Fireworks light Fourth

TV Hagenah

Around $5,000 dollars worth of fireworks went into the air over the Tucumcari Elks Lodge Sunday evening for 25 minutes and virtually everyone involved felt the money was well spent.

“It went great!” said Doug Powers, one of the Elks Members on the fireworks firing line that set off the 450 pounds of rockets, star shells streamers and the like.
His sentiments were echoed by the man in charge of the explosive event in the field just north of the Elks Lodge, Phillip Griggs. “We kept them going off, “ said Griggs “people seemed to enjoy it and nobody was hurt. I consider that a success.” Audience members who were in attendance agreed with the Elks’ members regarding the success of the July Fourth fireworks display.
“It’s like giant spaceships crashing into each other,” said Ryan Lumpkin, 5, of Tucumcari while watching the display put on Sunday night.

Young Lumpkins’ father, retired teacher Robert Lumpkin agree with his son’s assessment in somewhat less metaphorical terms saying the display was the best he had ever seen in Tucumcari and he had been watching the annual display since 1972. “It was excellent,” said Lumpkin. “I was very impressed with it.” The impressive aspect also was echoed by Shari and Dennis Dudley of San Demis, Calif. who were traveling through, stop for gasoline and asked what the activity was at the Elks Lodge and were told that it was the evening’s fireworks display.

“We said, ‘What the heck,’ and decided to stay and watch it,” said Shari. The California pair said by the end of the show, they were glad they stayed. “It was so good,” said Shari Dudley. “It was fantastic. I mean, I have never seen anything as good as this. We’re sure glad we stopped.” Griggs said much of time and work went into creating the show that people saw Sunday night. He said there were a number of volunteers that put long hours into selecting the specific fireworks to be used and then placing them in just the right location so the aerial effect would be as effective as it was.
“But the number one important thing is safety,” said Griggs. “My one great fear is that someone will get hurt. So far that hasn’t happened.”

Griggs does admit however that there has been the occasional burned clothing and singed fingers by the volunteers while putting on the display. “It’s getting bigger and better every year,” said Phil Clark one of the Elks Fireworks Volunteers. Clark said in the years the Elks have put on the display it has moved a few times. The location began at the old Elks’ baseball practice field immediately in front of the lodge. It was then moved out to Five-Mile Park and more recently it was moved back to the area just north of the lodge where both security, safety and viewability seem to be at an optimum.