HomeMeet The ArtistsMeet The 2024 Artists: Kevin Adams (Pro-Am Competitor)

Meet The 2024 Artists: Kevin Adams (Pro-Am Competitor)

2024 Pro-Am Display Competitor

Kevin Adams

From: Sheridan, WY

Still a theater kid at heart, Kevin’s longtime passion for pyro artistry has brought him to the Sky Wars stage. Kevin hopes his imagination and knack for storytelling will resonate with the audience on September 28.

Kevin’s Pyro Story:

Kevin has been dreaming about presenting pyromusicals ever since he was little. He grew up with a big imagination and liked to “emulate” the things he saw, like his local firework shows.

“I did things like… I would set the sprinklers in the yard up in the air and have them shoot in different patterns. And I would throw cups of dirt and sand up into the air, and have them flip around so they’d look like air bursts and smoke charges. It was all about imagination… and performing for an audience.”

Once he was old enough to actually buy fireworks, Kevin would finance his hobby through lemonade stands. His dad began helping him put on backyard 4th of July shoots in his early teen years. Kevin fondly remembers “the anticipation of lighting the fuse!”

“The first time I was really hooked with fireworks was the local pyromusical done by Dr. Brent Bills,” he said. It was Dr. Bill’s shows that opened his eyes to the concept of pyromusicals. “It was just so powerful, the emotions and just being awestruck at the level of his production.”

From the beginning he has had the support of his local firework company Flying Phoenix in Riverton Wyoming. “They’re my home team and are extremely good people.” He kept up his hobby of rough pyro choreography through his young adult years. After he’d graduated college along with his wife Jessie (and experienced a brief lull in fireworks when they lived in South Dakota), he picked it back up. He continued refining his craft while doing backyard shows at his in-laws’ property.

In 2015, he attended the PGI Convention for the first time and has been a member ever since. The following winter, he went to the WPA’s Western WinterBlast and got PGI certified. Next, he began competing in the Class C competitions at the following PGI convention. That’s where he met Bruce Burns, a fellow pyro from his current town Sheridan, Wyoming (what are the odds?!) who offered Kevin a spot on his crew.

Kevin has competed in the Class C competitions at PGI five times now and has won three of them. In 2022 he shot the National Anthem for Dominator at PGI’s grand public display. He’s also done his “own gig” producing shows for various events like homecomings, reunions, and weddings. Besides that, he’s always down to lend a hand, and has crewed on lots of different shows of various sizes across the US. He estimates participating in up to ten shows a year.

Kevin’s previous Sky Wars experience:

This will be Kevin’s fifth year attending Sky Wars, and his first time leading a show at the championship. 

“I’ve crewed on somebody’s show every year I’ve been.” He assisted Dan Haines on Spirit of ‘76 pro shows in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, he helped set up one of the pro am displays, and in 2023 he lent a hand on Donnie Toms’ pro show. “Those are some of the biggest shows I’ve worked on aside from the big 4th of July show out here in Sheridan.”

What to expect from Kevin’s 2024 show:

While it’s still months away, Kevin says he’s been thinking about the show a LOT and has a solid concept and soundtrack down. He’s really focused on the concept, which he believes should lend itself easily to the viewer.

Kevin has a lot of respect for well-done musical scenes that create strong emotions for the viewer. “I really believe in crescendos, highs and lows, and just having dynamics. Without dynamics, it’s absolutely monotone, like white static.”

As for the paints in his pyro palette, Kevin says he has already started sourcing some key products and is strategically waiting for specific effects to hit the market before tightening up his script for September 28th.

Favorite pyro show to date:

“I think there was something magical about the Alice in Wonderland show I did in Gillette,” Kevin said, referring to his 2019 PGI Class C competition show.

Where does Kevin find pyro inspiration?

Where DOESN’T Kevin find pyro inspiration? 

Aside from Dr. Brent Bills shows mentioned above, one of Kevin’s oldest memories of show-spiration is the Macy’s Fourth of July show in New York he remembers watching on TV as a kid around two decades ago. “They did the armed forces medley and they went around and did all the different divisions… It was just patriotism at its best,” he said, likening it to a Dr. Bills production.

Currently, Kevin is getting inspiration from a fellow pyro “who’s gonna be famous in the near future,” Raven Ross Anderson, a choreographer who’s been working with Big Sky Fireworks and has presented shows at Western WinterBlast and PGI. “His enthusiasm and his love of the pyro game is just contagious,” Kevin says.

Kevin also lists “PGI Class C Champion” Bill Turner, saying “it was an honor to share a shooter’s table with him.” There’s Ed Vassel with Dominator, who’s been a really good support to Kevin. Also, Aaron Mayfield is one of his favorite choreographers in terms of style. 

Other influential displays for Kevin include a show by Kenny Chi from Devastating Pyrotechnics that was intermingled with artwork by the Flaming Lotus Girls at Western WinterBlast in 2016. Another one was Tim Jamison and IPC’s grand public display at the PGI 50th Anniversary convention in 2019.

Lastly, Kevin lists Sky Wars as being a huge influence on his perusal of scripting pyromusicals. And, of course, his wife Jessie, who’s been “absolutely supportive in my vision to pursue the art of pyrotechnics.”

Ask The Pros: Questions from the Fans

Don Ayres: “How intimidating is it to compete on a stage with mostly field critics? How do you get in the mindset of expressing yourself instead of doing what you think everyone will love the most?” 

“Pyro being lit for pyros! Yeah, that can be tough… I have been trying to stick to my heart, and that’s been hard. I have a unique style, and I’ve never really varied from my style, and I know that Sky Wars has a standard.”

Kevin admits to “psyching himself out” a little by thinking he has to compromise his style to meet the status quo at Sky Wars. “I have to keep circling back to just stick to my gut and stick to my heart.”

Jessica Bosworth: How many people will you recruit to help you? 

Other than a few individuals from his neck of the woods, including his wife Jessie, Kevin has some great connections with pyros in Missouri: “We’ve got some KCAPers and maybe even some MoPyros who might come to the dark side!”

Kevin’s still finding the balance of the right amount of help to have on-site. “So far, with the people I have in mind and the clubs I have in mind, without a doubt, we’re going to have an incredible team.”

Bo Domescik: Do you think you’ll get quality sleep between the months of August and September?

“Yeah, I should be fine.” Unless this question jinxed him. Thanks, Bo!

In all seriousness, Kevin says the prestige of the event is not at all lost on him… and he might have some melatonin on hand just in case.

Sam Christensen: Not just anyone gets the opportunity to compete at Sky Wars. Winner or no, what does this mean for you in your pyro journey? 

“This year’s competition has become my reason, my ‘why’,” Kevin said. “I’ve felt a different level of energy since I’ve been accepted to compete that I haven’t felt in several years. I think that it’s really cool that this competition can offer this type of venue, and caliber of show, and the prestige, and everything that goes with it… it’s just really exciting. To say the least, it’s an honor. It’s the culmination of everything I’ve worked for this far as a choreographer. I don’t work for a display company, I’m in this for the love of the game. I really believe in the art aspect of it. Each piece that I’ve created is, to me, a theatrical production. And I don’t plan on doing anything different this time at Sky Wars. So, this is where I’m at right now in my own personal pyro journey, and I’m super thrilled to be a part of it. I’m ecstatic.”

Kevin says he’s really appreciative to be “a part of the scene” and is very much looking forward to sharing in the excitement of Sky Wars on September 28th!

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