SHERIDAN – Local resident Bruce Burns has been helping delight the July 4th crowd for more than three decades. Even now, he’s not ready to reveal his secrets as organizers prepare for the 33rd annual Independence Day fireworks on Sunday evening at the Big Horn Equestrian Center.
The gates will open at 5:00 p.m. and the fireworks are scheduled for 10:00 p.m. at the BHEC on Bird Farm Road. The suggested donation is $ 10 per vehicle.
“It’s an event,” said Sheila Blackburn, BHEC Executive Director.
In addition to the fireworks, Blackburn said the evening will include various vendors, food and even ax throwing, as well as live music from the band Sidetrack. The bar in the BHEC is also open from the age of 21.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she added.
The highlight of the evening is of course the fireworks.
According to Burns, the fireworks are actually four smaller displays choreographed by four different people from across the county, each choosing music that is broadcast simultaneously to the thousands of viewers on 94.9 FM.
The music during the show ranges from The Village People to Beethoven, with a little Tom Sawyer as an encore.
Burns, a member of Pyrotechnics International, said he took part in the local fireworks show for a simple reason. He just likes fireworks.
“And my last name is Burns,” he said jokingly. “This has been my hobby for 35 years. … To be honest, I have a hobby that people like. “
There have been many changes over the years. When he started, Burns said the display was basically setting off the fireworks “out of an oversized sandpit.”
Over the years it has evolved from manually firing the grenades to using an electronic system to today’s digital technology which, once set up, makes it so easy for even the volunteers to watch alongside the display.
“When we start, it’s basically a push of a button,” he said. “The music is transmitted to the vehicles simultaneously. It is such a refined fireworks display as you will find anywhere in the world. “
Aside from the technological changes, Burns doesn’t like to discuss how the display works behind the scenes.
“I’m proud of the show, but I don’t want to give anything away,” he said, adding that he prefers to amuse those present.
And if you enjoy this year’s show, plan on coming back. Burns and Co. are always trying to improve the show.
“Otherwise there is no point doing it,” he said. “We’ll look at that later. Our concern during the show is to make sure that everything is fired and that it went the way we wanted it to. “
While the show is meant to be part of the July 4th celebrations, there are a few rules in place. On the night of the show, the BHEC is not allowed to operate drones and “absolutely no (consumer) fireworks” are allowed on site, added Burns. The reason for the rules is simple: safety.
“You just don’t shoot fireworks in a large crowd,” he said. “You don’t know when something could start or where it could come down.”
Burns has one more tip: get to the BHEC early because the grounds will be crowded with vehicles and spectators.
“Basically, people have about five hours to hang out in the grass,” he said. “They bring their own grills. They bring their own tents. It’s a beautiful day and evening on the grass. After all, they are polo fields. “
The proceeds from the fireworks will go to the Big Horn Lions Club Scholarship Fund.
“It’s our only fundraiser this year,” said Burns, a member of the local Lions club chapter.
He added that dozens of Lions club members volunteered their time over the holiday weekend to set up the show, assist with the performance, and clean up the grounds to make the event possible.
For more information about the July 4th event, call the BHEC at 307-673-0454.