CANADIAN NATIONAL EXHIBITION Duelling brother-sister human cannonballs David Smith Jr. and Jennifer Schneider highlight this year's CNE with two to three shows daily. If watching these human projectiles isn't enough, there's also the usual array of acrobats, agricultural exhibits and air show, in addition to the Ferris wheels and Tilt-a-Whirls. Aug 17 to Sept 3. $10-$14. CNE grounds, Exhibition Place. www.theex.com. Rating: NNNNN
JENNIFER, HOW DID YOU GET STARTED CANNONBALLING? My father is the king of the human cannonballs. I bothered him for the longest time, so he finally let me do a practice shot, which was puny, just 35 feet or so, and it scared the daylights out of me. I never wanted to do it again. But then, after the rush ended, I wanted to get right back in the barrel and do it again.
DAVID, WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE? The show itself lasts about 4.5 seconds, and we go from zero to 50 miles per hour in a fifth of a second, pulling nine Gs, which is more than a jet plane being launched off an aircraft carrier. And we fly 150 feet, reaching a height of 75 or 80 feet before it's time to think about landing in the net. And I know when I hit the net it's going to hurt like heck.
JENNIFER, ARE YOU EVER SCARED? Every time I'm sitting on the end of the barrel waiting to go. It's exhilarating and terrifying. Everyone should have the chance to do it at least once. It's like jumping out of an airplane.
DAVID, DO YOU THINK OF YOURSELF AS A RISK TAKER? I've got a family now, and kids, so I don't feel any need to take risks. Of course, I'll hang off the side of the CN Tower by a rope as long as I've tied the knot.
DAVID, EVER THINK OF GETTING A 9-TO-5 JOB? All the time and never. I love what I do and I hate it at the same time. I love the adrenaline rush, the way it keeps the mind and body sharp I never feel more together physically and mentally than when I'm being shot out of the cannon. And when my job is done each day and I've landed in the net, people applaud.
JENNIFER, WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX? You're very high for a while afterward so you need to let yourself come down. I like to go mountain biking. Toronto is the most beautiful city ever, and there's some great biking here. I've done about 30 miles since we got here three days ago, it's just incredible.