime anti-stunting law exemption early on in the process, however Ontario Canada’s Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) didn’t grant their approval until four months before the event.
On June 15, 2012, Nik Wallenda became the first person to perform a tightrope skywalk over Niagara Falls since 1896. His successful crossing was performed in front of nearly 200,000 spectators and millions of television viewers across the world. “All my attention is focused right there on that wire and nothing else,” Nik stated. “It’s me and that wire in our own world.”
A key factor in Wallenda’s success rested on finding the right contractor to install the cable: experts who possessed the resources and equipment to rig and stabilize an 1800-foot span of wire rope without the use of guy-wires. He found what he was looking for in NECA Contractor O’Connell Electric and the IBEW Local 1249 tradesmen who work for them.