In between the excitement and the races this Memorial Day at Canterbury Park, many agree one man took the biggest gamble of all.
David "The Bullet" Smith Jr. is a second-generation human cannonball who came to fly through the drizzly skies the Shakopee track on Monday.
"It's windy. It's rainy. There are some elements involved," said Paul Evans. "We'll see if he still goes through with it. He looks pretty serious, though."
"The Bullet" holds Guinness World Records for both the longest and highest distances a human has been shot out of a cannon. In March of 2011, he established the record for distance at 193 feet, 8.8 inches in Milan, Italy. At 77-and one-half feet, he set the record for height in North Carolina in October 2011.
"My father raised 11 children as a human cannonball," Smith told FOX 9 News. "That's what it was: A pack of kids in a homemade RV going down the road, shooting dad out of a cannon."
On Memorial Day, just after the fifth horse race, Smith and his crew quickly set up his death-defying act in front of a nervous and anxious crowd.
"We haven't shot into this net. We haven't set up; we haven't tested anything," Smith admitted. "This is just going on faith and mathematics and experience."
Smith has been fired out of the cannon more than 5,000 times in his 16-year career, but he told FOX 9 News he still gets a little scared before each one. Rain added extra concern because moisture can cause his net to stretch.
"I want to do well here. I've got a lot of family here. All 4 of my kids are here," said Smith. "Of course, I don't want anything to go wrong in front of them especially. You know, it's just the nerves of show business."
As the creator of the 34-foot custom cannon, Smith didn't disappoint. He shot himself 165 feet down the track, 70 feet in the air and walked away without any injuries -- just shy of his record-setting shoots. From their faces and audible gasps, it was clear the crowd loved it.
"It's always a rush," he said. "It's definitely a rush."
Smith explained that he travels from 0 to 60 mph within a fifth of a second, and he has suffered broken legs, ribs, and had other injuries in the past -- but not this time.
"I'm happy it's all over and it went as well as it could have gone," said Smith.
"The Bullet" travels the globe performing his act about 300 times each year. He's performed before royalty and has been featured on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "America's Got Talent" and the Discovery Channel.
Smith says his next goal is to fly from one building to another, and he's still looking for the safest location possible.
205 N. Michigan Avenue
Didn't find what you were looking for?