Who are the Big Chip Boomers?

It all started in June of 2005 when a few of us realized that we had way too much Class C fireworks to set off in our own backyards to get away with it when Tom Slack Jr. suggested we get together at Big Chip and set them off on a pontoon out on the lake.

That first year, (2005) we were not trained and very unorganized, we had to scramble to open up all of that excessive packaging while we were setting them off. We could hardly keep up the pace when half way through the show our lighter went empty and we had to stop and go get another one from shore. The show was slow going and kind of boring but it was well received by all who watched.

The second year, (2006) we had about $2500 worth of Class C, about $1000 more than the first year. We still had no training and knew very little about fireworks safety but were slightly more organized. The night before we opened up all the packaging and unwrapped all the fuses so we could set them off in a faster order, we even screwed about 20 launch tubes to a board and arranged a bunch of multi-shot cakes and fused them all together for a finale on two row boats. This show went a little better than the first but thank goodness some one had suggested that we wear safety glasses because we had a couple of close calls. We got very lucky that no one got hurt (lucky being the key word ) This show had better reviews than the first but still a little slow going.

That night while talking about how lucky we were that no one got hurt one of us suggested that we get trained and licensed to do a safer and bigger Class B show next year. That’s when we found Hollywood Pyrotechnics Inc.. They took us under their wings, mentored and trained us and helped us get licensed. We invested about $8000 in the equipment and firing system that we would need to put on a professional Class B show in 2007.

The 3rd year, (2007) after coming up with only $900 in donations and the rest out of our own pockets we purchased insurance and got a permit from the county .We spent $4000 on Class B fireworks ( You know, the good stuff!).

We were trained and much better prepared but still had a learning experience on electronic firing of fireworks, about 20% of our shells didn't’t light due to bad wiring. We now have learned to do a better job of wiring. The good news is everything else went off without a problem or incident. Putting together a professional Class B fireworks show proved to be much more work than the Class C shows of the past two years but it was all worth it when we heard hundreds of people clapping and cheering. It was talked about for weeks after the 4th.

Last year, (2008) after investing our own money into some more equipment to improve the show we then came up with around $2500 in donations and once again had to reach deep into our own pockets for insurance, a permit and a little over $6000 in Class B fireworks. We were much better trained and very organized last year. We only had two shells out of 400 that didn't’t light. We were pleased with that result. Keep in mind that the Class C shows of the first two years had no larger than a 2 ½ “ diameter shell and last year we were shooting 4”, 5”, 6” and even a handful of 8” diameter shells. (That’s a big shell!) around $50 - $70 each for an 8”.

We put literally hundreds of hours into last years show but we do it out of the love for fireworks and the joy that it brings to our friends and neighbors of Big Chip. The cost of Class B fireworks has gone up dramatically due to regulations and politics and we cannot continue to do the show alone without broader financial support. So if you have enjoyed the last couple of year’s fireworks shows please contact the lake association to see how you can help keep this tradition going.

Well folks, that’s our story.

The Big Chip Boomers:

Josh Slack
Ryan Slack
Mike Bungert
Aaron Roers
Tommy Slack
Kyle Roers
Darby Sheets
Mike Slack

Eric Wood

John Strom