CAMERON, Colo. – A strenuous, windy battle above the Little Colorado River Gorge on a two-inch thick wire ends in a big victory Sunday for legend Nik Wallenda, also known as “the King of the High Wire.”
This is the highest tightrope walk Wallenda has ever attempted, towering 1,500 feet above the Little Colorado River, a height greater than the Empire State Building.
“I’ve been waiting for this day, this time of this day for a long time,” Wallenda said.
Those are the first words out of tight-rope walker Wallenda’s mouth while meeting with NBC after his successful walk more than 2,000 feet across the Little Colorado River Gorge.
“Feeling like I just did something that no one in the world has ever done before,” he said.
Making it all the way across a tightrope is something the seventh-generation member of the legendary Flying Wallenda family has done before but not here.
This was his highest walk ever without using any type of harness or restraint.
“It was unbelievable,” Wallenda said. “It was everything that I ever wanted it to be.”
This heavily promoted event drew support from some locals.
“It’s my backyard and it’s beautiful,” supporter Billy Huskie said. “You have the Painted Desert here. You have the Grand Canyon and everybody has come to visit and everybody is welcome.”
Others were more critical of his latest conquest.
Lorenzo Robins said, “I mean, we would love for him to come down and visit us and talk to us and explain what were his reasons for coming.”
Protesters in Cameron said Wallenda talked with the Navajo nation leaders to get the OKC but not with locals.
Despite the criticism, the show went on out on the high wire.
With strong, gusty and unpredictable winds Wallenda stayed strong the entire time.
Wallenda said the mental journey to get across was a humbling experience and a reminder of just how small human beings really are.
When he finally reached the end of the rope his family was right there, emotional, relieved and ready to celebrate with him.
The untethered walk was also a chance to honor his great grandfather who died after falling from a tightrope in Puerto Rico in 1978.
“To me, it was extremely emotional when I got to the other side,” Wallenda said. “I started crying. You know, it’s a dream come true.”
This walk marks Wallenda’s eighth world record, including his 2012 tightrope walk directly over Niagara Falls from the U.S. to Canada.
It took Wallenda just more than 22 minutes to walk the wire 1,400 feet.