Aerial view of the Dowagiac campus

Wallenda focuses on SMC Wednesday

11/02/2018 - 2pm
Tino Wallenda

Tino Wallenda of Flying Wallendas fame speaks at Southwestern Michigan College at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, from atop a tightrope while talking about staying focused on goals.

His inspirational message at the Student Activity Center on the Dowagiac campus is free and open to the public.

His appearance is part of SMC’s Academic Speaker Series and presented in conjunction with Alpha Kappa Omega Bible Study Club.

Wallenda, 68, is the sixth generation of a family of circus acrobats famous for performing high-wire acts, including chair pyramids, without safety nets.

He performs with his children, their spouses and grandchildren as the Wallenda Family Troupe.

A nephew and his aerialist wife are daredevils who dangle by their teeth from trapezes hanging out of helicopters hovering above a Missouri theme park (Nik) and Niagara Falls (Erindira).

In a 2017 Washington Post profile Wallenda shrugged off the danger. “The casualty rate of driving cars is much greater than tightrope walkers,” Wallenda said. “You just have to be careful about what you do.”

His own mother, Jenny, urged him to attend college to become a doctor or lawyer because she feared there was “no future in the circus business,” though the durable death-defying act survived the 2017 demise of what was known after 146 years as Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus with bookings at festivals, state fairs and grand openings.