SARASOTA, F.L. (WIVB) - For daredevil Nik Wallenda, the dream to cross Niagara Falls started when he was a young boy. He was raised in a family with deep circus roots.
Ahead of his June 15 walk, Wallenda defied the odds. He changed two laws in two different countries.
"I was told by hundreds of people this will never happen," Wallenda said.
The seventh-generation performer took those negative sentiments and turned them into something positive.
"There were mountains in the way and the mountains started to move and I think people started to realize, this is big... this is a massive force," Wallenda extrapolated.
Wallenda says he followed the family motto - "Never give up." It's a three-word phrase passed down for seven generations; over 200 years. Those words were uttered by Wallenda's great grandfather, the late Karl Wallenda.
Wallenda said one of his main motivations is respect for the family.
"I do a lot of this out of respect and to pay tribute to him the things he did to open the doors for me to do what I do," he said.
Doors opened for the patriarch Wallenda in 1928. He was discovered by John Ringling, of the Ringling Brothers Circus. Ringling traveled overseas and brought the Wallendas back to America.
Scott Gardiner works for the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida. He said the Wallenda family is beloved in the circus community.
"They were one of the center pieces, one of the focal pieces of the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Show."
The museum is packed with circus artifacts. There's an original bandwagon - that led the circus into town and the first human cannonball launcher.
"That's [from] when the circus was in its hay day," Gardiner said. "[The circus] really had entertainers that would dazzle you like the Wallendas."
The Wallenda family has an exhibit all their own. Each piece has a story behind it, including an outfit worn during one of Karl Wallenda's last performances. It was donated to the museum after crossing the Tallulah Gorge.
Visitors to the museum also have the opportunity to "walk the wire" just like the Wallendas.
Sarasota is said to be the home of the circus and the place it never left. Roots run deep in this small community, where the Wallendas live.
The circus and daredevil community in Sarasota is very tight knit. In St. Aramand's Circle the Ring of Fame is a focal point. A plaque sits in the circle representing each famous family. The Wallendas are among the many.
Nik's cousin Blake, also a performer, explains the circle is like, "The Hollywood stars for circus people."
"Circus was a new big booming thing in the U.S.," Blake said. "It was about staying ahead in the competition. They were doing tricks that were just phenomenal that I didn't even know about until a few years ago when I first started practicing wire."
Nik summed it up.
"We're tightrope walkers, this is our passion, this is what we love do. If we can find another unique spot to do it, that's what we're going to do."
There is another Lake Effect Snow Warning in effect for Erie, Wyoming, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties from Thursday through early Friday.
Lake Effect Snow Warnings return today with the chance for an additional foot for some areas.
A 26-year-old male employee of Ying's Wings and Things told police that Haibo Jiang, also known as Jimmy Ying, choked him until he passed out.
A Good Samaritan died Wednesday while trying to assist the driver of a tractor trailer who got stuck in the snow.
Viewers sent in photos from the snowfall around Western New York.
The Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office says a tractor trailer crashed on Route 39, in the Town of Eagle.