Advertisement

‘So we’ve got a crazy cannon shot.’ Human cannonball soars at Spring Fling in Columbus

As a strong storm front slowly approached from the west, “The Bullet” announced his next flight needed to be moved up.

David Smith Jr., a second generation human cannonball known as “The Bullet,” was prepping for his second show Tuesday night at the Spring Fling carnival at the Columbus Civic Center in Columbus. Spring Fling continues through April 7.

“We would like to do this without a crazy, crazy gust of wind and any rain that might pop up,” Smith told the crowd.

David Smith Jr., a second generation human cannonball known as “The Bullet,” prepares for his second flight Tuesday night at the Spring Fling carnival at the Columbus Civic Center in Columbus. 04/02/2024 Mike Haskey/mhaskey@ledger-enquirer.com
David Smith Jr., a second generation human cannonball known as “The Bullet,” prepares for his second flight Tuesday night at the Spring Fling carnival at the Columbus Civic Center in Columbus. 04/02/2024 Mike Haskey/mhaskey@ledger-enquirer.com

The second would be the same as the first - thread the needle through the cables underneath the heavy steel of the Mantis ride, knock out a quick somersault, and land in a suspended red net on the other side.

The flight is about 50 yards long. Smith said he accelerates from 0 to 74 mph, subjecting him to a 10 G-Force when he’s fired from the cannon.

Minutes after his announcement he was two for two for the evening, and celebrating as he left the net to greet fans who ran to meet him.

“I’ve learned to love my audience and appreciate them so much because they’ve been kind to me for all the years,” Smith said, “Every time I get shot out of a cannon, without fail, I get a hug, and a high five, and big smiles from everybody at the least.

David Smith Jr., a second generation human cannonball known as “The Bullet,” poses for a photograph with a young fanTuesday night at the Spring Fling carnival at the Columbus Civic Center in Columbus. 04/02/2024 Mike Haskey/mhaskey@ledger-enquirer.com
David Smith Jr., a second generation human cannonball known as “The Bullet,” poses for a photograph with a young fanTuesday night at the Spring Fling carnival at the Columbus Civic Center in Columbus. 04/02/2024 Mike Haskey/mhaskey@ledger-enquirer.com

Smith said he’s been a professional human cannonball for 28 years, logging over 10,000 shows in 15 countries around the world.

He said the first human cannon built in his family was designed and handcrafted by his father David Smith Sr., a human cannonball for more than 40 years. Both Smith and his father were inducted into the Circus Ring of Fame earlier this year.

“I’m following in his flight path,” Smith said, “He’s somewhat of a legend in the industry, bringing home Guinness World Records to the family when I was just a little kid”

Smith has also set several Guinness World Records.

David Smith Jr., a second generation human cannonball known as “The Bullet,” is shot from a cannon Tuesday night at the Spring Fling carnival at the Columbus Civic Center in Columbus. 04/02/2024 Mike Haskey/mhaskey@ledger-enquirer.com
David Smith Jr., a second generation human cannonball known as “The Bullet,” is shot from a cannon Tuesday night at the Spring Fling carnival at the Columbus Civic Center in Columbus. 04/02/2024 Mike Haskey/mhaskey@ledger-enquirer.com

He set a record on March 13, 2018 for the farthest distance for a human fired from a cannon when he flew 195 ft. on behalf of Xbox and Sea of Thieves at Raymond James Stadium, in Tampa, Fl. This broke his previous record of 193 ft. 8.8 in.

Smith also set a Guinness record for the greatest height achieved by a human cannonball on Nov. 26, 2019, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia by hitting the 89 foot mark.

Smith, a father of four, says his children are important to the show’s success. His son Maverick is inside the cannon, operating the trigger. He describes daughter Mackenzie as his “number one, get it done roadie.”

“My 17-year-old twins are running the show, doing all the heavy lifting,” he said, “ All I’m doing is entertaining you, bringing my expertise and actually getting a shot out of the cannon.”

David Smith Jr., a second generation human cannonball known as “The Bullet,” describes daughter Mackenzie as his “number one, get it done roadie.” 04/02/2024 Mike Haskey/mhaskey@ledger-enquirer.com
David Smith Jr., a second generation human cannonball known as “The Bullet,” describes daughter Mackenzie as his “number one, get it done roadie.” 04/02/2024 Mike Haskey/mhaskey@ledger-enquirer.com

Smith’s performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m through Thursday; 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday; 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m., and 9 p.m. on Saturday, and lastly at 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.