Behind the Scenes: Shadowing a Professional Pyrotechnics Crew in Iowa

Jun 29, 2017

Around the 4th of July in Iowa, more than 4,000 Iowans are employed as pyrotechnicians setting up, wiring, and tearing down fireworks displays.

J and M Displays, a company based in Yarmouth, sells many of the professional fireworks that are lit across the state. Monte Whitlock leads a professional pyrotechnics crew for J and M Displays and sells fireworks. He urges people to keep in mind the folks who are lighting the displays on the 4th.

"If you're at a show, really get loud. Let the pyrotechs hear it," he says. "They spend a lot of time away from their families setting up these shows. Let them hear you." 

Whitlock's crew consists of Jessica Burgin, Chad Andersen and Doug Bedel. They'll all be working at the Iowa City fireworks display on the 4th. During this River to River segment, producer Lindsey Moon shadows them as they set up and fire a display at a Cedar Rapids Kernels baseball game.