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5/30/2013 - Stunt expert hopes to cross Grand Canyon sans protection

stunt performer plans to cross the Grand Canyon on a tightrope.

A man whose last name is synonymous with performers known for pulling off death-defying stunts plans to up the ante this year in Arizona.

According to Reuters, aerialist Nik Wallenda indicates that he hopes to cross the Grand Canyon on nothing more than a tightrope in June more than 1,500 feet off the ground and without the protection of a safety harness.

The 34-year-old told the news agency that this is something he's always been meaning to do and this summer he intends to fulfill that long-held challenge.

"This is another one of my dreams coming true," said Wallenda. "This is one that has been on my bucket list for some time."

The Flying Wallendas have been doing these types of aerial, acrobatic stunts since the early 1900s, started by Karl Wallenda in Germany. Most of their exploits have been in circus-related environments, but they've increasingly taken on challenges outside the three-ringed atmosphere, such as at state fairs and tourist destinations. For example, in June of last year Nik Wallenda walked over Niagara Falls, protected by safety harness. Officials from television network ABC, which aired the performance, required that he wear one.

But Wallenda said this time around, any type of protection is "non-negotiable" as cable news network Discovery Channel has agreed to broadcast the event.

To avoid liability, performers who do this type of activity remind viewers not to perform these types of risks. All too often, however, young children attempt similar exploits that may not be quite as perilous, but nevertheless can cause injury. Homeowners insurance provides parents with protection in the event their child - or if a friend of theirs while playing at their home - injures themselves after doing something they shouldn't have.

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