The plan was this: Jon would be the human cannonball, and Jenny would be the operator, or the “trigger woman,” so they could both perform in the Chinese show.
Now it was just a matter of training. In April 2011, they began meeting with Miser to learn the ins and outs of getting blasted from a homemade cannon. They started off simple with some trampoline exercises, then moved on to free falling off of platforms into a net.
“With the flying trapeze, you learn how to contort your body in the air. With the cannon, you need good body awareness so you don’t land on your head,” Jon said. “So I had the body control.”
After the initial training, it was time to take the leap, and wedge down into the cannon for the first blast off.
“When I slid down in there the first time and the cannon was cocked and loaded, I thought, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’” he said with a laugh. “It was terrifying.”
“I thought, ‘I don’t want him to do this anymore, too,’” added Jenny.
But he’d come too far to turn back, so Jenny pulled the trigger. The shot went off without a hitch.
As often as they could, the couple practiced that act over and over, each time lengthening the distance.
And then it was time to leave for China.
The last day of teaching for Jon and Jenny was on a Friday in June. The next Wednesday, the family was on a plane heading overseas.
A few weeks before, they shipped the cannon over on a tanker. Inside the barrel they packed supplies, like baby diapers and formula.
Jenny said they were dead tired when they arrived that first night after traveling more than 40 hours. They asked their translator for something to eat. He brought back three bottles of water, seven hard-boiled eggs and wished them good night.