Nik Wallenda practices for Grand Canyon walk - WFLA News Channel 8

Nik Wallenda practices for Grand Canyon walk

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Nik Wallenda practices above Nathan Benderson park in Sarasota Nik Wallenda practices above Nathan Benderson park in Sarasota
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL -

We've seen Nik Wallenda walk a high wire over Sarasota, and even over Niagara falls.

Now, the daredevil is practicing for his highest walk ever: above the Grand Canyon. 

Before the big stunt later this month, he's doing daily practices in his hometown of Sarasota.  It's a chance for the public to get up close and personal with the daredevil.    

Wallenda says since he was young, it was always his dream to walk across the Grand Canyon.

On June 23rd, he's going to walk more than a quarter mile across the expanse at a height of 1,500 feet! That's higher than the Empire State Building!

He's planning to do it all without a tether or a net.

"There are of course nerves, but more than anything, its respect. I respect the fact that what I do is dangerous and if I ever lose that respect it becomes much more dangerous," said Wallenda.  "It's important that I always maintain that level of respect.  Whenever I start to lose that, something happens- that cable moves or shakes out from under my feet when I'm way up high and that's when you realize ‘This is real.'"

So he needs to practice, and he chose to train in front of his hometown of Sarasota.

He's holding practices Tuesdays through Sundays at Nathan Benderson Park until June 19th.

Training will take place twice daily from Tuesdays - Saturdays, from 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and again at 6:00 p.m., as well as on Sundays at 3:00 p.m. There will be no training on Mondays June 10 or 17.

Always the showman, he even holds conversations with the visitors while he's training.

A little girl asked, "How heavy is the wire?"

"The wire is about 8 and a half pounds per foot," Wallenda replied.

Where ever Nik Wallenda goes, he draws a crowd.  Sheila Train or heard about these practices at her home in Northern Ireland.

"It's not that far away, it's only four and a half thousand miles!" Trainor joked.

But she admires Wallenda's fearlessness.

"I'm scared of heights, I get dizzy at the second rung of the ladder," she said.

At 25 feet up, this practice run doesn't recreate the element of danger, but it really serves as mental preparation.

Wallenda says his practices here will keep the nerves away while he's walking across the Grand Canyon.

"When I'm walking there, I'll be envisioning myself right here in Sarasota training," he said.

He's a hometown boy who's made it big, and he's sharing his success with his closest friends.

"I think he's great. I think he's a great guy," said one woman.

Nik Wallenda's Grand Canyon walk will air live on June 23rd on the Discovery Channel.

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