By Dillon Thomas
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (CBS4) – While popup fireworks stands continued to attract the business of many Coloradans, others made the trek north this weekend to Wyoming in search of something bigger.
“A lot of our customers come from Colorado,” said Petra Goldberg, manager at Phantom Fireworks in Wyoming.
Two miles north of the state line, in a remote Wyoming parking lot, dozens of Colorado-plated vehicles drove customers to a massive supply of fireworks.
“It is the busiest time of the year,” Goldberg said.
Phantom sells everything from $1 priced snappers to a $1,500 variety package.
Todd and his daughter Molly drove from Denver to purchase their fireworks. They wished not to provide their last names to CBS4.
Many of those traveling to Wyoming for fireworks plan to use them illegally in Colorado, often within the limits of the Denver metro area. However, Todd said his family sets the fireworks off on private land in a rural area, where it is legal.
“We do this with our family every year,” Todd said. “It is totally a tradition.”
“The boom is fun,” Molly said.
With many breaking the laws in Colorado with the fireworks they purchase, many law enforcement agencies have ramped up patrols for illegal use of fireworks.
“Last year was probably the worst year in the 30 years I’ve been in law enforcement,” said Adams County Sheriff Mike McIntosh.
McIntosh told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas his department created a fireworks task force that was assigned to address climbing fireworks complaints within the county.
McIntosh said the county responded to more than 100 reports of illegal firework use on July 4, 2017. The heavy amount of calls throughout the first week of July took deputies away from patrols they could be enforcing elsewhere.
“If (a firework) leaves the ground, or if it explodes, it is illegal,” McIntosh said.
McIntosh said that unless there are unique circumstances involved those contacted for illegal firework use would be warned. After they are warned, if deputies have to respond again, they would be cited.
Also, illegal fireworks that are not allowed in the county, as mentioned above, would be confiscated.
Todd and Molly said they would never fire off the mortars they purchased in Wyoming within city limits. They encouraged the others shopping among them to reconsider their fireworks usage, if they intended to break the law.
“Don’t ruin it for everyone else. Be smart and safe,” Molly said.
“(Fireworks on the 4th of July are) about making memories and spending time with family,” Todd said.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.