How does it feel to break a record day after day?

Wesley Williams, a performer for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, knows a thing or two. The “One Wheel Wonder” takes a spin on the tallest rideable unicycle in the world with each show, at a whopping 34.6 feet tall. 

Williams did not come from a family of entertainers. His interest in performing was ignited by a simple Christmas present and a captivating circus show. 

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“When I was 6 years old, I got a unicycle for Christmas. I learned how to ride, and then my parents took me to see Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, which was in my hometown, just outside of Miami,” Williams told Fox News Digital in person during a tour stop in Worcester, Massachusetts.

“I kind of just remember one moment, and that was when the curtain opened [to] the magic of the circus, and I think I was hooked right then.”

With a unicycle and a dream, a young Williams set off into the world of performing, beginning at much smaller scale events than the circus he is a part of now. 

“I started doing birthday parties — [my] first birthday party when I was 8 years old,” he said.

“I kept getting more. I was actually South Florida’s funniest kid, a competition put on by Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, and I won that. Then, I got to be a part of Ringling for a couple of different times, guest performances, but my heart was always set on being a part of it,” he added.

Before becoming a Ringling performer, Williams spent many years performing with other shows, he ended up being scouted by Kenneth Feld, the CEO of Feld Entertainment, which operates many shows, including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.

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“I traveled all around the world with various high-level shows. What I was performing at when Kenneth Feld saw me was basically a circus competition of the best of the best around the world,” said Williams. 

“It’s in Monte Carlo in Monaco, held by the Princess of Monaco.”

He added, “It’s kind of funny because I live less than three hours away from where Feld headquarters is, where Ringling Brothers is based now, and it took going to the other side of the world to find me and to connect.” 

Williams is a major presence in the Ringling show, riding around the stage on a variety of unique unicycles.

While all the unicycles take great talent to ride, his biggest feat of the show is a record-breaking one. 

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“I actually break a record every day here at Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey,” Williams said. 

“This unicycle height that you see in the show is higher, about 14 feet higher than what the record was before I broke it the first time. So back in 2020, I broke it for the first time. The record was, I believe, 19 feet, and I broke it at 29 feet. Then I re-broke it at 31. Now here in the show every day, you’ll see 34.6 feet.”

Even though riding a unicycle high above the crowd is not something new for Williams, the feeling he experiences of being three stories in the air is one that never gets old for the performer, he said. 

“When you get up three stories in the air, and you look down, that never gets old, but obviously you get more comfortable with what you’re doing,” he said. 

“But you always have to respect that, because in one second, that could change from a steady ride to something that could change your life in a second.”

He continued, “You always get that thrill, that audience adrenaline when you get up there, because this is something they’ve never seen before … I have to remember that I see this every day. I see the extraordinary every day, and here for us at Ringling, the extraordinary is the ordinary.” 

“We have to remember what it was for us to walk in the building the first time and see this ginormous set, see these performers for the first time,” Williams said.

“That first time you see it, that joy, that excitement that is all captured for the first time for these audience members.”

Williams is constantly inspired by other acts he sees and the world around him. 

He is always on the lookout for anything unique and interesting he can work into his act, he said. 

“This scissor unicycle lift actually came from a friend of mine who did an act, and I saw them at a festival. They won gold,” Williams said. 

“My brain’s always turning, that’s my problem,” he joked. “I always like to create challenges for myself, but that’s how you become the best … You don’t settle for what you have now — ou’re always looking to the next thing.” 

Williams’ journey of running with the circus all started with inspiration. One show at 6 years old paved the way for a career as a performer. 

Today, Williams inspires many who visit the circus, which he considers his favorite part of being a performer. 

“I was inspired when I was six years old,” Williams said. “There’s so much going on in this modern day and age. Everybody has their own problems. But when you come to Ringling for two hours, you can drop your problems at the door, and just have simple fun, and I think that’s what this show is. It’s crazy. It’s busy. It’s nonstop, but it’s fun.” 

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