Space Cowboy (performer)

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Chayne Hultgren
Space Cowboy 2009.jpg
The Space Cowboy performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 2009
Born Chayne Hultgren
(1978-04-13) 13 April 1978 (age 37)
Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation Performer
Spouse(s) Zoe Ellis (2007-present)

The Space Cowboy (real name: Chayne Hultgren) is a world record-breaking sideshow, street, and freak show performer born in Byron Bay in Australia on 13 April 1978.


The Space Cowboy after a performance in Edinburgh, 2009

Hultgren is 'Australia's most prolific record breaker' and currently holds 38 Guinness World Records for his unusual skills. Some of his records include: 'Most chainsaw juggling catches on a unicycle', 'Most weight dragged with hooks in the eye sockets', 'Most targets hit with throwing knives in one minute', 'Most swords swallowed underwater', 'Most blowtorches extinguished with the tongue in one minute (temperature of flames reached 1995 °C / 3623 °F)'. His achievement of swallowing 17 swords in 2009 was voted by Guinness World Records as one of the top 100 records of all time, since then he has broken this record many times and his current record for multiple sword swallowing is 27 swords swallowed at the same time. He is featured in many 'Guinness World Record' and 'Ripley's Believe It Or Not' books and TV shows. Bronze life cast statues of Hultgren swallowing swords are exhibited in the Ripley's Museums.

He also performs a number of acts, including juggling a sickle, machete and fire torch (although recently he has been using a battle axe, and jungle machete and a butcher knife) whilst blindfolded on a 10-foot unicycle, catching flaming arrows blindfolded shot from a crossbow, suspension (the art of dangling from hooks in your flesh), seven ball juggling, hat manipulation, spoon bending, levitation of himself and other objects, sword swallowing, psychic surgery, Human Blockhead Trick, knife throwing (the usual victim is his girlfriend and part of his show, Zoe Ellis). His theater act has included swallowing a 60 cm 2000-volt neon glass tube with a microphone on the end (his heart can be heard beating as the light shines through his skin from the inside).

He has also toured his "Mutant Barnyard" [1] traveling tent show, displaying his collection of historical Freak show items, including misshapen or deformed oddities of nature. These include his earliest item, Ditto, the double-bodied duckling, a two-headed cow named Daisy and Maisy, an albino kangaroo, extreme body modification skulls from Peru and 18th century paintings of bearded women and a young child with lobster hands. He regards this as a traveling "Museum Of Mutations and Oddities".

Hultgren has performed his shows in a variety of locations, including streets, theaters, the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Royal Easter Show, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Glastonbury Festival, the Adelaide Festival of Arts, the Gentse Feesten (Ghent Festival in Belgium), the Rotterdam Straatfestival, the Toronto BuskerFest, the Woodford Folk Festival and the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival.

The Space Cowboy performing in Dublin


Hultgren has won the Street Performance World Championship twice in a row.[citation needed]

He has broken twenty nine Guinness World Records, his fist record broken was most swords swallowed (17 at once),[2] then broke that record again, this time scoring 27 swords at the Irish Street Performance Festival (although this 27 swords record is unofficial) and on 8 February 2010 the BBC recorded that he broke this official world record by swallowing 18 swords. He also broke the longest distance pulling 400 kg by fishhooks in his eye sockets. He also holds the record for heaviest weight lifted while swallowing a sword. Other records include most sword swallowers swallowing the same object simultaneously (the four steel legs of the same bar stool, with three other people).[2]

Hultgren holds many "world firsts" such as first double sword swallow, first sword swallow underwater, and his signature trick "The Black and Decker Digestion Wrecker" a power drill with sword attachment which he swallows, and first person to publicly swallow a sword underwater in a tank of live sharks. He was also reported to be the youngest working sword-swallower in Australia, when he was 22 years old.[2]

He is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians.

Physical appearance[edit]

Insterting fish hooks with attached weights into his eye sockets

Hultgren is well known for his tattoos, which include large angel wings on his back. People also remember him for his 19 piercings, which include nipple piercings, cartilage piercings, a flesh tunnel in his ear, a lower lip piercing and navel piercing. He also has a subdermal implant in his chest which he acquired at the tattoo festival. It was done by "Samppa Von Cyborg" a body modification fanatic.

Due to an internal deformation medically known as congenital division of the stomach, the lower half of his stomach has been replicated and sits lower than the average human stomach, allowing him to swallow longer swords.[2]

In 2007 Hultgren had to have emergency surgery to the nerves in his hand after a stunt in his theatre stage show in Adelaide, Australia went wrong.[3] During the performance he had asked an audience member to hide a sharp blade under one of five polystyrene cups. He then hit a cup hard with his hand, with the intention of avoiding the one hiding the blade. Instead, he sliced his hand open when he smashed his hand down on the wrong cup. He is reported to have stayed calm and told his audience: 'This isn't part of the show, you will have to go now'. He resumed performing at the following night's performance.

Media coverage[edit]

Swallowing a sword attached to a metal bar with weights suspended from it. Glastonbury Festival 2009

In June 2008 Hultgren was featured on the cover of national newspapers in the UK [4] and Ireland,[5] and on the BBC website when he broke a world record in Dublin by swallowing 27 swords decorated with the flags of all the countries in the European Union, on the day of the EU referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

In 2008, The Times newspaper stated that the "Two-time world champion, quadruple Guinness World Record-holder, built out of muscle, tattoo ink and piercings, the Space Cowboy gathers crowds that nobody else in Edinburgh can muster without a seat on Mock the Week." [6]

In 2009 Hultgren appeared on the Australian television show Australia's Got Talent. His other TV appearances include Ripley's Believe It or Not! (USA), Don't Try This at Home (UK), The Sideshow (Australia), "Guinness O Mundo dos Recordes" [7] (Spain) and "Lo show dei record" (Italian version of the Guinness World Records show).;[8][9]

In February 2010, his successful world record sword-swallowing attempt was covered by The Sun,[10] The Daily Mail,[11] the BBC,[12] The Independent,[13] USA Today, The Hindu[14] and many other news media around the world.[15]

In August 2011, he was arrested while performing on the streets in New York for "brandishing a sword in public". He was later released without charge after having his props confiscated.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Hultgren and his partner, Zoe Ellis, have one daughter, Scarlett Showbiz Wild, born 4 June 2013.


  1. ^ "The Mutant Barnyard: The Space Cowboy's curious collection". YouTube. 2008-05-19. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Sword Swallowers Association Intl Sword Swallowing World Records". Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  3. ^ Vaughan, Joanna (2007-03-28). "Surgery after slice of reality | Adelaide Now". Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  4. ^ "Editorial" (PDF). Irish Independent. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  5. ^ Books (12 June 2008). "On a knife-edge - Lisbon Treaty, National News". Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  6. ^ "The Times | UK News, World News and Opinion". London: 2012-02-06. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  7. ^ "Guinness O Mundo dos Recordes 25º Chayne Hultgren". YouTube. 2009-04-20. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ [2][dead link]
  10. ^ Reporter, Staff (2011-01-12). "Sword eater sets world record | The Sun |News". London: The Sun. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  11. ^ Richard Shears (2010-02-08). "Chayne Hultgren sets new sword swallowing record with 18 blades | Mail Online". London: Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  12. ^ "Australian sword swallower sets Guinness world record". BBC News. 2010-02-08. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  13. ^ Reuters (2010-02-08). "Australian sets new sword swallowing world record - Australasia - World". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  14. ^ "Young World / Newscan : Swallow your sword". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 2010-02-23. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  15. ^ "Australian performer sets world record by swallowing 18 swords". 2010-02-08. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  16. ^ Paul, By (2011-08-15). "Aussie sword-swallower Chayne Hultgren arrested while busking in New York". Retrieved 2012-03-19. 

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