Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

MC Weekly

July 17, 2013

Up, up and away

Jon and Jenny Cole look back at 2 years in China, where Jon performed as the human cannonball.

(Continued)

Jenny said she’s a third-generation trainer in the Peru circus, and both her parents were professional circus performers. She also received a teaching degree from Purdue University.

But Jon said teaching wasn’t cutting it for him. He had an itch to do something else — something more exciting.

“After that, I kind of got bored with teaching,” he said. “I thought life here was a same-kind-of-thing-everyday routine. It just seemed like I couldn’t do this for 30 years and then retire.”

Then he had an idea. Jon knew Brian Miser, the recently retired human cannonball for Ringling Brothers who lives in Peru. Miser builds and leases cannons to circuses. He has a shop on 2nd Street.

Jon approached Miser about doing a cannonball act, but there wasn’t any work available. A few months later, though, Miser called him with a proposition.

He had just built a cannon for a circus in China. Would Jon want to travel over with it and perform as a human cannonball?

“At the time, we just laughed,” he said. “We never wanted to leave Peru, let alone go to China. But then we looked into it more and started thinking about it. I couldn’t really see myself teaching for the next 30 years, so we started praying about it a lot.”

Jon and Jenny said they are a praying couple, and the more they did it, the more they felt like it was meant to be.

“I knew he was really itching to get back into the circus,” Jenny said. “And circus has always been in my life, so you could probably say I was the perfect match for him. So when someone comes to me and says, ‘Hey, I want to go and be a human cannonball,’ it wasn’t that out of the blue. I was really excited about it.”

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