A Talk With The ‘Human Cannonball’
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — David “The Bullet” Smith Jr., 37, holds the Guinness World Record for the “greatest height achieved” after being launched from a cannon at 85 feet 4 inches. On Saturday July 26 at Canterbury Park, he’ll show spectators exactly why he holds that record.
“It’s been my life and my career traveling around the world and blasting out of cannons,” Smith said. “I’ve been a human cannonball for 16 years.”
On Saturday, Smith will be shot out of his 35-foot, 12,000-pound cannon. He’ll travel about 160 feet in the air and hopefully land in a net at Canterbury Park.
“When that thing fires, I’m blasted from 0 to about 60 mph or better in the first one-fifth of a second,” Smith said.
Smith is a second generation human cannonball. His father designed and built cannons, and at early age he started helping in the family business. He says after 16 years there’s still a lot to learn.
Smith’s father handcrafted the first cannon and Smith started training on the third. Now he’s using cannon number eight for the Canterbury show. It’s the same cannon he used to break the world record in height.
“That cannon is really stable, really accurate and incredibly powerful,” said Smith.
Smith says he’s made plenty of mistakes and each mistake is painfully felt. He says the problem with becoming a human cannonball is that there really is no way to train, you just have to go for it.
“The learning experience … if I had to go through that again, I don’t think I would. Because it’s that dangerous and it’s that scary, and painful,” said Smith.
Smith says there are only a handful of people who make a living as a human cannonball and most are in his family.
“I don’t think there’s anybody doing the kind of shots that we’re doing out there,” Smith said. “It’s a family tradition for us to do the biggest and highest cannon shots that have ever been done.”