HomeMeet The ArtistsMeet The 2024 Artists: Shaun Hauter (Pro-Am Competitor)

Meet The 2024 Artists: Shaun Hauter (Pro-Am Competitor)

2024 Pro-Am Display Competitor

Shaun Hauter

From: Niangua, MO
Owner of Hauter Fireworks / Pyrotechnician at AM Pyrotechnics

Shaun Hauter is no rookie to pyrotechnic competitions! With his expertise in all things fireworks and a reliable crew at his side, Shaun plans to pull off some new tricks in his first Sky Wars Pro-Am championship.

Shaun’s Pyro Story:

Prior to 2009, Shaun’s dabbling in fireworks was enjoyed primarily on the 4th of July like many Americans. He credits his beginnings in professional pyro to an old friend of his who convinced him to take a shooter’s training course at AM Pyro.

He took that class, and was immediately hooked. 

“Fish to water, man. I didn’t know that was my calling until I got into it.” Within two months of taking that class, Shaun had a Hazmat CDL, a Missouri Shooter’s License, and was shooting his first display as a licensed shooter. Shortly after, he led a $10-grand display on Independence Day. He’s been a lead pyrotechnician at AM Pyro ever since.

In 2018, Shaun started his retail business Hauter Fireworks, a development that was initially a solution for people asking to purchase fireworks from him during his displays… since he can’t exactly sell professional-grade pyrotechnics. The retail operation grew quickly. He eventually developed his own Hauter Fireworks “Show Series” label of consumer products, and in addition to operating three seasonal tents near Springfield, Missouri, he now wholesales year-round.

Shaun left his previously full-time gig at FedEx around 2019 to dedicate his career to the fireworks trifecta: retail, wholesale, and badass displays!

Shaun’s previous Sky Wars experience:

Shaun is no stranger to the US Fireworks Championship. He began attending in 2021, and in 2022 he was a tremendous help in getting Aaron Mayfield’s display off the ground during our very first Pro Display competition division. In both 2022 and 2023, Shaun led a team in the Blind Pyro Competition on Friday evening during the backstage pyro-exclusive festivities, and garnered a win the later year.

“I absolutely love Blind Pyro. I’d do it every year if they let me.” Shaun said he hadn’t felt all that stressed during those competitions because he’d shown up with a basic script and a plan (complete with a vision-board style diagram!) each time. 

This year was Shaun’s third time applying for Sky Wars’ Pro Am division. He says he’s spent a lot of time, effort, and resources to collect video evidence of the high-quality shows he presents, which finally led to his acceptance into the 2024 competition. “It’s a dream come true, it really is.”

What to expect from Shaun’s 2024 show:

Shaun understands what it takes to make a successful show, with highs and lows at just the right points to captivate his audience. At this time, he’s putting all his focus on the music selection. Shaun didn’t tease too much about his chosen songs, but he did mention that epic music tends to work really well with pyromusicals.

“You have to have a winning soundtrack to win. That needs the most amount of time spent on it, in my opinion.” 

The audience can definitely expect to see some special effects in Shaun’s show. “I’ve got two really good ideas, I’ve not seen either one done here,” he said. “If I can get it to work out, it’ll be pretty phenomenal. It’ll wow people.”

Favorite pyro show to date: 

It’s hard for Shaun to pick a favorite, but most recently, he’s very proud of his Class C Unlimited competition win at PGI 2023. “It was pretty spectacular, just because it fired almost perfectly. Like, 99.9 percent.” Check out Shaun’s epic choreography in that show below.

Ask The Pros: Questions from the Fans

Don Ayres: “Even though the pyro community can feel like family at times, how intimidating is it to compete on a stage with mostly field critics?” 

“I’ve gotten quite used to it. Like he says, it’s like a big family, and we all get along really well. I really like everyone I shoot with. Luckily, I haven’t noticed any of them, including myself, be arrogant… it’s all in good fun.”

When it comes to balancing what he wants in a display and what he thinks the audience will want, Shaun says he values when a show is designed “the way it should be designed,” i.e., with highs and lows and strong beginning-middle-finale sequences, in a way that the crowd and judges will enjoy.

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

“I’m probably looking at a solid dozen, at least.” Shaun’s got a reliable crew who helps out on most of his shows, and already has limited space for additional hands. 

“It’s not going to be hard to fill those slots, either.” Shaun says there are many people already asking to be on his Sky Wars crew. “I can’t take all of them. I’d probably have 50 if I had every single one who wanted to throw a hand on, honestly.”

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

“I don’t ever get quality sleep in August and September. It’s not going to make a difference, Bo!”

Shaun admits he’s lucky he doesn’t have a show at the Lucas Oil Speedway that weekend this year. “Last year, I had a show at the Speedway. It got moved to the day of [Sky Wars]… it was just a mess. Long story short, I drove from the Speedway and got there just in time for the National Anthem.” 

That shouldn’t be a problem during Sky Wars weekend this year. “I told them, don’t schedule a race, I’m busy,” Shaun laughed.

Nicole Mikrut (John’s wife): “When do the Pyro wives get their husband’s back?!?!?”

“I can’t speak to everyone else, but my pyro girlfriend helps on all my stuff, so she’s always around. We’re always together. Probably get to spend more time together over it.” 

Gwyn, Shaun’s girlfriend, has been on his pyro crew for around 7 years now. Shaun says she always gets good photos of the display they’re working on.

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?”

“It’s really special to be able to put on a show for so many people. That’s the real reason we like to do this… well, it’s one of my biggest reasons, for sure, to have the crowd go wild over what you put together. It’s just phenomenal to be able to have the biggest crowd and the biggest stage, and the opportunity to do it there. And then to take my crew who does amazing work at all the shows we do. We hardly ever have a miscue, they do really well. I’m glad for them to have the opportunity to come and work with me as well because I know they’re excited about it just as much as I am.”

Shaun can’t lie that he’d love to win. “It’s definitely not an easy task. There is no ‘easy’ to this competition, period. But it would be great. I could use it as a sales pitch, that hey, this is my knowledge, and I’m able to pull off a win at Sky Wars, the biggest fireworks competition in the United States.” 

If he got the trophy, Shaun says it would certainly take the cake. “The Sky Wars one is worth the weight of all the other ones combined!”

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