Chayne Hultgren, the Space Cowboy, shows how not to busk in New York (or at home, kids).
Chayne Hultgren, the Space Cowboy, shows how not to busk in New York (or at home, kids).

Byron busker bounced in NY

A BYRON Bay sword swallower spent 22 hours in a New York jail cell after he was arrested for disorderly conduct.

Chayne Hultgren, better known as The Space Cowboy, told The Northern Star he was busking near Times Square when a police officer told him: “You’ve got a sword in public and I’ve got every right to shoot you.”

The 33-year-old said he was handcuffed and locked in a cell with sex offenders and drug addicts.

He was eventually released without charge but had his props, including swords, whips and a unicycle, confiscated.

Mr Hultgren, who started his busking career at the Byron Bay markets as an eight year old, has gone on to become an internationally acclaimed street performer.

He has won scores of international awards, including the Dublin Street Performance World Championships in June.

He also holds 11 Guinness World Records for sword swallowing and feats of ‘flesh hook endurance’, including the heaviest weight pulled with the eye sockets.

He said it was a “spur of the moment” decision to perform in New York.

“I’d just been at the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum ... I had all my swords and whips in my backpack – so I thought I would do a little public show.”

Police stopped the entertainment after 200 or 300 people had gathered to watch.

“You’re allowed to busk, but you’re not allowed to have people stop and watch you,” Mr Hultgren said.

Police told him to tell the crowd to disperse, and that he’d be back in an hour to finish the show.

As a result of his arrest, Mr Hultgren missed a flight to San Francisco and had to spend $1000 on new whips and swords for his shows in California and the Burning Man Festival in Nevada.

Mr Hultgren said he was looking forward to returning to Byron Bay next month.

“I don’t think I’ll be performing on the streets of New York again,” he said.



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