Rural Missouri - July 2011 - (Page 18)

Pyrotechnic Pro Passion for pyrotechnics leads to explosive business for A myriad of fireworks fill the night sky during a display by Premier Pyrotechnics. The Richland-based company specializes in the setup of indoor and outdoor fireworks displays. If it is a manually fired show, the shells will be plying them to a music soundtrack. organized for the evening’s shoot. If it is an elec“Our pyromusicals are a multi-sensory experitronically fired show, the shells will be dropped ence that probably only a few people see once a inside the tubes and rigged with electronic matches. year,” says the Laclede Electric Cooperative member. ummertime for kids means time off from The matches will then be hooked up to a computer “A pyromusical will often include fireworks, lasers, school, a day at the pool, vacations and as system to be fired remotely by a technician stationed different lighting devices and even fog injected with many outdoor activities as possible. Some try away from the racks. smells that could relate to what you are seeing on a to make a few bucks mowing lawns or selling The technician then works on choreographvideo screen.” lemonade. But for Matt Sutcliffe, a business venture ing the show. This step is often the hardest as the Some of the regular shows the company choreoat age 13 led to a career lighting up the night sky shooter wants to keep the crowd entertained by graphs include Jefferson City’s Salute to America with impressive displays of fireworks. firing shells synchronized to a song or special effects. on the Fourth of July, Columbia’s New Year’s Eve “I convinced my mom and dad to partner with At every step in the setup process, safety is the No. 1 celebration, the Warren County Fair and several me and buy some fireworks to sell out concern. other community shows in St. Louis, Kansas of a tent we set up in the front yard,” “When we actually start a display, I personally City and across the state. says Matt. “I can only imagine that at have a checklist going through my head all the Before the Branson theme park Celebrafirst my parents were a little apprehentime,” says Matt. “The biggest concern is proper tion City closed, Premier helped with sive about it.” Richland crowd distance and proper equipment setup. You nightly, 22-minute shows that involved After a few years selling fireworks, Matt • need to make sure everyone goes home unharmed lasers, fire, sound, extra lighting, water was making enough to shoot off fireworks and has a good time.” effects and fireworks. displays at his parent’s resort on holidays. Safety is something Matt can’t stress enough, Technicians start developing a He got his first big break putting on shows which is why he offers shooter’s schools in three plan weeks, if not months, before an at I-44 Speedway in Lebanon. states to instruct licensed shooters on proper setups event begins. The show’s location is mapped out and “I was told by the track owner Bill Willard that and precautions to ensure a safe and successful arrangements are made with local fire departments my show was the best he had ever spent money on,” show. The 12-hour class is composed of instructo determine the safest place for spectators. Closer says Matt. “And you know, to be given a chunk of tion for three different experience levels that run to the show date, the product used for the show is cash at 20 years old and be doing what you love, simultaneously throughout the day. Everyone starts selected and loaded for delivery to the event site. man that’s such a high. That was really the start of off the morning with a rundown of the basic rules On the show date, technicians typically will show me being in the fireworks business.” and safety regulations in the National Fire Protecup at first light to start setting up racks. Each rack is Two decades later, Matt is the president and CEO tion Association’s code for fireworks displays, which made up of several tubes, which act like gun barof Premier Pyrotechnics, one of the nation’s leading includes safety distances, setup configurations and rels, to ensure the fired shell will shoot skyward and fireworks display companies. Matt started his compermits needed for shooters. away from spectators. pany in 1999 in a remote area of Laclede County “These classes are great because they south of Richland with three other teach you how to be safe,” says D.J. friends who shared the same passion Hall, owner of Sky Candy, a Kansas for entertaining people by blowing City-based fireworks display company. things up. “Since Missouri requires you to have Premier doesn’t make the fireworks 12 hours of training every three years themselves. Instead, they specialize in to maintain your operator’s license, it’s providing indoor and outdoor firegreat to get that done in one day and works displays for festivals, weddings learn from others in the business.” and any other event looking to add For those new to the field, the some nighttime magic to its festivities. afternoon session is a detailed lesWith satellite offices in Minnesota, son in setting up the first show, while South Dakota, West Virginia, Alabama, the more experienced shooters head Florida and Arkansas, a show anywhere outside to set up an electronically in the eastern United States is likely fired show. They learn more about the to be choreographed by this Missouri product they are firing, the equipment company. Premier does sell fireworks to they are using and the choreography the public, but only to those who are of fireworks and music associated with licensed pyrotechnicians. a show. “We will have a client say they have “For me, it’s all about the technola budget and a site where they want ogy behind a show,” says D.J. “There fireworks to be shot,” says Matt. “We is nothing like feeling the concussion then put together and choreograph the of the shell blasting off just a few feet best show that we can.” from you, but I love organizing the Beyond the ordinary show, Premier Premier Pyrotechnics president and CEO Matt Sutcliffe poses with a 12-inch shell at technical aspects of a display and the also offers “pyromusicals,” which his company’s storage facility in Richland. “We are anonymous rock stars,” says Matt, meticulous nature of wiring that’s involve taking special effects and apreferring to himself and other pyrotechnicians at Premier who put on fireworks shows. by Kyle Spradley S 18 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - July 2011

Rural Missouri - July 2011
Table of Contents
Raising the Great White Arabia
Now showing: rural broadband
Missouri snapshots
Out of the Way Eats
The changing tide
Pyrotechnic pros
Hearth and Home
News Briefs
Sting of relief
Around Missouri

Rural Missouri - July 2011