By Tami Stark, Boomtown Committee

After a meeting between administration at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Iowa Pyrotechnic President, Chuck Yedlik and Past President/Lifetime Grand Master Champion, Scott Anderson, it has been determined that for the first time in 11 years, a very large and key portion of Boomtown may not be able to take place.

The event that allows members of the IPA to shoot their personal shells, some as large as 12” in diameter may need to be scratched from this year’s event. For 10 years, the IPA has subleased 1 acre from St. Mary’s Church, as these shells must be a certain distance from the crowd gathering, and they must be inside a tube that is submerged into the ground at various depths according to the size of the shell. These specifics are why the acre has been sublet for 10 years: it meets all of the IPA safety requirements. Unfortunately, due to insurance and liability concern on behalf of St. Mary’s, the IPA is no longer able to sublease the acre. The portion of the show impacted includes the National award winning shells by Lifetime Grand Master, Scott Anderson and former Grand Master, Jim Breitbach…as well as all of the other champion shell builders of the IPA. Moving this portion of the show closer to the infield and grandstands is simply not an option.

Perhaps the most disappointing part about losing the ‘individual shoot’, said IPA President Yedlik and IPA Membership Services Director, Dianne Hautschild, is that Boomtown Vinton is the ONLY place where people can see the grandeur of the 8”, 10” and 12” shells, unless they attend an International show. Boomtown has the exclusive privilege of the homemade crafts and talents of the IPA membership…any other shows you see in Iowa are 100% commercial product. It simply does not exist anywhere else.

As other options and possibilities are being vigorously explored, rest assured that Boomtown will still entertain! Our food vendors and band and inflatables will still be hopping, right up until the 2017 Junior Pyrotechnic show and the Main show. These will go on as planned. It is only unless the IPA has a small plot of land to use for their individual shells that is far enough from the infield to meet established safety requirements, that first part of Boomtown will be no more.

This change will impact both the IPA and the Boomtown event because the main draw of Boomtown for Pyrotechnic club members has always been their ability to shoot the shells that they’ve been building over the year. Many states do not allow this, and those members have always flocked to Vinton for this special opportunity..

While key members of the IPA are indeed working towards finding a small piece of ground suitable for use in 2017, they are also letting their membership know that as of now, there will not be a show for the open shoot, and in conjunction with this announcement to the membership, the IPA will also begin actively seeking another venue that can accommodate the Pyrotechnic membership and their annual gathering, which is what brought them all to Vinton 11 years ago.

Please follow your local media closely for further developments to this story. We will make every effort to share information just as soon as there is something to share.

Should you have any questions, please call 319-558-7476.

Lifetime Grand Master Anderson with an award winning shell he built.