David Smith, Jr., performed more than 5,000 stunts around the world, even knocking in a world record – Guinness-approved – for the farthest distance traveled by a human cannonball, 59.05 m (193 ft 8.8 in). It’s even earned him a spot on America’s Got Talent.
Smith explained to NPR that the cannon shoots him from “zero to about 50 miles an hour in one-fifth of a second,” with mere seconds before he lands on the safety netting more than a hundred feet away. The blast usually sends him more than 80 feet in the air, and he’s wearing only a helmet and jumpsuit. Minor injuries upon impact are rather common, Smith told the Toronto Star, with back and vertebrae pain occurring regularly.
But it’s nothing he couldn’t have anticipated throughout his life. The Missouri-based Smith family is one made entirely of cannonballs – his father, David Smith Sr., was the original human cannonball (Smith, Jr. calls himself “The Bullet”) and taught his entire family, including his wife and seven children, the craft.
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