Contact Us

Laying the Groundwork Before Lighting up the Sky; Crew Assembles Fireworks Array [VIDEO]

Reds and whites, blues and greens, brilliance and booms will delight the eyes and assault the ears at the Casper Events Center and beyond at 10 p.m. Friday, July 4.

Those patriotic appeals to the senses, however, would never arise without James Turman and his mostly family crew working in the dusty prairie north of the Events Center on Thursday morning.

Turman, his wife Sara, their kids and a couple of friends shlepped mortar tubes already lashed into racks, putting five racks into a bank, stacking banks next to each other, and securing the aggregations with metal poles.

The tubes come in 3-inch, 4-inch, 5-inch, 6-inch and 8-inch diameters, Turman said. Besides the impressiveness of the incendiary, the diameter indicates the height to which the mortar will ascend.

While the racks are lined with varying sized tubes, they all end with 3-inch tubes that launch mortars with “salutes,” which is fireworks speak for “really loud boom” to let those pushing the buttons on the control board know that that rack is done, he said.

The 8-inch mortars have their own tasty description.

They’re called “cakes,” which mean multi-shot repeaters that send up huge walls of shimmering light, Turman said.  “We set those off throughout the show.”

Friday morning, Turman and his crew will return to load the mortars.

His crew, the local division of the Helena, Mont.-based Big Sky Fireworks, will set squib wires, or small explosive detonators, to tie into the ignitors connected to the tubes. The wiring will run through  the middle of the racks, Turman said.

They will run the main cables at least 100 feet to a safe zone where his crew has a firing box with 12 channels with 12 cues per channel, he said. “So basically with 144 cues we can fire when we need at the right time, and it sets a rack off.”

With the wiring done, they will run a shunt to divert any static electricity, Turman said. “From there, we just run a continuity test to make sure everything’s working, and if it is we’re good to go.”

They also will put tape across the top of the tubes for a post-show inspection, Turman said.

“If the tape’s busted, we know that shell’s gone,” he said. “If it’s not busted, we know we have a little problem and make sure to stay clear of that tube.”

More from 107.9 The River

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://theriver1079.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on 107.9 The River quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on 107.9 The River quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!