Ivan España still gets a thrill from the high-flying, speed-seeking stunts he and his family put on as part of their act, Moto Maniacs – except the source of those thrills may not be what you’d expect.
“There’s the thrill of being in a place,” he said Tuesday following a performance at the Clay County Fair. “Like, we got to perform in the Sydney Opera House. That’s a big thrill.”
But then there’s the audience. Ivan said the Moto Maniacs “feed off the audience.”
“I think our biggest excitement or satisfaction actually is making sure the audience left happy and excited,” Ivan said. “And you know you get that in return. I think that’s a big thrill still to this day for me.”
Moto Maniacs is comprised of España, his wife Allison Blei; his son Sian España; and his daughter, Zorè España. The act has taken them to other high-profile venues, too, such as Disneyland, Niagara Falls, Madison Square Garden and much more.
Ivan is the fifth generation of a family of traveling performers. His son and daughter represent the sixth generation.
The quartet show off their daredevil skills in acts that include The Cyclone Cycle, The Sky Cycle and the Moto Sphere. The first two acts mix motorcycle-riding skill with acrobatics, while the Moto Sphere involves up to two motorcycles chasing each other and defying gravity at high speeds in a steel-caged sphere.
Many practice hours go into perfecting the acts.
“Everything we do out here has been rehearsed numerous times at home and other places, maybe in the mornings in some places where there is no audience,” Ivan said.
Allison, who performs acrobatic acts throughout the set, said it comes down to learning to “keep your poise.”
“When you practice, you do get nervous and excited at first,” she said. “But once you know how to do something, no matter how big the venue of where you are, if you let that nervousness get control of you where you lose your concentration, that’s no good. So it’s very important, for myself, to not let the nervousness take control and enjoy what I’m doing and enjoy the audience’s feedback.”
Zorè said performing the stunts is part of their lifestyle at this point.
“When you have such a daring and exciting lifestyle and, you know, when my dad tells his wife to get on a trapeze that he’s riding a motorcycle on, it’s just kind of an everyday thing, not so much something that we would fear,” she said.
They’ve been raised learning how to get rid of the “fear factor,” Zore added.
This isn’t the first time Moto Maniacs has performed at the Clay County Fair. They were in town two years ago for the Centennial Clay County Fair in 2017. But that was one night only.
This year, though, Ivan said they’ve been able to enjoy more of the area’s amenities.
“We got to experience Okoboji,” Ivan said. “It’s a very, very nice place. I mean, I’ve traveled the whole state and I never knew that place existed.”
Moto Maniacs performs daily at the Clay County Fair at 10:45 a.m., 1:45 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.
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