EUGENE, Ore. - Coffee ridiculously early in the morning? Check.
Ride the motorcycle high wire for the circus set up at Matthew Knight Arena? Yup, check.
The accommodating people from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus invited me and a few other media folk to “try out” some of the show’s most popular acts.
I, of course, was volunteered for the most dangerous of the options: the breath-taking motorcycle high-wire stunt.
And so before the sun even rose Friday morning, I climbed a ladder and sat sans harness or safety net on a cold welded pipe trapeze.
True, my hands were secured in ropes, but still …
“Is that where I’m supposed to put my bottom?” I asked the suspiciously excited gentlemen in charge of actually driving the motorcycle.
“Yes, just sit there, hold on tight and don’t move,” he said with a mischievous grin.
Andrey Medeiros, the grinning gentlemen and circus performer for this weekend’s shows, started revving the motorcycle directly above me. The “seat” I was on shook.
Yeah, well duh. I tensed up and hoped that my hand cream on these bars wasn’t going to be the end of me.
Medeiros and I flew forward, high above the seats of the arena. As I held on for dear life, literally, I couldn’t help but be a good little journalist and worry about whether or not the camera and mic were on.
We went up the high wire and swiftly back down, up and back - and up and back again.
“Ok, now he’s messing with me,” I thought.
Medeiros finished with turning off the engine at the highest point.
“Uh-oh,” he said as he acted like we would be going backwards out of control. I wasn’t worried; his chipper tone quickly revealed his devious trick.
Despite my genuine fear and my still shaky legs, I truly did enjoy riding the motorcycle high wire with the very skilled Medeiros. I can honestly say that was the first, and defiantly the last, time I will be on a high wire at the “hands” of a man on a motorcycle.
Friday night, and every other night for that matter, I will leave it to the pros.
The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Boom A Ring circus is performing at the Matthew Knight Arena Friday night at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. Go to www.ringling.com for more information.