José Bermudez flies through the air after being shot out of a cannon at the Cole Brothers Circus at Frank Brown Park in Panama City Beach Saturday.
Andrew P Johnson
By ZACK McDONALD
October 27, 2012
PANAMA CITY BEACH — Some people go to the circus for thrilling acrobatics. Some people go for clowns or animal shows.
And some go to get paid to be shot from a cannon.
“It’s like I’m Superman,” said Jose Bermudez, a native of Ecuador. “Except I only fly in the air for a few seconds then boom, I hit the net.”
In those few seconds, Bermudez travels about 75 feet at around 60 miles per hour.
“It’s amazing to see the audience as we fly through the air,” Bermudez said.
Bermudez was flying high during the Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars at Frank Brown Park Saturday afternoon. Attractions ranged from aerial ballet to royal Bengal tigers to Thunder Dome, a motorcycle chamber of danger.
Although Bermudez preferred not to disclose the amount of his salary, he said the gig has been full-time since he began, and Bermudez was born in the circus.
“My dad was a clown for 45 years in South America,” Bermudez said. “I was born into the circus, so I follow my family — three generations in the circus.”
Bermudez said he has been on tour with Cole Bros. since 1997 and started the cannon act six years ago. He was a clown before his predecessor retired.
Bermudez said, “he just came to me one day and said ‘do you want to do the cannon?’ ”
He thought it was odd to take the leap from clown to acrobat but agreed.
“I said ‘wow, yeah, I want to do it,’ ” Bermudez said.
He now lives in Texas and tours nine months of the year as part clown, part human cannonball.
The circus continues through Sunday. Showtimes are 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Admission is $16.
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