Linda and Jim Adams, of Denver, watch the fireworks show on July 4, 2011, on Howelsen Hill. Steamboat Springs Fire Chief Mel Stewart said Monday morning that the city’s Fourth of July fireworks show is being canceled because of the high fire danger.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Linda and Jim Adams, of Denver, watch the fireworks show on July 4, 2011, on Howelsen Hill. Steamboat Springs Fire Chief Mel Stewart said Monday morning that the city’s Fourth of July fireworks show is being canceled because of the high fire danger.

Steamboat's fireworks show goes off seamlessly

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Jeff shot this photo of Sunday's fireworks in Steamboat Springs by using long exposure and moving the camera.

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John E. Poplin/Courtesy

Steamboat Today reader John E. Poplin sent in this photo of Sunday’s fireworks.

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John E. Poplin/Courtesy

This year's fireworks show in downtown Steamboat Springs was expected to be one of the biggest ever.

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John E. Poplin/Courtesy

Fireworks were launched from several sites Sunday at Howelsen Hill.

— Crowds packed Yampa Street, Howelsen Hill and the bars lining the Yampa River on Sunday night, as Steamboat Springs residents and visitors prepared for one of the biggest Fourth of July fireworks shows yet.

The display was the most successful so far, organizer Tim Borden said Monday.

He and his son, Scott, put hours’ worth of effort, along with money, into the Steamboat show each year. Although this year’s Fourth of July performance was damp because of evening rains, the vast majority of the fireworks did what they were supposed to do, Tim Borden said.

About 98 percent of the fireworks soared and burst from the five Howelsen Hill sites without a hitch.

“It’s a shame that more people weren’t outside because of the weather, but we thought that everything from a technical viewpoint went as well as it could have gone,” he said.

Tim Borden said he and his son have attended courses about how to put on fireworks shows. At those, they’ve learned that a 70 percent success rate is acceptable, and 90 percent is ideal.

All but 15 of the 8,000 fireworks exploded as planned, Tim Borden said, which amounts to the 98 percent success rate.

He attributed that largely to an experienced crew. Volunteers helped put on the show, and most have helped in the past, he said.

“We had 17 guys up there that all donate their time — it takes the full day — and it’s really a credit to them,” Borden said. “It’s having these guys that have come back every year.”

Crews started work at 6:30 a.m. Sunday and finished setup at about 6:30 p.m., he said.

Organizers also try to make sure the show starts on time because small children are out to watch, the rodeo ends early to accommodate the big bangs, and bar patrons clamor to watch the event.

That part also went smoothly. The show started on time at 9:30 p.m. and lasted 18 minutes and 45 seconds, Borden said, ending with the explosion of a massive 16-inch shell.

“We just don’t believe we can do much better,” he said.

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