A little after 4 p.m. Sunday, as attendees were enjoying the sunshine on the final day of the Tanana Valley State Fair, the largest crowd was gathered near the entrance to the fairgrounds watching an 8-year-old take her motorcycle into The Globe of Death.
Ziana Flores is the youngest member of the Flores family, who attended the fair for the first time this year to perform the “Fearless Flores Thrill Show.”
Within minutes Ziana was riding loops inside the circumference of the spherical metal cage while the crowd roared in appreciation — but that gravity-defying stunt was just the beginning. Moments later, her 16-year-old brother, Volorian Flores, was riding loop-de-loops around yet another family member, 21-year-old Cyndel Flores (the eldest sibling), who stood directly in the center of the globe holding out her hands so he could high-five her as he zoomed past.
At the climax of the Fearless Flores Thrill Show, paterfamilias Ricardo Flores had joined his son in the Globe of Death. The pair of them were riding loops around Cyndel Flores, while the crowd cheered at the dizzying spectacle.
“We’re 10th generation circus performers and third generation motorcycle daredevils,” Cyndel Flores said. “We travel all over the United States, Canada, Mexico, all the islands — we go everywhere.”
Despite the fact they’re well-traveled, this was the Flores’s first time in Alaska. They performed two to three shows each day at the fair. Their shows include various acts, from circus tricks like plate spinning to high wire dare-devilry.
“Fairbanks Alaska is a lot different to where we come from, which is Myakka City, Florida — so literally the whole other side of the country,” Cyndel Flores said, laughing. “Your birds are much bigger than ours!”
Both Cyndel and Volorian Flores said they’ve enjoyed visiting Alaska. Their father, Ricardo Flores, was likewise effusive.
“The people in Alaska have been awesome. You have the friendliest people here,” Ricardo Flores said. “Alaskans are right on.”
While in Fairbanks, they’ve been to local hot spots such as The Cookie Jar and the Chena Hot Springs. They plan to attend the fair again next year.
According to Ricardo Flores, his son, Volorian, started riding motorcycles when he was just four. It’s only in the past few years that he’s built the prowess to ride vertical loops in The Globe of Death. (Thus far, Ziana can only ride horizontal loops around the edge of the cage.)
“That’s something that I can’t teach him. It’s got to build up,” Ricardo Flores said. “It’s like when you teach a kid to ride a bicycle:
You hold them, you help them steer, you help them ride it. Once they’re riding, then you just go, ‘All right guys, good luck.’ They then have to build up the confidence and the guts to try to do a wheelie or hit a ramp.
“You’ve got to feel it,” he added. “And that’s where Ziana is at now.”
Ricardo Flores is quick to note that his family’s show isn’t constructed around artifice — they are doing real stunts and there is real danger involved.
“People say, ‘How long did it take for you to be perfect?’ And I say, ‘I don’t know yet.’ Because we still crash,” he said. “If you don’t want to fall off a motorcycle, you shouldn’t ride a motorcycle.”
Ricardo Flores expressed gratitude to the various organizations that made their trip to Alaska possible. This includes Outpost Alaska, which donated one of the motorcycles; the Alaska Fun Center; and Carlile Alaska.
You can find out where the Fearless Flores Thrill Show is performing next by visiting their website: ffthrill.com.
Contact staff writer Alistair Gardiner at 459-7575. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors.