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Cannonball Smith helps kids

Twice a day David "Cannonball" Smith flies through the air to make a difference.

His human cannonball show at the Mower County Fair this week is raising donations for Mower County Special Olympics.

"This is by far been the most generous community I've worked with," Smith said.

Smith, 68, likes to tell the story of Rina Malteze, a 21-year-old from Florida whom Smith raised money to help her be able to hear. After eight months Smith called to check up on the progress she was making with her treatment.

"I called right when they tested her for the first time," Smith said. "They knocked and the child turned her head and heard for the first time."


Life as a cannonball

Smith has been a human cannonball for 35 years and performed more than 9,000 shots around the world. He has broken his own world record four times, his most recent record being 201 feet. He has also shot across the border from Mexico to the United States.

"I enjoy working with people, especially little kids," Smith said. "I get to see the good side of people."

Smith has 11 kids, two of which follow in his footsteps as human cannonballs. He builds all their cannons.

"You've got to have enough money to buy the cannon, be smart enough to build it, and dumb enough to get in it," Smith joked. "The rest is a professional secret."

Life out of the cannon

Smith was a math teacher for 12 years at Utah State University and Cascade Union Junior High School. He then went onto be a trapeze catcher and eventually found his niche building cannons and performing in his human cannonball show.

His family lives in Utah and his youngest children are 3 and 4 years old. Smith doesn't have plans to retire any time soon.


"I'll be working forever," he said.

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