Mayor and First Lady's Miracle Daughter to Perform in Huntington September 21-22

Updated 8 years ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
Mary Dives at Mayan
Mary Dives at Mayan
Photo provided by Mary Wolfe

Mary Ellen Wolfe-Nielsen  and her husband Tyce will perform acrobatics during a "thank you" reception, September 21 at the Frederick Building. The reception runs from 5:00-7:00 p.m. They will also take part Saturday, September 22, in a First Stage Reunion Fundraiser at the Keith Albee Performing Arts Center.

Mary long known as the family daredevil completed a summer long engagement performing with her husband at the Cirque de la Mer of Sea World in San Diego, California.

Back in 2010, She had suffered a shattered heel during a diving performance in Springfield, Missouri. Her mother, Debbie, drove 36 hours straight to pick up Marry Ellen and return her to Huntington where a renowned specialist would perform miraculous surgery on her foot. Ms. Wolfe faced the possibility of both not walking or possibly losing her foot.

On August 8, 2010, Mayor Wolfe told HNN, “We have faith that she will recover to the fullest extinct that she can,” adding that some shattered bones will be replaced with titanium. She will have limited motion laterally but will have full motion vertically. The Mayor indicated the surgical team must be cautious of infections and blood clots.
Her recovery period was anticipated to be “long term,” the Mayor then said.
“She’s a trooper,” her dad added, asking people to pray for her recovery.

Prior to surgery, mom took her fearless  daughter Mary Ellen to HEELS at Pullman Square in Huntington. The young woman picked out a pair of high heeled sandals. They would be one of her  goals when after two days in Cabell Huntington Hospital where  Dr. Zack Tankersley   "put her heel back together with plates and screws."

Tyce and Mary
Tyce and Mary

Shortly  after getting out of the hospital, Mary Ellen ‘ran’ a mile around Ritter Park on crutches. Twenty days later in a boot cast, she boarded a plane to Utah.  Once back, she competed on October 23, 2010, representing Cottonwood Canyon in the Miss Utah pageant. She wore a rhinestone flip flop on her heeling foot and finished in the Top 15.

During a December 2011 interview, she told HNN, “I was pretty lucky; it’s a pretty dangerous job.” Dangerous? That comes from the daughter of a retired Huntington police officer and former Cabell County Sheriff. As most readers know, he’s now Mayor of Huntington. Perhaps, her passion for boots come from her father’s affinity for horses.

The “miracle” of her comeback has a few limitations. She’s no longer doing  extreme diving as it puts too much pressure on her foot. Instead, she’s working on the trapeze, which is less stressful.

Often referred to as Tarzan and Jane, she and her husband had performed at Utah's Mayan Adventure, but the near one-of-a-kind restaurant that had a trapeze, fire, diving and aerial artistry with South American rain forest theme went belly up. They formed their own company to help keep the troupe training and performing together.

In the December interview, Wolfe-Nielsen stated:

Sea World San Diego
Sea World San Diego

HNN: What’s the most scary stunt for you?

MARY ELLEN: My husband does the 80 foot high dive into nine feet of water. That’s scary. I don’t do that. Me? I love doing really high drops aerial silks about 40 feet and drop all the way down to the bottom and it will catch me.

HNN: After looking at a lot of your pictures, I’ve wondered do you and your husband receive a Tarzan and Jane comparison?

MARY ELLEN: Actually, a  lot of people say that.

HNN: The performing proposal, was that before or after the accident?

MARY ELLEN: He was with me when I broke my foot, he was working in that same show, but we were just friends, then. After I ripped my foot, started getting better and performing again, he proposed. I was surprised because I was in the middle of one of my shows. I was like, um, should I keep performing my show or stop? I kept doing my show, then, dropped in the water, and he proposed. I had to climb up to the top to continue with the show. His brother thought I was going to climb up and run away.

Tyce's Proposal to Mary
Tyce's Proposal to Mary

To visit that page, which includes a photo collection provided courtesy of the husband/wife team, visit:

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