&Amp;Quot;So You Have A Pyrotechnics Company...&Amp;Quot; - Kitchen Pyrotechnics Blog at Allrecipes.com - 248173

Kitchen Pyrotechnics

"So you have a pyrotechnics company..." 
Aug. 25, 2011 2:12 pm 
Updated: Aug. 29, 2011 3:47 pm
People we meet are always fascinated by what we do for a living.  It seems so mundane to me now but I forget that when Rick and I first met, I thought it was pretty interesting and exciting too.  It does have its awesome moments but I have also seen the difficult work and stress that goes along with it. 
I was recently on the roof of a sports arena at the end of two 12-hour long set up days, mildly hypothermic, coated head to toe in explosive powder, with unresponsive fingers cramped from wiring.  The only thought going through my head the entire time was “There is absolutely nothing glamorous about this!”
It’s not always like that.  But the truth is that since then, I’ve managed to make myself scarce whenever a show with that much potential for misery has come along.
Rick has been doing this for 20 years.  He was a lieutenant firefighter and started working for another pyrotechnician on his off days.  Eventually, Rick took over and found himself torn between the fire service, which he loved, and the pyrotechnic work, which was taking off by leaps and bounds.
He obviously choose the pyrotechnics and retired from the fire department.  He has been doing this full-time for about 12 years and is one of the few pyrotechnicians who makes his living solely from his work.
Most people assume we do the big Fourth of July type outdoor shows and we do a little of that.  But it’s not our main focus.  We specialize in the proximate, or indoor, fireworks.
It’s amazing the array of work he has done.  Weddings, big corporate meetings, the Olympics, the Millenium Ball Drop in Times Square, multiple casino openings in Las Vegas, movie and television special effects, music videos, private parties for celebrities, every Robbie Knievel jump, and shows in Dubai and Shanghai.  He’s done pyro for the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB, lacrosse, hockey, and indoor arena football leagues.  And of course the Lingerie Football League.  For some reason, we never have a problem finding male volunteers to help with those!
But the bread and butter of our company is providing the local license for almost every tour coming through Washington State.  Concerts, the circus, WWE, Disney on Ice, PBR, and motocross.  There’s more, those are just the recent ones coming to mind.
These tours come through with their own pyrotechnic crew who do all the difficult work of setting up and firing the pyrotechnics.  In Washington State, a state licensed pyrotechnician must “oversee” the show and make sure all local safety codes are met.  We basically watch the set up and the show from backstage.  We often obtain the permits, coordinate with the local fire marshal, and provide any gases needed for the show.
It can be fun.  I love taking the kids with me and seeing new people, places, and events all over the country.  But the schedule can be grueling too.  Rick works incredibly hard.  Plus there is a mountain of paperwork and training to be kept up on for the local, country, and state authorities as well as the ATF.
We’ve had lots of adventures.  It’s definitely not a boring job!  So I’ll be sharing some of our experiences as we go along.  And what does this have to do with food?  Two things:  local cuisines sampled during our travels and tour catering.  It’s amazing!
Aug. 25, 2011 4:46 pm
What a fun blog to read! I look forward to your culinary adventures as you travel!
Aug. 25, 2011 5:12 pm
I have to agree with grannygigi...this WAS fun to read! It's funny you mention Robbie Knieval...he's one of my husband's friends. And I think it's absolutely fascinating what you guys do! And, I can't wait to read more of your blogs, Michelle...if you get down south here by Longview or Vancouver, let me know...would love to have coffee or something with you!
Aug. 25, 2011 5:29 pm
Very cool, I have a friend who does Pyro for rock bands. Occasionally he'll do a tour but the glamour has long run out of that. On the other side of the coin, my step son will soon graduate from Fire school! Best of luck to you and thanks for the blog!
Aug. 25, 2011 5:30 pm
Oh shoot, what I initially mean't to say, your husband is the ideal guy to do that sort of thing isn't he? A perfect match. Its like when I sell a kitchen, I use the fact that I'm an accomplished cook to sell my designs.
Aug. 25, 2011 6:27 pm
Witchywoman, how funny about R. Knievel! Rick has been doing his pyro for 7 or 8 yrs now. They have gotten to be friends and talk regularly on the phone. Doing a jump for him in CA in Oct. Small world! We get down your way often. Just at Sleep Country Amphitheater a couple of times in the last few weeks for Motley Crue/Poison & for Toby Keith. I will definately let you know when I get down there next. Coffee would be fun!
Aug. 25, 2011 6:30 pm
Thanks, grannygigi! I always try to experience the local fare when traveling. Had some great experiences...and some not so great, too!
Aug. 25, 2011 6:35 pm
Raedwolf, Rick went out on tour with KISS for 10 days last year (emergency fill-in) and that was a TOUGH gig. I don't know how those tour guys do it. Just hearing their stories of tour life makes me cringe. Rick's son is about a year away from graduating with a fire science degree. Congrats to your step son! It can be a great job. I did it for a short time back in the early 90's. It was a great life experience but obviously not my calling.
Aug. 25, 2011 6:51 pm
Your Rick reminds me of a friend's son, who went from a teenager who liked to play with matches to a Navy SEAL. Asked why, he'd say "Because I get paid to blow s**t up!" True. Eventually started his own military gear outfit (TAG) and some Japanese doll company made an action toy of him. Really!
Aug. 25, 2011 10:30 pm
Wow, lucylove, your friend's son sounds like must have lead an exciting life. I would love to read about his experiences, although I'm sure in his line of work, there's a lot that he can't talk about. And now that you mention it, depending on the company, Rick will sometimes answer the questions of "So what do you do?" with "I blow s**t up!" Must be a guy thing...
Aug. 26, 2011 7:49 pm
Hi Michelle. Cool blog. Thanks for sharing. I am going to check and see if you have any other blogs, would be interested in reading about the local cuisines you have sampled!
Aug. 26, 2011 8:38 pm
Hi DeniseY, thanks for the nice compliment. I don't have any blogs posted yet but have them brewing in my mind. Will be posting them slowly as time goes on...
Aug. 29, 2011 8:49 am
I know a man from Oly that workes pyrothechs seasonally and his name is Rick too. We always tease him (lovingly) because he has a stutter that he constantly works on. We tell him that if he gave up the explosives gig, the stutter would probably disappear:)
Aug. 29, 2011 3:47 pm
That's cute, mauigirl! My Rick thinks he might know who that Rick is. Was his dad a pyro too? If so, his dad was one of my Rick's mentors. The pyro world is a small world indeed!
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Michelle Smith Wuscher

Home Town
Trout Lake, Washington, USA
Living In
Gig Harbor, Washington, USA

Member Since
Jan. 2007

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Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean, Healthy, Kids, Quick & Easy, Gourmet

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About Me
I am the mother of 3 - 22 & 19 yr old boys and a 10 yr old girl. We have a pyrotechnics company and get to experience fun events all over the state and country. After a lifetime of rarely leaving Washington State, I love experiencing new foods during our travels.
My favorite things to cook
Just about anything except baking. I like to "wing it" when I am cooking which isn't good for baking. And it's also a problem when everyone loves something I made. It can be difficult to come up with the same thing twice. We dine at restaurants the majority of the time but I love being able to make a home-cooked meal for my family.
My cooking tragedies
When I was about 10, my sister and I tried to make a recipe for Shepherds Pie that used instant mashed potatoes but we neglected to prepare the potatoes before adding them on top. It turned out glue-like but the adults did a great job of eating some of it and telling us it was "just fine". But there was a lot of water consummed with that meal!!!
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