Chayne Hultgren is Space Cowboy, a Byron boy who’s had a penchant for the unusual since he was knee high to a 1 legged grasshopper. Breaking World Records has become his mission, with his recent swallowing of 18 long swords making it a grand total of 11 records he’s broken thus far, making him the most prolific World Record breaker in the country. Not bad for a boy who started out guessing cards at the Byron Markets.
What were the highlights from your most recent tour?
I just got back from a four and a half month tour of Europe, Canada and America. First up, I won the Street Performance World Championship for my third time in Dublin. I performed some amazing shows with big crowds in some very exciting places including Stolkholm Street Festival and Toronto Busker Fest.
I met many extraordinary people like Chuy the Wolf boy from Mexico who because of a congenital condition known as Hypertrichosis, holds the Guinness World Record for having his face and body covered in thick hair. I met Jyoti, the world’s smallest girl, and hung out backstage at the infamous Coney Island Freakshow with their cast of human oddities. I went to the ‘Venice Beach Freakshow in LA I got to hold the world’s rarest living animal, a two headed albino hunchback bearded dragon. The Venice Beach Freakshow has the largest collection of live Freak animals and as I have a touring Museum of preserved Freak animals, The Mutant Barnyard it was awesome to see these animals alive.
Does the relentlessness of street performance & being on the road tire your creativity? How do you stay fresh for every show?
I am in a different city every weekend for pretty much all year round and that can get pretty exhausting, but I love what I do and I am pretty much obsessed by my art so that is what keeps me fresh and excited. I am also inspired every day by other people and the things that are happening around me.
Where do you get your ideas? And when you get them, how do you craft them into a show….
I like to think that I am standing on the shoulders of giants. I am very inspired by performers from the past who have opened new doors in the field of mentalism and extreme stunts. I have a large library at my home filled with books that stimulate my imagination to create powerful new demonstrations.
How did you develop such a passion for the unusual side of life?
It comes naturally.
Do you really read minds? Can you explain a little of the technique that helps you work out what people are thinking?
It seems so. I use a combination of different techniques to achieve convincing results. Cold reading including reading body language, powers of suggestion, perceptual manipulation, psychology, a dose of trickery and a lot of showmanship.
You have an amazing 11 World records – can you list them for me? You must be working on the next one…can you tell me what it is and how you prepare for it?
I swallowed the most swords at once, 18 long sword blades simultaneously swallowed down my throat. I lifted two 50L beer kegs with a sword down my throat. I have dragged the most weight with hooks in my eye sockets, I travelled the longest distance while juggling on a unicycle. I also performed the world’s first underwater sword swallow, I performed that in a large tank full of live sharks at the manly Aquarium.
Those are some of my favorite records however I have performed lots of crazy stunts on many of the Guinness World Record TV shows like telekinetic spoon bending and conducting electricity through my body. My most recent record that I performed on a Guinness World Record TV show was filmed in Italy, I lay on a bed of nails and had 20 motorbikes drive over my chest!
I have many more records that I am working on however I would like to keep most of these secret. I can reveal however that my next record will be for swallowing a sword while hanging upside down from a hot air balloon at over 7,000feet.
How do you keep in form for your shows – do you have to practise sword swallowing etc or is it just something you can always do…
I perform a lot so no time to get out of shape. Of course anything new is carefully constructed and tested and a lot of practice goes into it. I was juggling chainsaws a lot working on some new records until I recently fell from my 3m Uni while practicing and fractured my arm in two places. It set me back and I haven’t been able to juggle much since. Lucky I have so many stunts to cover my shows and I’ve learnt to throw knives with my left hand pretty well as a result but injuries suck.
What do you think is your greatest strength as a performer?
I’m confident within myself and with what I do and I like to share the results with my audience and I seem to appeal to all ages, race and class.
Tell me what you mean by the quote, ‘what the mind can conceive the body can achieve’.
I believe that if you believe in something enough anything is possible.
What should we expect for your Byron show?
Some of my most loved and effective material from previous shows and a bunch of new stunts that I’m working on as we speak!
I have had a very busy Christmas season and just returned from Woodford where my girlfriend and I ran a 10 in 1 sideshow attraction that was a huge success. I have some shows coming up in a Spiegel tent at Adelaide Fringe Festival so this is the debut of my new show ‘Imagination Rules The World’ a work in progress. Expect a combination of my powerful Mentalism effects, physical stunts and even a Guinness World Record recreation.
The Space Cowboy: Imagination Rules The World
Fri 13 Jan 8.30pm. Sat 14 & Sun 15 Jan 5.30pm + 8.30pm $25 / $20 conc + $13 under 16 5.30pm shows only
Five Shows only! Tickets selling fast!
Book your tickets at the Byron Community Centre Box office or online at www.byroncentre.com.au or phone 02 6685 6807