Fireworks light up the sky above Howelsen Hill on Friday night. 576 fireworks were scheduled to go off at the show, but technical problems and a few small fires cut the show short.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Fireworks light up the sky above Howelsen Hill on Friday night. 576 fireworks were scheduled to go off at the show, but technical problems and a few small fires cut the show short.

Fires cause finale fizzle

Technical problems, blazes shorten show

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— Technical issues and a few small fires interrupted Friday night's fireworks finale at Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs.

"I'm clearly disappointed," organizer Tim Borden said. "Decent show, and terrible finale."

Borden and his son Scott were excited for Friday's show, billed as Steamboat's largest ever, in which 576 fireworks were scheduled to go off at the same time during the finale.

But after hundreds of pyrotechnics lit up the night skies over Howelsen, a muted, erratic finale left many spectators wondering what cut the display short.

The fireworks are set off electronically. Borden said he is unsure exactly what went wrong Friday, but that when the finale was cued, the fireworks just didn't go off.

Small fires at Mile Run, one of the four launch sites during Friday night's fireworks show, also prevented some fireworks from firing correctly - and the flames themselves set off additional fireworks out of sequence, Borden said. The fireworks at two other launch sites failed to go off at all during the finale, Borden said.

"Most people that know the kind of show we put on realized there was a problem," Borden said. "I pretty much prided myself in having a great finale, and this pretty much was not."

The Bordens, owners and directors of First National Bank of Steamboat Springs, organize and execute the annual fireworks display. Tim Borden holds federal licenses that allow him to purchase and display fireworks. The city allocates $10,000 annually for the show - an amount matched by another $10,000 from five sponsors - but Tim Borden buys more than $100,000 worth of fireworks wholesale from China every few years.

Last week, the Bordens said this year's show would include 3,000 fireworks, 30 percent more than last year. But the increase in size also created logistical problems Friday night.

"We added about 5,000 or 6,000 additional mortars, or fireworks - technically, it creates a lot of difficulties," Borden said.

The fireworks that did not go off will be saved for the next fireworks show for the city.

Brandon Gee contributed to this report.

Comments

zeketaken 6 years, 4 months ago

Still an amazing show! People may have been disappointed with the ending, but, heck, what do we have to complain about? We get a wonderful fireworks display each year and barely any of it comes out of our pockets. Thank you to Tim and Scott, and all the volunteers (Fireman Included!) It may not have been what you guys wanted, but my family loved the show. In my eyes it was still the best I've seen here. The way the sky was lit up from above Howelsen was simply spectacular.

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jaunty 6 years, 4 months ago

The subtle ending of this show reminded me of the early 1970s here in Steamboat Springs. The shows were shorter, the waits between each exploding firework were longer, and we were never quite sure if we had reached the end. Eventually, when we saw the volunteers' trucks driving down Howelsen Hill, we would wander home, quite happy with our hometown 4th of July, including the modest fireworks show.

Thanks for a brief return to the good old days.

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