• The Founder

  • Just like most children I grew up with the love of fireworks captivated by the beauty and magic and smell of a fireworks display.  I know exactly when I caught the fireworks bug and knew that I wanted fireworks to be a part on my life.  

    I was about 8 years old and lived in St. Joseph Missouri. It was a summer like all others and our family was going to see the fireworks display at the Moila Country Club.  The Shriner’s put on the best display in the city.  Thousands of people from all around would come to see this magnificent display.  We would usually find an outlying parking lot or a big hill to lay out a blanket. We would then watch the fireworks in this area to avoid traffic, but this year was different my parents decided to park at the Country Club.   As children my sister and I were very excited and could not believe the special treat of going into the Country Club, to watch the display. We preceded to go in and laid out our blankets, on the slopping lawn. At the bottom of the hill you could see where the pyrotechnicians were working. They were just finishing setting up the fireworks.  I was like a child going to see Santa’s Winter Wonderland for the first time and getting to ride on the train around the Elf’s snowy village. 

    The other kids were running around playing tag or even throwing a frisbee. But not me, I had my eyes glued to what the workers were doing.  I wanted so badly to go down and get closer to see what they were doing. As the sun began to set, the parents started to round up their children. They brought them back, to where they were setting, so they could watch the display.  Just as the sun set, the pyrotechnicians lit their torches. You could see the bright red light and the silhouette of the pyrotechnicians walking around in the white smoke.  It was SHOWTIME!!! As I seen one of the workers walk up to one of the mortars, he then lit the first shell, and it quickly launched. In Grand Moila style, the first shell was a salute. As it exploded it got everyone's attention, with a thunderous report, you could feel it in your chest.  It was incredible, I had never been that close to a fireworks display before. As the show continued you could see the workers running around, some were reloading the mortars and others were lighting the fireworks. When a shell was launched from the mortar, you could feel it thump the ground and see the time fuse burning. With excitement and anticipation, your eyes would follow the shell on its way up and then watch the shell explode into its beautiful colors and effects.  

    We were setting so close, that one of the shell casings that fell from the sky during the show landed about 30 feet away from where we were setting. I jumped up and ran over to it.  It was still smoldering, and it had a wonderful smell of black powder and sulfur.  

    My mother yelled at me, to put it down and to get back over where we were setting.  Like most kids, I did not listen.  I brought the canister back to where I was sitting. I held the smoldering smoky casing, that smelled so good.  It was the ultimate souvenir from an incredible firework show.  From that day, I was hooked and had a desire to find out more about the magic and the mystery behind the profession of pyrotechnics. From then on, I was a parent’s pyro nightmare, every time the 4th came around. 

    I have always been able to see the magic and beauty in fireworks and still they can bring out the kid in all of us bringing us back to a simpler time of friends and family, along with celebrations and summer picnics and grandma's potato salad.