Riding in the Globe of Death is a way of life for the Fearless Flores Family

Globe of Death

— Photo from Ricardo Flores 
The family that rides together: In front of the Globe of Death are Volorian Flores, 16; Ziana Flores, 8; Cyndel Flores, 21; and Ricardo Flores, 41. 

ALTAMONT — Ricardo Flores’s children grew up learning how to crash motorcycles, not only how to ride them. Practicing daredevil stunts requires knowing the safest ways to crash, Flores said, as he talked about practicing the act the family will bring to the Altamont Fair. 

“When our kids are learning, we teach them how to stop without brakes,” he said. 

All  three of Flores’s children perform. Daughter Cyndel, 21, son Volorian, 16, and daughter Ziana, 8, are the 10th generation in his family to perform, he told The Enterprise. On their mother’s side of the family, he said, the children are the eighth generation. 

Asked where they got the children’s names, he said, “We made them up!”

Flores and his wife’s parents knew each other from way back, he said, and the couple met in the circus world. 

Ricardo and Arcelia Flores have raised their children on the road, just as they were raised. 

Their children have grown up with everyone around them performing on motorcycles — not only their parents but also their grandfather, their aunts, and their cousin. “When we play, we’re on motorcycles,” Flores said. 

Their show at the Altamont Fair will feature the Globe of Death, a 14-foot sphere made of steel flat bars and angle iron. Performers ride on motorcycles inside the globe — sometimes more than one at once, in circles that cross paths but never collide — traveling around the sides and even over the top. 

Flores’s two older children performed in the Globe of Death on the stage in “America’s Got Talent,” Season 6, in 2011, in which they made it to the top 48 acts. Cyndel was 13, and Volorian 8 at the time. 

“We have a cage at our house. When they see everybody doing it, they feel left out,” he said. “If they’re not riding in the cage, they’re the weird one in the family, because everybody’s doing it.” 

Asked how the kids actually learn, he said, “Very carefully.” 

It’s similar to learning to ride a bicycle, Flores said, with one skill building on another. “Once they can ride, they want to do a wheelie.” 

There is no flat surface inside the cage, Flores said. “You’re always turning a little bit. You have to keep a little bit of speed going.” Centrifugal force keeps the riders up, he said. “When you slow it down in there, you come down.” 

In practice over the years, family members have had some crashes, Flores said, but have always been lucky enough to walk away.

“I tell people, if you don’t want to get kicked, you shouldn’t play soccer,” he said. “If you don’t want to get hit, you shouldn’t play football. And if you don’t want to have crashes, you shouldn’t ride motorcycles.”

Unpredictable things can happen, Flores said; a motorcycle could slip a chain or get a flat tire. 

It’s important that riders in the cage practice how to stop as safely as possible, he said. So he does drills with his family, saying, “Right now, when I tell you to, stop without using the brakes. Let off the throttle, coast it down to the bottom, and hop off.” 

Their 8-year-old daughter, Ziana, attends school in their hometown of Myakka City, Florida, near Sarasota. 

The family performs all year long. “During the school year, we usually perform only on the weekends,” Flores said. If the Floreses need to travel, they will talk to the teacher, get lesson plans, and do the work in the tour bus, he said. 

Do schoolmates want to run away with the Flores family to join the circus? 

At school, Ziana doesn’t talk to classmates much about her work as a performer, her father said. Many of her classmates don’t know about it. 

“It’s funny,” Flores said. “My kids, whenever they were in school, they didn’t really run around and tell people what they did.” But the friends who do know about it, he said, “think it’s great.” 

The couple’s two older children also attended public school through about seventh grade. “We want them to have the exposure to other kids,” he explained. 

But at that age, it became harder to keep up with the work, because of their periodic absences, and they switched to providing their education online. 

“You have to figure out how to make it balanced,” Flores said.

Their travels amplify the children’s education. “”When we’re on the road, we’re huge tourists; we’ll go see everything there is to see,” Flores said. “Every time there’s an opportunity for us to go somewhere, that’s just it, it’s an opportunity.” 

Outside the United States, the family has traveled to places including the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Trinidad.

“Making memories”

At the Altamont Fair, the first rider in the globe will be 8-year-old Ziana, Flores said. “She’ll give a demonstration of the easy stages of riding in the cage. She’s only been riding a couple of years.” 

Ziana is a little more cautious than Volorian was at the same age, he said, adding, “Everybody learns at a different rate.” 

He added, “My son started riding inside when he was 4. By the time he was 8, he was out of control.” 

Once Ziana exits, Volorian will enter the globe and will ride a loop directly over the top, letting go with one hand. 

Next, the boy’s mother, Arcelia, will go in and stand in the center of the globe, with him riding around her and reaching out to give her high-fives; he’ll “zigzag around and miss her by inches,” Flores said. 

For the finale, Flores will enter the cage with his son and the two of them will cycle around Arcelia, who will stand in the center. 

A meet-and-greet and autograph session follows the performance. Visitors have a chance to step inside the cage to take selfies with one of the performers, Flores said. 

“At a fair, you’re supposed to be having experiences you can’t have anywhere else. It’s about making memories,” Flores said. 

Arcelia Flores emailed The Enterprise descriptions of other acts the family will perform at the Altamont Fair. She will climb a 60-foot “sway pole” and perform acrobatic maneuvers on top.

Also, The Wheel of Destiny, which is about 30 feet tall, will rotate and spin as Ricardo Flores does his best to stay upright while “walking on the inside and the outside, running and jumping rope and even walking the outside blindfolded.”

Flores spoke on the phone with The Enterprise from Alaska, where the family was performing until leaving for Altamont, where they will perform in front of the fair’s grandstand on Aug. 14 through 18.

Flores’s 75-year-old father, Victor Flores, still performs with the family, but he will not be traveling to Altamont. He will be in Ohio, performing in a different show with Flores’s 21-year-old daughter, Cyndel. 

“He enjoys being on the road,” Flores said of his father. “You know the saying, ‘If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re not working.’ So I don’t feel I’ve worked a day in my life.” 

His older daughter is lucky, he said, to spend four weeks working with her grandfather, with whom she is very close. 

“It’s not like going to visit grandpa, and he’s just in his house,” Flores said. 

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