TODAY

TODAY   |  June 21, 2013

Wallenda’s dad: ‘I’m not worried’ about canyon walk

TODAY’s Natalie Morales talks to Nik Wallenda’s father, Terry Troffer, and uncle, Mike Troffer, who will be his safety coordinator and chief engineer for his upcoming Grand Canyon crossing.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> and al. we are back with nik wallenda as well as two very important members of his family responsible for rigging this whole thing up. we have harry who is nik's father and uncle mike here who is the chief engineer and terry is the safety coordinator who talks to you all the time in your ear. you guys literally have this guy's life in your hands here. are you worried at all? your son, seeing him out there.

>> i'm really not that worried. i know his capabilities. i've been through it. i walked the wire for 38 years. so i kind of know what's going through his mind at that time and i'm just there, kind of his eyes on the outside as he's doing it. i'm just watching everything and how he is feeling and we communicate back an forth. if he's got a question i try to look for the answer for him right away.

>> uncle mike, you're responsible for this rig that went out here. this incredible piece of engineering. how did you begin to put this walk together from an engineering standpoint?

>> well, i start with the end state that i'm after and basically that's giving nik a platform that will allow him to succeed. if i can do that, he will succeed. he has the talent.

>> the wire will be drawn out there today.

>> yes.

>> and then you'll hang some and there's no testing this wire until sunday.

>> this particular rig, one shot.

>> one shot deal.

>> what would be the one or two things to prevent you from giving the all clear because you have a final say on whether the walk is a go. is there something you'll be looking at.

>> right before he goes, i'm going to check with all of our different departments and mike is going to be over on the opposite end and i'll be talking with him. i'm going to check in the weather condition. if we have storms that might develop, i want to know how far away the lightning strikes are, if there are any at all and i talk to nik and make sure that he is, you know, he is good to go and it's, you know, just a matter of kind of like doing a count down type of thing. checking in and making sure everything is good.

>> nik, what goes through your mind when you're on the wire? we were talking about how you seem to get in the zone.

>> really it's don't fall, don't fall -- no, i'm just kidding. i'm concentrating on what i'm doing. staying focused on that wire and just going back to my training. going back to my training in sarasota where i trained with 91 miles per hour winds, with gusts 45 to 50 miles per hour in a tropical storm .

>> but never 1500 feet up.

>> that's a mental game. that's why prep is so important. i walked backward, forward so i'm mentally prepared. the height doesn't change anything but the wire is the same whether it's two feet off the ground or 1500 feet off the ground.

>> how important is it to have your dad in your ear while you're walking?

>> it's very important. he can talk to me about pacing. that's key if i do speed up or slow down or when i should, when i shouldn't so i don't create rhythms in the cable and a voice of reason to keep me calm. calm and collected.

>> we should point out the importance of the pole. this anchors you down, right?

>> it more than anchors me down. it's something that i can work with. there's winds, this is the grand canyon .

>> you would hold it too, it's 40 pounds.

>> without one you have to counter react so fast you can't adjust quickly to a gust where as i have time to adjust and pull my body back in line. it's about 43 pounds and it's 30 feet long.

>> wow, nik wallenda, terry and mike, gentlemen we're proud of what you have done here and we can't wait to see it. you all should join us and watch live on the discovery channel , skywire live at 8:00 p.m . eastern time and 5:00 p.m . pacific.