Fireworks organizer apologizes for show mysteriously cut short
Janice Ayres was sure it was going to be the best fireworks show Carson City had ever seen. She was settled in a lawn chair at the home of friends in Ash Canyon.
But before long she was in tears, trying to figure out why Wednesday night’s show was a paltry 11 minutes long and without the grand finale she’d contracted for.
“Everybody kept waiting and waiting, and nothing,” she said.
“I apologize to everyone,” said Ayres, the executive director of RSVP. The organization has put on the show each of the past 16 years for the community and as a way to raise money to help seniors remain in their homes. And this year, because of generous donors, it was going to be something special, nearly a half-hour of loud, colorful and patriotic explosions.
“It was 11 minutes and there was no finale,” she said. “We got some big shells, but it wasn’t the show we contracted for.”
So what went wrong? Ayres still isn’t sure.
I talked to Josh Jorgensen, the sales representative for Lantis Fireworks, which put on the show. He was also upset when he learned what had happened. In fact, the company fired the “pyro,” or technician, who put on the Carson City show and is promising to make good on the problem. Whether that’s a credit or another show remains to be seen.
“We take full responsibility,” Jorgensen said. “We’ll make it up to RSVP and Carson City.”
There may still be a riddle to solve. Jorgensen said the pyro fired off all the shells the city was contracted for, but he just fired them too fast, in a span of 11 minutes rather than 25.
But Ayres said it seemed as though very few shells were fired.
“They didn’t fire all the shells,” she said. “I’ve got all kinds of witnesses, including myself.”
Ayres figures there were about 20,000 people gathered to watch the show, from all over the region.
“I was embarrassed,” she said.
She hopes those folks will have a short memory and return for next year’s show.
While she’s given Lantis a deposit of $6,000 for the $18,000 show, Ayres has vowed not to pay another dime. She also wants a letter of apology, which Jorgensen says is forthcoming.
And she vows there won’t be a repeat next year. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll steer away from Lantis, which she said has a very good reputation. In fact, they’ve used the company the six years prior to this one without a problem.
“We’re going to get everyone’s money worth,” she said.
I wish I’d been watching TV on Tuesday, June 5, because I would have loved to see Breeze LaClare give Piers Morgan a piece of her mind in front of a national audience on “America’s got talent.”
That show is hosted by Jerry Springer and judged by Morgan (apparently some English celebrity), Sharon Osborne (wife of Ozzy) and David Hasselhoff (formerly of Baywatch, of course).
It was noteworthy in itself that a Carson City third grader was appearing on the show. But her appearance doing a cheerleading routine turned heads for another reason – it nearly caused one of the judges to quit the show.
Here’s what happened:
Breeze had begun a cheerleading routine, but was quickly “x”ed by first Morgan, then the other two judges. That’s fair play for the talent show, but Morgan then began a rant, saying Breeze was only there because her mother wanted the $1 million prize.
“I see lots of kids come on this stage for this competition, and sometimes like I feel quite uncomfortable, because I feel it’s not so much about you, but what your mom wants, and that she’s pushed you onto doing this and that what your mom really wants is a million dollars and a new car. That’s how it makes me feel.”
Breeze didn’t mind the x’s, but that comment made her mad. She explained that her mother, Denise, had helped her, not pushed her.
At that, Springer brought out Denise, who admits to being quite shocked by the proceedings. Morgan cut her short too, saying he didn’t believe a word she was saying. Springer, to his credit, came to their defense, as did Sharon Osborne. She ripped up her note cards and stalked off the set to her dressing room, announcing she was quitting the show because of Morgan’s rude comments.
At that, Morgan left the set himself and Hasselhoff was left alone at the judges’ table. He apologetically asked Breeze to finish her routine and said he wanted her to come back next year.
Osborne returned later, apologizing to Breeze, as did Morgan after Breeze was brought back onstage and said, “Piers, you owe my mother an apology.”
As for Morgan’s claims, they just don’t hold up, which is why Breeze became upset. Both her mother and grandmother, Delma Bransom, say Breeze is self-motivated and involved in several activities. She’s also a great student.
“It was a positive experience,” Denise said of their three days in Los Angeles. “I believe she grew from it. I was so proud of her.”
She also became a celebrity of sorts among her classmates at Fremont Elementary, many of whom got to stay up late to watch her segment, which began at 9:50 p.m.
Breeze is not moving on in the competition, but she certainly impressed many viewers. Other, older contestants, have broken down under similar pressures.
“I’m so proud of her, as a 9-year-old to stand up there and not cry a tear,” Delma said.
“I think she represented Carson City really well.”
• Barry Ginter is editor of the Appeal. You can reach him at 881-1221, or via e-mail at email@example.com