In my time as a married person, I can tell you that it is important to take some interest in the interests of your partner. Some people are lucky in that they share a common passion. Fewer still are those able not only to revel in one another's interest, but find a way to turn that shard interest into a lucrative business. Rich and Dee Gibson are a truly aspirational couple who have done exactly that. What's even cooler than the fact that these two managed to find someone who was into exactly the same thing they were into, and the fact that they have been able to make a living out of it, and share that with each other, is the fact they their "shared interest" just happens to be blowing stuff up.
The two were recently the subject of Kaboom, a short-film by Colin Sonner and Brady Welch. The painfully adorable couple started Rich's Incredible Pyro, an Illinois-based pyrotechnics production company, in 1981. Both had military backgrounds and (not surprisingly for these probable thrill-seekers) they met skydiving. Though they are technically retired, they have gone down to El Salvador to stage the Ilopango Air Show. They seem to enjoy it...
As you can imagine, there's not only a lot that goes on in actually producing such a spectacle, but behind-the-scenes challenges as well. Rich explains:
Whenever we go to a new location, the officials take out their books and there's nothing in the book about what we do. It's not mining or quarrying and it's also not fireworks. We fall somewhere in-between. I guess you could call it unorthodox. It's not the intended use of the materials.
They seem to have fallen into distinct but equally important roles.
My wife has got a much more creative mind than I do... I'm a better nuts and bolts kinda guy.
All kidding aside, it is truly heartening to see a couple clearly so in love with what they do working hand-in-hand to realize their vision—their explosive, loud, smoke-filled vision. I'll leave the final word to Rich.
I don't know why I like the Boom. I think every little kid does. It's stuck with my as I've tried to grow up.