Dave “The Bullet” Smith knows how to live life on the edge.
He’s been a human cannonball for over 11 years and has performed more than 5000 shots all over the world.
In the behind-the-scene clip above, Dave, 35, tries to impress the AMERICA’S GOT TALENT judges in Austin, TX.
The third of nine children born to another daredevil — Dave Smith, Sr. — he spent his childhood traveling with the circus but always planned on attending law school. His plans changed forever when his father sustained a back injury during a performance. Dave, just 19, was asked to step in.
A few years ago, Dave gave the following interview to The Toronto Star:
How do people react when you tell them what you do for a living?
Some think it’s the greatest thing in the world; others think I’m nuts. It depends on how I present it. I’m a little more discreet about what I do if I’m trying to get life insurance.
What’s your training regimen?
I spent a lot of years on the flying trapeze and as a high diver. Your body’s got to be able to take the hit coming out of that cannon. If you make a mistake it can all be over. Pardon the pun, but you’ve only got one shot at it.
Your dad holds the Guinness World Record for cannonball distance, at 201 feet. Do you have any plans to top him?
As long as it’s in the family, I’m fine with it. My record is 184 feet, but if somebody outside of our family came up with a 202-footer, I’d go for it the next day.
Can you describe a launch?
My wife usually raises the cannon barrel, begins the countdown and does the firing. But I set the cannon myself. Because God forbid something happens and somebody else did the calculations—how would they live with themselves? Sitting on the end of that barrel can be pretty nerve-racking.
You have two kids, and twins on the way—do you want them to get into the family business?
I’ll encourage them in any direction they want, but if they choose to be cannonballs, God bless ’em—I’ll do everything I can to help.