Extreme sideshow performer Gordo Gamsby brings the daring and different to Port Macquarie

Gordo Gamsby laughs while his two-year-old son balances on his hands.

He looks comfortable and relaxed by a river in northern New South Wales.

It’s a long way from his former life touring the world as an extreme stunt and circus performer, swallowing swords, pulling a car with his tongue, and juggling fire.

His career has spanned over 20 years and 36 countries, and he has achieved 13 Guinness World Records for his feats of strength and manipulation.

Profile of a man sitting in overalls and a colorful shirt and hat inside a circus tent.
Gordo Gamsby has spent years touring the world as a sideshow performer.(ABC Mid North Coast: Emma Siossian)

“I feel so lucky to have gone the places I have and met the people I have,” he said.

“The crowd-pleasers would include the most apples cut out of my mouth with a chainsaw in a minute.

Gamsby holds the Guinness World Record for the heaviest weight pulled with the tongue — 132 kilograms.

He used a hook through his tongue to pull his assistant as she sat on a low-loading trolley.

Gamsby said a video clip showing him towing a car weighing 1,053kg with a hook through his tongue was yet to be verified by Guinness World Records.

the circus life

A group of young circus performers in colorful costumes and face paint.
Gamsby’s passion for the circus was sparked when Slippry Sirkus visited his high school.(Supplied: Gordo Gamsby)

Gamsby’s unusual career path was set in motion when he was a teenager at Port Macquarie on the Mid North Coast, and the circus came to town.

A circus performer on stage swing a ball on a chain from a piercing in his tongue.
Gordo Gamsby has “the world’s strongest tongue”.(Supplied: Gordo Gamsby)

“The not-for-profit organization Slippry Sirkus came to our school and did circus workshops for school sport,” he said.

“That really connected with me, more than football or regular sports, and that felt me ​​on my journey to where I am now.”

It took years to perfect some of his more daring feats and he says all things simply take practice.

“I take very calculated risks when I am performing stunts, it’s all very well thought out,” he said.

A circus perform on stage, with a sword down his throat and arms raised.
Gamsby says it took years to learn how to swallow a sword comfortably.(Supplied: Gordo Gamsby)

“I have trained all the muscles of my oesophagus, all the way down my throat, so I can use those usually involuntary muscles and voluntarily open and close them to allow me to slide a blade down my throat without injury.”

Juggling family life

A man and woman stand holding a toddler between them with their outside arms stretched out, and laughing.
Gordo and Lucy are embracing family life in Port Macquarie with their son Spike.(ABC Mid North Coast: Emma Siossian)

After achieving international success, Gamsby has returned to where all began, settling in his home town of Port Macquarie to focus more on family life with his wife Lucy Gamsby Frost and their son Spike.

Ms Gamsby Frost is originally from the UK and the pair met in Western Australia while both touring the circus performers.

A circus performer holds an apple in his mouth and cuts it with a chainsaw.
Gordo Gamsby chainsaws apples out of his mouth.(Supplied: Gordo Gamsby)

“My husband’s acts are really incredible; I am so proud of him,” Ms Gamsby Frost said.

They’ve now embraced a slower pace of life, replacing extreme on-stage performances with juggling the demands of parenthood.

“It’s definitely a different lifestyle, not being touring artists,” Gamsby said.

“I have spent the past 20 years bouncing through airports all over the world, I have performed in 36 countries around the world.

A man and woman stand laughing holding their young son between them.
Gordo and Lucy are excited to share parts of their circus life with their son Spike.(ABC Mid North Coast: Emma Siossian)

They have however brought with them elements from their previous life.

They’ve launched a new arts festival in Port Macquarie called Tortuga, featuring acts from around the world.

“We noticed there wasn’t anything like what we did in Port Macquarie,” Ms Gamsby Frost said.

A circus performing woman in a bright costume holds hoops above her head, on a stage.
Gordo and Lucy have created a new arts festival in Port Macquarie, set inside a large Spiegel tent.(ABC Mid North Coast: Emma Siossian)

“It’s very different with a toddler, the touring life isn’t really set up for a 2.5-year-old …and we are excited to share with him what our life was like before.”

Gamsby said it was thrilling to see the festival become a reality.

Gamsby hopes the festival will become an annual event and also hasn’t ruled out more Guinness World Record attempts in the future.

A man on a swing in a circus tent, balancing on his head.
It’s hoped the new arts festival in Port Macquarie will become an annual event.(ABC Mid North Coast: Emma Siossian)

It’s also possible circus tricks could run in the family.

Young Spike balances on his dad’s hands and watches intently as festival performers engage in acrobatics.

There’s certainly no pressure though.

A man holds his young son up in the air, both laughing.
Gamsby and his son Spike.(ABC Mid North Coast: Emma Siossian)

“I wouldn’t change much of my life; I feel incredibly lucky … so I don’t mind what he does as long as he follows his passions.”

A young boy stands balancing on his dad's hands while his mother looks on.
Young Spike enjoys performing a “trick” of his own.(ABC Mid North Coast: Emma Siossian)

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