Ivan and Sian España revved the engines of their motorcycles during the Moto Maniacs show Sunday afternoon at the Nebraska State Fair to cheers from roughly one hundred people.
As their engines roared, the father and son duo rode into the moto sphere — an enclosed globe with a steel cage. A sound recording blaring overhead states the Españas will reach speeds of more than 50 miles per hour, which is “riding extremely fast.”
Prior to the start of Sunday’s Moto Maniacs show, Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” blares overhead. The song’s title seems to describe the Españas well as they enter the moto sphere and begin riding around the sphere and each other.
Sian España said that while some may consider the giant contraption and the act dangerous, he is extremely comfortable riding in the moto sphere.
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“It’s like tying your own shoes. You tie it and you’re done. That’s how I feel with the globe,” España said. “I get in there and I feel like it’s a part of me, rather than me being stranded.”
After a few minutes of riding around the moto sphere, the Españas kicked it up a notch by having one of their female assistants stand in the middle of the globe with her hands stretched high as they rode around her.
In addition to the moto sphere, Sunday’s Moto Maniacs show also featured Ivan riding a motorcycle on a tightrope and a raised pedestal while his female assistant hung from a bar, spinning around and doing various other acrobatics while the motorcycle was in gear.
Allison Blei of Salto Entertainment, which organizes the Moto Maniacs show, said Moto Manics is a family show that includes both Ivan and Sian. She said Ivan is a fifth-generation performer, while Sian is a sixth-generation performer.
Moto Manics was formed four years ago when Blei and the Españas decided to create a motorcycle show dedicated to the acts they do, Blei said. She added Salto Entertainment offers different shows including Moto Maniacs, Motorcycle Circus and Flippin’, which was at last year’s state fair.
Blei said the Moto Maniacs show is “completely different” from the other shows Salto Entertainment has, including Flippin’.
“This one is motorcycles and the other one is no motorcycles,” she said. “But they are all acrobatic in nature.”
During Sunday afternoon’s Moto Maniacs show and her interview with The Independent following the show, Blei said Ivan and Sian have 40 years of combined motorcycle riding experience. She said Ivan has been doing the “globe act” for 30 years. Sian said he has been riding motorcycles since he was four years old.
“My dad wanted me to get used to the motorcycle when I was four years old,” Sian España said. “A few months later, he saw that I really enjoyed it and he actually put me in there (in the globe). He held me up by his arms inside and just watched me. About five years later, I was in there by myself. At first, he was standing there in the middle just to be sure and I would ride around him. About five years later, he closed the door, I was in by myself and it was just easy from there.”
España added it took about 11 years from the time he started riding motorcycles to the time his father was comfortable with him doing whatever acts or tricks he wanted to do, including the moto sphere.
As for the Moto Maniacs show, España said he and his father are always working to try something new for the show.
“We are always trying to practice something different and creative, even if it takes a while,” he said.
España added one thing he enjoys about performing in the Moto Maniacs show is seeing the hundreds of people who show up to watch the show and seeking their reactions.
“It is fun to see their reactions and see how they feel about it,” he said. “I see it as a toy and they (audience) see it as dangerous.”
Moto Maniacs has three more shows today (Monday) at noon, 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the Family Fun Zone at the Nebraska State Fair.