June 28, 2021

Fireworks tips by Ryan Steffen

Getting AheadShot
Getting AheadShot
Fireworks tips by Ryan Steffen
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Show Notes

In this conversation, Twisted Thunder Fireworks cofounder Ryan Steffens helps us navigate all things fireworks — how to maximize value at the fireworks stand, tips on how to reduce anxiety some pets get around the Forth of July, safety pointers and more.

In this episode, Lane opens Twisted Thunder’s Family Nighttime Package, which can be found here: https://twistedthunder.com/shop/packages/family-nighttime-package/ and we talk about Heavenly Hounds Peanut Butter Bar.

 
To find Ryan Steffens, go to:
https://twistedthunder.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TwistedThunderFireworks
sales@twistedthunder.com


To find Lane and his work, go to:
https://omahaheadshots.com/
https://www.facebook.com/omahaheadshotcompany/
https://www.instagram.com/omahaheadshots/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/lanehickenbottom/

https://laneweddings.com/
https://www.facebook.com/LaneWeddings
https://www.instagram.com/lane.weddings/
https://youtube.com/c/LaneWeddings

Transcript

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Announcer 0:02
Welcome to Getting AheadShot.

a show for anybody wanting to get ahead in life join conversations between international award winning photographer Lane Hickenbottom and his clients who while Getting AheadShot offer relatable tips and strategies on a variety of topics, and now here’s lane.

Lane Hickenbottom 0:25
You guys, this should be fun. Typically on this show, we talk about strategies you can use to improve your health, business, energy, your financials, all sorts of personal development stuff. Today, we’re going to talk fireworks. It’s my hope that after this conversation, you’ll be better equipped to have a safe and fun Fourth of July. Today’s guest co founded a new fireworks business three and a half years ago. What started small with one location is now up to six locations throughout Nebraska. You guys twisted Thunder fireworks is the bomb. Ryan Steffen, welcome to Getting AheadShot Thank you, man. Excited to be here. Yeah, I’m excited to have you. So let’s talk fireworks. Um, you know, I’ve been fortunate to get to experience the Fourth of July. A lot of locations throughout the country.

Nobody does it like we do here in Nebraska. I mean, it is I we like to blow things up right

Ryan Steffen 1:28
Warzone.

Lane Hickenbottom 1:31
So, I mean, I mean, are there any rules at all? Are there any regulations? Is there anything that people should know about?

Ryan Steffen 1:37
Yeah, so the, depending upon where you’re at in the state, the the state allows you to buy between June 25 and july fourth, and every every city or town has kind of their own rules like for Omaha, for example.about was that two years ago, I think switched to where you can only buy for seven days from June 28 to July 4.

And so everybody has their own different rules regulations, as far as the state’s concerned it statewide as far as what’s legal what’s allowed. But really interestingly, just either this week or last week, a bill was put into place I believe that was in November, that basically opens up that scope to just about anything on the consumer market which is in my world I refer to 1.4 1.4 class. C for consumer is your everything you can buy at a tent and then all the stuff you see at like TD Ameritrade or the big you know, Warner Park, the big shows like that, that’s 1.3 or Class B display grade stuff, commercial grade stuff.

Lane Hickenbottom 2:51
Okay.

Ryan Steffen 2:52
So what the bill did is it basically it proposed to open up the restrictions that Nebraska has on some of those items. Biggest thing beingnighttime parachutes and rockets pretty much anything on a stick. So rockets are currently not legal in Nebraska. I mean pretty much anything on sticks not legal in Nebraska so this would open it up to different to all sorts of different types of rockets but of course what what you and I probably know most from our kid days or bottle rockets,

Lane Hickenbottom 3:24
Bottle rockets, sure,

Ryan Steffen 3:25
that’s right. So currently

Lane Hickenbottom 3:27
so we’re gonna see Are you saying we’re gonna see bottle rockets here?

Ryan Steffen 3:30
It’s possible we won’t know until things kind of get final it’s not completely done the first vote the first round of votes went very well in favor. It’s kind of a landslide Actually, it was voted 40 to three that it would get passed. So we’ll see there’s there’s still some some different angles there. So we’ll just kind of see how it goes. But as of right now, you have to go to Missouri or now Iowa. You can get get rockets over there so

Lane Hickenbottom 3:58
Which a lot of people do but we want to keep that money here in the state don’t we

Ryan Steffen 4:01
That’s right. It’s

Lane Hickenbottom 4:02
Heck yeah,

Ryan Steffen 4:03
it’s I think that was a big part of the reason it was introduced. Interestingly, it was it was a very interesting number to me. So one of the articles I read Nebraska, it it said that Nebraska does about 6.6 million in revenue from fireworks. Okay, a year, Missouri. Just you know, of course, everybody knows Missouri that hour down the road go to Shelton or Rockport, Missouri does 51,000,050 1 million.

Lane Hickenbottom 4:30
51 million, Wow. And do you have any idea

Ryan Steffen 4:34
big discrepancy

Wyoming’s basically another state like Missouri just services a lot of western Nebraska Yeah, people

Lane Hickenbottom 4:43
ask another I’m sorry, is Wyoming another state that

Ryan Steffen 4:47
Yeah, and it’s it’s skewed a lot to because Missouri is a year round state.

Lane Hickenbottom 4:51
Oh, Okay.

Ryan Steffen 4:52
Nebraska, we get 13 days out of the whole year. You get you get the 10 days in the in the June or the summer season and then you get through days for the December New Year season. So it’s it’s much more limited than, then, you know. So that’s, that’s a big factor. Of course the year round, they’re able to be open year round. And so, but what a lot of people forget the little tidbit a lot of people forget is it’s not legal to go to Missouri and buy fireworks and bring them back across state lines.

And, of course, you know, there’s all the people out there say it’s only illegal, or it’s only, you know, illegal if you get caught. But, you know, that’s kind of the, but you know, we definitely don’t endorse that. And interestingly enough, another big myth is all the big stuff is is down in Missouri, right? Everybody travels down to Missouri to get the big stuff. Well, what we just talked about, about what’s allowed, we can bring everything they can in with the exception of the nighttime parachutes. The sky lanterns are another one, that that are not legal. And then the Rockets but outside of those main items, metal sparklers is another one novelty for kids.

Outside of those items, we can bring in all the big stuff, too.

Lane Hickenbottom 6:11
Oh, that’s fantastic to know. Yeah, yeah.

Ryan Steffen 6:13
So a lot of people drive down there. And they definitely don’t need to in fact, we’ve been really trying to switch up the game. And we actually have a lot of customers come up to us from Kansas and Missouri now. So trying to flip it a little bit.

Lane Hickenbottom 6:27
Yeah. So there’s, there’s all kinds of consumers of fireworks and you know, ranging from you know, maybe the parent just getting some some snap hops for for their kids. And that’s kind of it to people who are going to four five figure fireworks budgets. What’s what’s the most common spends? Not necessarily the average, but like, just a real typical spend for most consumers.

Ryan Steffen 6:57
Typical is in I would say, in that $125- $150 range is what we see a lot of and that varies, you know, of course, you got some of the kids that come in with their parents with the you know, their piggy bank, or they save some money and they buy, you know, 10 bucks, like set sparklers, pops, we have a lot of really cool, novelty items for the kids and they love coming in, whether it’s a poop fountain, or a chainsaw, that’s a fountain, or a machine gun, or I mean, there’s all sorts of fun, cool stuff that we bring in, on up to you know, the families that’ll come in, and they’ll, they’ll maybe buy one of our packages, that’s a couple 100 bucks, or, you know, just let the kids pick out and walk around, pick out 100 150 bucks worth stuff. And so

Lane Hickenbottom 7:40
Yeah, you know, I suspected that that was about like, the 100 $150 range was about what would be a real typical spend. For me, when I when I go in, usually with my kids, I walk into the tent, and honestly, like, I don’t know anything. I don’t know if some of these tents that advertise buy one get three free on on select items. I don’t I don’t know if I’m truly getting a good deal there. When I look at the big pre packaged assortments, I don’t know, if if I’m better off going that route. Or, or if I just should just buy individual stuff. Can you help me as a consumer? If I’m looking to spend, say $100? Yeah. What’s the best way for me to to maximize my spend there?

Ryan Steffen 8:32
Yes. So a couple things to back to your to your first point like the Buy one get three free, we see those not only just in Nebraska, but we see them across the country, some of the biggest companies, Phantom is one of the biggest companies in the country when it comes to retail fireworks. And they do they’ll do the same thing, buy one, get one free or buy one get two free. They have a lot of those coupons and stuff like that. When you look at a comparable product with a different company, what you’ll often find is it’s much lower the cost, the retail cost. So when you see something that’s buy one, get three free, and it’s 10 bucks while you’re getting some for 2.50 a piece. Well, if you go to another tent with maybe a comparable item, do you see it for 2.50 apiece for just one or you know, so there’s a lot of things to look at that. But the average consumer isn’t going to multiple tents, right? They go to one, maybe on the third and the fourth before they head out to the lake or back to the house party, whatever the case is. And you know, that’s that. So it’s, it’s good. In some cases there can be value found, but most people don’t care to take the time to know if it’s a good value. Typically, what you’ll find is is better options elsewhere. If it’s just depending on the value, really. We don’t do it. For us. It’s it’s a little too gimmicky for our style of business.

Because there’s there’s other ways to go around that and bring value to your to your customer. And so we don’t do any of the you know, we get asked a question all the time, right? Do you? Do you have the buy one and get three free. And we just kind of respond with similar, you know, we don’t, but you’ll notice a price difference really quickly when you come into our tent. And that’s, that’s a big, big value side of things. And that’s, that’s not even talking quality. Just just more from from a price standpoint, because of course, a lot of our customers, you know, we were talking about bang for your buck, they want the best bang for your buck, and they very price conscious, which is fine. And so we very much accommodate on the price side of things too.

Lane Hickenbottom 10:41
So, very good. So, yeah, so once again, back to like trying to figure out how to spend $100.

Ryan Steffen 10:48
Yes. So I brought you a gift.

Lane Hickenbottom 10:50
You brought me a box.

Ryan Steffen 10:53
Brown box.

Lane Hickenbottom 10:54
Yeah. So any future guests or any businesses out that want to know that we just opened up the show to sponsorship

this show is brought to you by Twisted Thunder Fireworks

So I’m gonna pull out a knife here, and I’m going to try to do this without, yes. Hold on one second without cutting myself.

Ryan Steffen 11:15
Yes.

Lane Hickenbottom 11:16
Take a quick pause here.

Ryan Steffen 11:18
Don’t need to cut yourself.

Lane Hickenbottom 11:23
Let this thing up. Put a rip into it. Thanks. Here we go. Yeah, it’s the pop opening up the box. That’s fun.

Ryan Steffen 11:31
That’s right.

So back, yeah, back to your question.

You know, 100 bucks. It’s, it’s interesting. You said that so because that’s very common, right? somebody you know, they come in say, Alright, kid, you got 100 bucks to go spend, right? So what you have in your hand, this is our $100 nighttime package.

Lane Hickenbottom 11:50
Okay

Ryan Steffen 11:50
and kind of going back to the value of what we do. You can go and buy a pre packaged assortment.

Lane Hickenbottom 11:56
Oh my gosh, this is awesome.

Ryan Steffen 11:58
You can go buy a pre packaged assortment. You know, it’s got the like the cellophane wrap on it. It’s got a box all the artwork and everything. Obviously this is just brown box. It’s not as fancy we put more money into the into the product and then the then the packaging, but

Lane Hickenbottom 12:12
it seems more helpful. I mean, it’s like those those big long, like, lot of artwork boxes, like they sit on your driveway very easily that way, right. It’s a becomes a mess immediately. But this is all like, contained in a box. I would want

Ryan Steffen 12:28
Yes. So this this particular This is our $100 family nighttime package. It’s perfect forthe the person that doesn’t want to spend hours in the tents. It’s perfect for if you’re just going to you need to pick something up super quick. Get to the family event. This is perfect. So there’s two boxes of artillery shells in there.

Lane Hickenbottom 12:49
Okay, so that’s what I’m seeing right here. Right?

Ryan Steffen 12:50
Yep, you got it.

Lane Hickenbottom 12:53
These two boxes of artillery shells?

Ryan Steffen 12:55
Yep.

Lane Hickenbottom 12:55
Cool.

Ryan Steffen 12:56
And so typically, in most tents, you’ll find those for sale this year for 10 bucks a piece, right? So there’s 20 bucks already right there that you know, and this thing’s just loaded up. So it’s mixed with a lot of different cakes. A lot of different fountains.

Lane Hickenbottom 13:09
Oh my gosh, what’s this here? So this is called the lighthouse.

Ryan Steffen 13:13
Yes, this is the lighthouse fountain we love this thing. It’s an incredible value last long and then at the end you see the blue the I know the the listeners can’t but the blue, the yellow and the green. They’ll it’ll kind of spark and light up like a lighthouse at the very end.

Lane Hickenbottom 13:28
Very cool. So basically, it’s a fountain or up in the sky.

Ryan Steffen 13:32
It is a fountain. Yeah, yep. But it is it is a very good, very good value.

Lane Hickenbottom 13:36
Very cool

Yeah, pulling stuff out here. So we’ve got this call the mighty minis.

Ryan Steffen 13:44
Yep. So there’s a pair of those and those are kind of those smaller cakes, but it’s something fun. That’s, you know, it’s not a big huge item, the kids can light it. We typically recommend for these smaller items like this to try and secure him down maybe with some rocks or a cinder block or to just because I mean something like that always has a chance to tipping over. But you know, we we always we always recommend just to secure him You can never be too safe and and so we recommend that with with a lot of stuff. So

Lane Hickenbottom 14:14
Cool. I like hearing these safety tips, Ryan. Yes, this is good stuff.

Ryan Steffen 14:17
Yes. We’ll have love some more for you.

Lane Hickenbottom 14:19
So here we’ve got some candles,

Ryan Steffen 14:20
the classic Roman candles.

Lane Hickenbottom 14:22
Yes

Ryan Steffen 14:22
right.

Another safety tip. And of course I know I say this not everybody listens. But the actual you’re not supposed to hold these contrary.

Lane Hickenbottom 14:33
What?

Ryan Steffen 14:33
Yes.

Lane Hickenbottom 14:34
Is that true?

Ryan Steffen 14:35
Yeah. You’re You’re not supposed to hold them. So you can say come down some people time to rebar. You can put them in a an artillery shell tube. So they stand vertical kind of multipurpose air I guess but

Lane Hickenbottom 14:48
okay.

Ryan Steffen 14:49
But yeah, so of course, you know, people have roman candle fights all the time, you know, but, but no, the true rule is, is you’re not you’re not supposed to hold them. Okay, so But yeah, we have some of those like said it’s kind of jam packed full of. There’s fountains, cakes, there’s there’s little items like that pure fantasy, that’s another fountain item. So we just kind of put a really good blend in there. And I think you’ll start getting into some of the kicks.

Lane Hickenbottom 15:16
There’s so much in here.

Ryan Steffen 15:18
There is a lot in there.

Lane Hickenbottom 15:19
Yeah, there is a lot in here, right? So I feel like Ryan, I’m gonna switch up my ways. I’ve been going to the buy one. Yeah, get three free places, and I’ve not been getting this much for $100 I can tell you that.

Ryan Steffen 15:34
Yes. Yep. And so there’s a lot of different ways we have some very analytical customers that will price stuff out they’ll you know, compare it and all sorts of different stuff. This is jam packed. This is more than $100 retail even at our stand and the thing with us we focus on Moses quality again we’re Pyros that at heart we’re nerdy it’s some people don’t believe me when I tell them as a group as a whole we watch over 10,000 YouTube videos every year looking at different products seeing how they perform wow and there’s there’s you can’t tell everything from a video that we do in person but but we watched the videos we know what to look for. And and so there’s a lot of value that we can see. And yeah a lot of people don’t but yeah 10,000 videos YouTube clips of different products every year every single year it’s it’s a lot it’s it’s crazy.

Lane Hickenbottom 16:34
Is there an easy way to get a sense for what I should feel good about having my kids light as opposed to maybe adult supervision only is it just a purely a size thing?

Ryan Steffen 16:47
Not always size thing most of the stuff in this package particularly in fact probably all of it would be you know could be hand lit and we try to cater to that with with this package specifically there’s some cakes it’s it’s more risk tolerance I guess from from the parents some people don’t want them lighting bigger stuff

Lane Hickenbottom 17:08
sure

Ryan Steffen 17:10
Some people only want them to be able to light the the smaller stuff not the cakes so that’s Boomtown is another cake. So that’s an aerial option.

Lane Hickenbottom 17:17
Okay,

Ryan Steffen 17:18
and that is you know, some parents don’t want the kids to be able to you know, of course pending age as well that’s always a big factor to you know, somebody that’s eight or 10 or 13 is going to be able to light a lot different type of items and somebody who’s you know, four or five six we try and cater to that but but yeah, there’s there’s cakes mixed in there too. But the fountains I mean they can pretty much light everything yes yeah I mean we try and cater to that with the family nighttime theme package it’s just a good jumbled value of a lot of good stuff in there.

Lane Hickenbottom 17:53
The prank box

Ryan Steffen 17:54
prank box so this is another fountain it’s really good item good duration on this. And so that’s you know another item that kids could for sure light.

Lane Hickenbottom 18:05
I do my best but not being a great consumer of fireworks…help me read the labels and so this this the Saturn missiles so I’m part of it i think is just becoming familiar by year after year getting similar things is every year like the word Saturn missiles means absolutely nothing, right. Like basically you’re trying to eyeball like by seeing this. Like if I just look at this I’m guessing it’s gonna shriek and whistle and Yep, and fire off sailed rockets, right?

Ryan Steffen 18:40
Yep. So in this is this is 100 shot Saturn battery missile. And you got it. It’s a base there’s no Well, there are some with reports. This one in particular, not like big breaks, but they’ll do a little crackle at the top different ones have different effects. But yeah, the classic Saturn battery missile it is. You basically you light it and it’s 100 shots of like you said the what some would call the annoying screeching you know, howling and it’s just 100 of them. So it’s, it gets it gets really fun when you have the big ones that are 750 shot. those are those are loud and noisy and that keg party.

Lane Hickenbottom 19:18
That’s that’s kind of that’s what we’re having here.

Ryan Steffen 19:20
Yeah, that’s right.

Lane Hickenbottom 19:21
Keg party

Ryan Steffen 19:22
Cheers to you, sir.

So this is another really good found value, value on price. But again, good duration, really good effects. Just good stuff for the street. It’s safe distance wise. You know, even with with so many cars in the street, we think about that around the fourth at the family gatherings and stuff. You know, there’s not, you know, you don’t have to have a whole wide open space for some of this stuff. Some of it goes, you know, 1020 feet in the air. And you can typically gauge that by the size of the fountain typically means it’s going to be bigger. So

Lane Hickenbottom 19:58
you just made me think of something thing I think about when you mentioned like being out in the street. So at the end, there’s this huge cardboard mess is this stuff after it’s been shot with the with the gunpowder residue and stuff? It’s mostly cardboard? Is it recyclable? Or does it seem to go in the trash?

Ryan Steffen 20:16
It can’t well, so it can be we typically recommend to go in the trash, but the most important thing is soak it in water.

Lane Hickenbottom 20:25
Oh, okay.

Ryan Steffen 20:26
Or, you know, so we typically recommend people have different methods, but you can have a bucket of water five gallon bucket of water out, you can either throw all your stuff in there, or at least dunk it. Because this obviously, you don’t want to throw in the trash right away, let it cool down. A lot of other people will also just let it cool overnight, set it on the curb for the night. And then, you know, the next day with with cleanup, you can you can put it into the trash.

Lane Hickenbottom 20:53
So my parents in LA, they live in a farm about an hour away from here. And every year, we have a big Fourth of July party and out there on the farm. You know, they burn all their trash. And so ultimately, like it’s basically like, load it all up and heap it into the trash barrel lighted up and then the show’s not over.

Ryan Steffen 21:15
Yeah. I was gonna say the only thing and that’s, you know, farms a whole different case whole versus the, you know, in the city, but yeah, that. Yeah, like you said, see if there’s another show if you know, maybe double check, make sure everything’s been discharged completely.

Lane Hickenbottom 21:33
So, okay, so this looks fun. We’ve got

Ryan Steffen 21:38
American during American during this last year, we hope so. Yeah, yes. And so that’s the sky bacon products. It’s so funny. I say sky bacon now. But the average person they’ve never heard of Sky Bacon. And so you think about it literally. Bacon. Everybody loves bacon in the sky. So we absolutely love this brand. This is from one of our vendors down in Missouri. And this is a really good fountain. It’s, yeah, we love sky bacon, we we have a lot of products of theirs in our tents. And we really, really enjoy the quality. Not only the quality, but and not to get too far into the weeds here. But believe if you could believe this or not consistency is is a key item in the fireworks industry when you’re talking with China. Oh, sure. Yeah, yeah. wouldn’t ever guessed. Right. So it’s really shocking, right? So they are, they are probably one of our most consistent vendors in terms of quality of product. We know if we buy it one year, we still do our due diligence, but the odds are pretty high, it’s going to be just as good performing as as it was last year. So this is, this is a really, really interesting thing that I didn’t even know really 510 years ago, I’ve been always nerdy about fireworks, but you know, they run new runs every year of a certain product. And it’ll have the same label. But maybe the 2021 version isn’t as good as the 2020 version. And so the average consumer has no idea about that.

Lane Hickenbottom 23:07
Right.

Ryan Steffen 23:07
Right. Absolutely not. And so that is part of our secret sauce, in what we do, and why we watch 10,000 plus YouTube videos is to really be able to analyze that for the consumer, so they don’t have to worry. And when I when I say watered down, maybe it doesn’t have as much pop, or as much color, the colors aren’t as vibrant. It’s not as big. There’s so many different factors that go into that we, of course, we don’t expect the average consumer who’s you know, buys fireworks once a year to, you know, to look at that type of stuff. So we do a lot of the heavy lifting on that side of things. Of course, for us, it’s fun, we enjoy doing it. But also, we we told ourselves when we started we never really wanted to have the the customer disappointment of, Hey, I bought this last year and it was insane. People were coming down the street asking where I got that from I bought it again this year, and it sucked, you know. And so that’s that’s stuff that we never want to do. So every year, I mean, we have products that we discontinued, because that happens. And so there’s there’s different things that, again, average consumer would never know or even care about. But we care about it. And we want our customers to not be disappointed one year over the next or whatever the case is. So yeah, so what are some good questions that uh, that are inquiring consumer when they come into a tent? They’re one to make sure that their dollar goes well, should they so they talked to one of you? I guess you guys are probably pretty busy when you’re there. But Yep. Yeah. What are some good questions? Yeah. So our 10 staff, I mean, we have a lot of returning staff that keep coming back and very knowledgeable. I would say, Here I’ll throw this out at you to another big myth. A lot of people make the mistake of is the heavier it is, the better it is.

Lane Hickenbottom 24:53
Yeah, I guess I would think the same thing.

Ryan Steffen 24:55
Exactly. And that’s it’s true. A lot of times, however, Of course China they get smart, right? And so

Lane Hickenbottom 25:03
They put gravel in it for it?

Ryan Steffen 25:05
Well, it’s actually it’s clay. So the the basis of some of these cakes are, they just add it’s full of clay more clay powder as the base more than it needs to be anyway. And so extra cardboard sometimes there’s a wood base, add in clay and all this stuff and if it’s bigger, it looks impressive, they’re able to slap a big price tag on it. Some justifiably so but not all of them. So just because it’s heavy does not always mean it’s going to blow your mind away. So something to think about there. But when asking when asking somebody at a tent, a tent or a stand, I would I would ask them what’s their favorite item? Because if they’ve been there, they’ve probably shut you know they’ve shot off products and then also what’s the number one seller and there’s so many different categories whether you’re talking artillery shells, whether you’re talking cakes, fountains, novelties for kids, there’s so many different things to ask, but you say hey, what’s your best artillery shell you have here? What’s your best 500 grand cake or 200 grand cake. And the difference there? There’s there’s three main categories when it comes to cakes and a cake is some of the ones you picked up like the Boomtown or the pinguino. There you go. Yeah,

Lane Hickenbottom 26:23
pinguino

Ryan Steffen 26:24
Yep. So that’s that’s a cake. It’s a smaller one.

Lane Hickenbottom 26:27
So for those of you who can’t see the video, this is a kind of hexagon box fits in the palm of my hand about six inches taller.

Ryan Steffen 26:37
So yeah, yeah. And so this is a 200 gram cake. When you talk about the grams, it’s basically talking about the composition that can go into it. Because there’s limits, you cannot put in more than 500 grams into one cake. That’s not a Nebraska, that’s a, that’s a national that’s in the NFA nfpa laws. Get nerdy here, sorry, I’m not trying to bring, you know, codes on you. But so this is a 200 gram cake. So you can ask him the 200 gram, there’s also another category 350 gram cakes. And then the bigger ones are the 500 gram. So that’s typically going to be either your biggest shot count, or your biggest boom, basically, or a mixture of both. So some people will say, you know, I don’t want to buy this 500 gram cake, because maybe it’s, I don’t know, 60 bucks for and it’s only nine shots. Well, those nine shots are huge. And they’re impressive. Typically, I guess depending upon which tent you go to kind of that value in the nerdy of making sure it’s good. versus if you buy another 500 gram cake, that’s maybe 50 shots or 42 shots or something like that. They’re going to be smaller, the breaks are going to be smaller. Because there’s higher whatever it is it still has to land at that 500 gram it can’t exceed that. Due to the the regulations.

Lane Hickenbottom 27:56
Okay.

Ryan Steffen 27:56
Yep.

Lane Hickenbottom 27:57
Recognize the you’re in the in the business of making the boom and

Ryan Steffen 28:04
making the boom making. I like that.

Lane Hickenbottom 28:06
Ryan brings the boom Yeah. In not so much in softening the boom but for for people who have pets, is that something? Do you have advice for people who maybe have a dog that hates the fourth of July.

Ryan Steffen 28:23
So there’s there’s this is a very big topic, and we actually kind of took this head on. We actually partnered with a company. That’s called heavenly hounds.

Lane Hickenbottom 28:35
Okay,

Ryan Steffen 28:35
it’s a little peanut butter bar that they can eat depending upon the size of the dog. It’s it’s about three inches by three inches. And they can eat it. It’s it’s a relaxation treat for animals. People have asked about cats too. And the answer we get is cats are picky eaters. If they can eat it, it’ll help. We don’t know if they’ll eat it. So

but it’s it’s a very big topic. So a really popular option. Have you ever seen or heard of those Thunder jackets?

Lane Hickenbottom 29:06
I haven’t. No.

Ryan Steffen 29:07
Okay, so there’s something called a thunder jacket. It’s basically like a vest almost for a dog.

Lane Hickenbottom 29:12
Oh, okay.

Ryan Steffen 29:13
And it basically it gives them kind of that protection. It’s tied to their skin. And it helps with thunderstorms and fireworks. And fireworks. Yep. So there’s a lot of different ways to approach this. Another really unique tip is you can actually start maybe a week, couple weeks before the fourth or before the season, maybe beginning first first or second week of June. It’s a weird one. But you can start playing fireworks noises on your speakers or whatever at home if you have like an Alexa or your phone or whatever, just you know at a lower volume and not as frequent but you can start ramping that up as it gets closer to season.

Lane Hickenbottom 29:55
So it’s interesting tip

Ryan Steffen 29:56
Yeah, So it’s more normalized for them and because in the tough one really is of course when you let your pops out to go to the bathroom that’s always a tough one because like you said it’s a war zone come closer to season and the fourth Those are some really good options. People are brought up the the CBD option before some people go that route are heavenly hounds bars, they are not CBD. But what we love about them in that company is all of their treats are actually made in a human food grade. Oh, now so you know, it’s safe. Yep. Yep. And I was a little skeptical. So before we decided to partner with them, I you know, I got some samples I tested on on my pups. And I have two labs.

Lane Hickenbottom 30:37
I thought you’re gonna say that you try them yourself.

Ryan Steffen 30:39
Yeah, well, hey, I peanut butter, maybe? No, so they they are, but they worked great.

Lane Hickenbottom 30:47
Really, good.

Ryan Steffen 30:48
Honestly, I was not expecting to see my older lab. She is she’s now 14. And she was out. Put it like and, you know, so the bigger dogs I think it’s over 50 pounds or something like that they can have a full bar. But the smaller you know, in the 10 to 20 pound dogs you know they have like a little quarter of a bar. So there’s there’s a lot of different options that you can do but the music one or excuse me the the firework sounds throughout the house. Just couple weeks before, we’ve heard that seems to work a good a good chunk. But yeah, I would encourage anybody also to if their dogs are really bad just to Google that they’re called Thunder jackets. So just to see even get them different sizes, of course for different dogs, but those tend to help just that compression against their skin. It makes them feel safer. It absorbs a lot of the you know, the sound, I guess so to speak or the vibration of the sound. And so yeah, those are those are some good ones for the pups. We love her pop. So we were like, well, we gotta we got to figure something out here. So,

Lane Hickenbottom 31:49
Ryan, you’re providing so much great advice here. Are there any other tips or questions that I should be asking any, any other tidbits you just think that our listeners would benefit from?

Ryan Steffen 32:01
Yeah, man, there’s, there’s so many I would say from from the safety side of things, you know, especially for the littles, the kiddos, punks. So every customer that leaves the tent, we you know, of course, they get some punks. But I actually I do encourage those just because of course they’re longer, they’re extended away from the kids hands, you know, of course, just within caution, but it’s not it’s not an open flame, it makes it just safer. Especially, you know, you and I maybe not mind if we go light something with a lighter or something like that. But when your hands that close to a fuse, what does it do when you let it it starts sparking? well with the kids, I mean, that can burn so the punks are really valuable. Those, those are really good. I already mentioned the the Roman candles, you know, just kind of an extra extra tidbit there. Just not to not to hold those. So, I mean, just from the safety stand in the biggest thing too, when you start talking your aerials distances your friend, sure, you know, it’s at the end of the day, I think I’ve I’ve hit home plenty that we focus on quality, and that’s 100% our focus, but at the end of the day, it’s still China, I mean, they’re they’re producing hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of 1000s of items at a very rapid pace. And so from a quality control, quality control standpoint, we can’t, you know, we can do our best to make sure we’re buying from factories that are very well known over there with their strict guidelines. But something could always happen, whether it tips over, some can blow out of the side, whatever the case is, so you can never be too safe with the stuff distances your friend. And if you want to make your own little barricades, you know, I recommend that too, just because if something shoots out the side, we’ve all we’ve all heard those stories, right.

Lane Hickenbottom 33:49
Yeah.

Ryan Steffen 33:49
And so you can never be too safe with that type of stuff. And, and never think that if someone makes fun of you for that, I mean, you can ever be to your family, your friends and family. So you can never be too safe on on that side of things. So Other questions? I don’t, I don’t can’t think of anything.

Lane Hickenbottom 34:10
I feel like you’ve you’ve given us a lot to chew on. And for anyone who’s listening to this, right now, you know the the holiday at the time that we’re launching this the holidays right here. So I definitely encourage you if you’re in if you’re in the area that has a Twisted Thunder stand, where all are you?

Ryan Steffen 34:34
So we have we have a couple weird ones weigh on the western side of Nebraska, like and when I say western, I don’t mean Kearney because that’s not western. They’re about

Lane Hickenbottom 34:46
well is west of Lincoln

Ryan Steffen 34:48
It is west of Lincoln so that is western Nebraska, right.

So we have a couple there. They’re about they’re out in the sandhills though. like five, six hours west.

Lane Hickenbottom 34:58
So what areas?

Ryan Steffen 35:00
super small towns once called Thedford, some people have also heard of like Halsy National Park out there. Yep. And then just south of there a couple hours. There’s a little place called Hayes center. But those two are on the western side and then as far as like the the Lincoln Omaha metro area, we have where it all started is in Mead, Nebraska. Some people have never heard of Mead, but have heard of Utan if they’ve never heard of both those. I basically I just tell them like thinking Omaha terms. It’s basically like 370 and Center.

Lane Hickenbottom 35:31
Okay.

Ryan Steffen 35:33
So Center turns into highway 92 it’s about a 20-25 minute drive from the metro and then our other repeat location that was its first year last year is in Bennett, suburb just south of Lincoln. So Bennett, Nebraska and then two new ones are Valparaiso, which is basically between Mead and Lincoln. And then we finally got into the bing O any guesses where you can’t get much more central than where we then are

Lane Hickenbottom 36:01
more central? So if it’s not 72nd and Dodge just slightly west of there like I think you got 680 and you got 80 or you got Dodge?

Ryan Steffen 36:11
Nailed it right there. 10000 California at Westroads

Lane Hickenbottom 36:15
Westroads

Ryan Steffen 36:16
Westroads Mall yeah

Lane Hickenbottom 36:17
Fantastic what a great location

Ryan Steffen 36:19
Yeah, we’ll be we’ll be basically on the northwest corner lot. Just what is that just north of the Granite City and literally right across the street from Top Golf.

Lane Hickenbottom 36:29
Great.

Ryan Steffen 36:29
That’s the goal. So yes, sir. That’s locations. Yep.

Lane Hickenbottom 36:32
If you want to if you want to know more, definitely check out www.twistedthunder.com check them out on Facebook @twistedthunder, Ryan Steffen. It’s been a lot of fun, happy. Thanks for helping us be better consumers safer and having a great Fourth of July.

Ryan Steffen 36:52
Awesome. Yeah, I had a blast, man. It was super fun. I love what you’re doing. Love the podcast.

Lane Hickenbottom 36:56
Thank you. Thanks for coming and Getting AheadShot Yeah,

Ryan Steffen 36:58
that’s right. I love it. Very good. Well, thanks for having me.

Announcer 37:06
Thanks for listening to the Getting AheadShot podcast recorded inside the Omaha headshot company studio to support the podcast, share it with others post about it on social media or leave a five star review to learn more go to Getting aheadshot.com We look forward to seeing you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Announcer 0:02
Welcome to Getting AheadShot.

a show for anybody wanting to get ahead in life join conversations between international award winning photographer Lane Hickenbottom and his clients who while Getting AheadShot offer relatable tips and strategies on a variety of topics, and now here’s lane.

Lane Hickenbottom 0:25
You guys, this should be fun. Typically on this show, we talk about strategies you can use to improve your health, business, energy, your financials, all sorts of personal development stuff. Today, we’re going to talk fireworks. It’s my hope that after this conversation, you’ll be better equipped to have a safe and fun Fourth of July. Today’s guest co founded a new fireworks business three and a half years ago. What started small with one location is now up to six locations throughout Nebraska. You guys twisted Thunder fireworks is the bomb. Ryan Steffen, welcome to Getting AheadShot Thank you, man. Excited to be here. Yeah, I’m excited to have you. So let’s talk fireworks. Um, you know, I’ve been fortunate to get to experience the Fourth of July. A lot of locations throughout the country.

Nobody does it like we do here in Nebraska. I mean, it is I we like to blow things up right

Ryan Steffen 1:28
Warzone.

Lane Hickenbottom 1:31
So, I mean, I mean, are there any rules at all? Are there any regulations? Is there anything that people should know about?

Ryan Steffen 1:37
Yeah, so the, depending upon where you’re at in the state, the the state allows you to buy between June 25 and july fourth, and every every city or town has kind of their own rules like for Omaha, for example.about was that two years ago, I think switched to where you can only buy for seven days from June 28 to July 4.

And so everybody has their own different rules regulations, as far as the state’s concerned it statewide as far as what’s legal what’s allowed. But really interestingly, just either this week or last week, a bill was put into place I believe that was in November, that basically opens up that scope to just about anything on the consumer market which is in my world I refer to 1.4 1.4 class. C for consumer is your everything you can buy at a tent and then all the stuff you see at like TD Ameritrade or the big you know, Warner Park, the big shows like that, that’s 1.3 or Class B display grade stuff, commercial grade stuff.

Lane Hickenbottom 2:51
Okay.

Ryan Steffen 2:52
So what the bill did is it basically it proposed to open up the restrictions that Nebraska has on some of those items. Biggest thing beingnighttime parachutes and rockets pretty much anything on a stick. So rockets are currently not legal in Nebraska. I mean pretty much anything on sticks not legal in Nebraska so this would open it up to different to all sorts of different types of rockets but of course what what you and I probably know most from our kid days or bottle rockets,

Lane Hickenbottom 3:24
Bottle rockets, sure,

Ryan Steffen 3:25
that’s right. So currently

Lane Hickenbottom 3:27
so we’re gonna see Are you saying we’re gonna see bottle rockets here?

Ryan Steffen 3:30
It’s possible we won’t know until things kind of get final it’s not completely done the first vote the first round of votes went very well in favor. It’s kind of a landslide Actually, it was voted 40 to three that it would get passed. So we’ll see there’s there’s still some some different angles there. So we’ll just kind of see how it goes. But as of right now, you have to go to Missouri or now Iowa. You can get get rockets over there so

Lane Hickenbottom 3:58
Which a lot of people do but we want to keep that money here in the state don’t we

Ryan Steffen 4:01
That’s right. It’s

Lane Hickenbottom 4:02
Heck yeah,

Ryan Steffen 4:03
it’s I think that was a big part of the reason it was introduced. Interestingly, it was it was a very interesting number to me. So one of the articles I read Nebraska, it it said that Nebraska does about 6.6 million in revenue from fireworks. Okay, a year, Missouri. Just you know, of course, everybody knows Missouri that hour down the road go to Shelton or Rockport, Missouri does 51,000,050 1 million.

Lane Hickenbottom 4:30
51 million, Wow. And do you have any idea

Ryan Steffen 4:34
big discrepancy

Wyoming’s basically another state like Missouri just services a lot of western Nebraska Yeah, people

Lane Hickenbottom 4:43
ask another I’m sorry, is Wyoming another state that

Ryan Steffen 4:47
Yeah, and it’s it’s skewed a lot to because Missouri is a year round state.

Lane Hickenbottom 4:51
Oh, Okay.

Ryan Steffen 4:52
Nebraska, we get 13 days out of the whole year. You get you get the 10 days in the in the June or the summer season and then you get through days for the December New Year season. So it’s it’s much more limited than, then, you know. So that’s, that’s a big factor. Of course the year round, they’re able to be open year round. And so, but what a lot of people forget the little tidbit a lot of people forget is it’s not legal to go to Missouri and buy fireworks and bring them back across state lines.

And, of course, you know, there’s all the people out there say it’s only illegal, or it’s only, you know, illegal if you get caught. But, you know, that’s kind of the, but you know, we definitely don’t endorse that. And interestingly enough, another big myth is all the big stuff is is down in Missouri, right? Everybody travels down to Missouri to get the big stuff. Well, what we just talked about, about what’s allowed, we can bring everything they can in with the exception of the nighttime parachutes. The sky lanterns are another one, that that are not legal. And then the Rockets but outside of those main items, metal sparklers is another one novelty for kids.

Outside of those items, we can bring in all the big stuff, too.

Lane Hickenbottom 6:11
Oh, that’s fantastic to know. Yeah, yeah.

Ryan Steffen 6:13
So a lot of people drive down there. And they definitely don’t need to in fact, we’ve been really trying to switch up the game. And we actually have a lot of customers come up to us from Kansas and Missouri now. So trying to flip it a little bit.

Lane Hickenbottom 6:27
Yeah. So there’s, there’s all kinds of consumers of fireworks and you know, ranging from you know, maybe the parent just getting some some snap hops for for their kids. And that’s kind of it to people who are going to four five figure fireworks budgets. What’s what’s the most common spends? Not necessarily the average, but like, just a real typical spend for most consumers.

Ryan Steffen 6:57
Typical is in I would say, in that $125- $150 range is what we see a lot of and that varies, you know, of course, you got some of the kids that come in with their parents with the you know, their piggy bank, or they save some money and they buy, you know, 10 bucks, like set sparklers, pops, we have a lot of really cool, novelty items for the kids and they love coming in, whether it’s a poop fountain, or a chainsaw, that’s a fountain, or a machine gun, or I mean, there’s all sorts of fun, cool stuff that we bring in, on up to you know, the families that’ll come in, and they’ll, they’ll maybe buy one of our packages, that’s a couple 100 bucks, or, you know, just let the kids pick out and walk around, pick out 100 150 bucks worth stuff. And so

Lane Hickenbottom 7:40
Yeah, you know, I suspected that that was about like, the 100 $150 range was about what would be a real typical spend. For me, when I when I go in, usually with my kids, I walk into the tent, and honestly, like, I don’t know anything. I don’t know if some of these tents that advertise buy one get three free on on select items. I don’t I don’t know if I’m truly getting a good deal there. When I look at the big pre packaged assortments, I don’t know, if if I’m better off going that route. Or, or if I just should just buy individual stuff. Can you help me as a consumer? If I’m looking to spend, say $100? Yeah. What’s the best way for me to to maximize my spend there?

Ryan Steffen 8:32
Yes. So a couple things to back to your to your first point like the Buy one get three free, we see those not only just in Nebraska, but we see them across the country, some of the biggest companies, Phantom is one of the biggest companies in the country when it comes to retail fireworks. And they do they’ll do the same thing, buy one, get one free or buy one get two free. They have a lot of those coupons and stuff like that. When you look at a comparable product with a different company, what you’ll often find is it’s much lower the cost, the retail cost. So when you see something that’s buy one, get three free, and it’s 10 bucks while you’re getting some for 2.50 a piece. Well, if you go to another tent with maybe a comparable item, do you see it for 2.50 apiece for just one or you know, so there’s a lot of things to look at that. But the average consumer isn’t going to multiple tents, right? They go to one, maybe on the third and the fourth before they head out to the lake or back to the house party, whatever the case is. And you know, that’s that. So it’s, it’s good. In some cases there can be value found, but most people don’t care to take the time to know if it’s a good value. Typically, what you’ll find is is better options elsewhere. If it’s just depending on the value, really. We don’t do it. For us. It’s it’s a little too gimmicky for our style of business.

Because there’s there’s other ways to go around that and bring value to your to your customer. And so we don’t do any of the you know, we get asked a question all the time, right? Do you? Do you have the buy one and get three free. And we just kind of respond with similar, you know, we don’t, but you’ll notice a price difference really quickly when you come into our tent. And that’s, that’s a big, big value side of things. And that’s, that’s not even talking quality. Just just more from from a price standpoint, because of course, a lot of our customers, you know, we were talking about bang for your buck, they want the best bang for your buck, and they very price conscious, which is fine. And so we very much accommodate on the price side of things too.

Lane Hickenbottom 10:41
So, very good. So, yeah, so once again, back to like trying to figure out how to spend $100.

Ryan Steffen 10:48
Yes. So I brought you a gift.

Lane Hickenbottom 10:50
You brought me a box.

Ryan Steffen 10:53
Brown box.

Lane Hickenbottom 10:54
Yeah. So any future guests or any businesses out that want to know that we just opened up the show to sponsorship

this show is brought to you by Twisted Thunder Fireworks

So I’m gonna pull out a knife here, and I’m going to try to do this without, yes. Hold on one second without cutting myself.

Ryan Steffen 11:15
Yes.

Lane Hickenbottom 11:16
Take a quick pause here.

Ryan Steffen 11:18
Don’t need to cut yourself.

Lane Hickenbottom 11:23
Let this thing up. Put a rip into it. Thanks. Here we go. Yeah, it’s the pop opening up the box. That’s fun.

Ryan Steffen 11:31
That’s right.

So back, yeah, back to your question.

You know, 100 bucks. It’s, it’s interesting. You said that so because that’s very common, right? somebody you know, they come in say, Alright, kid, you got 100 bucks to go spend, right? So what you have in your hand, this is our $100 nighttime package.

Lane Hickenbottom 11:50
Okay

Ryan Steffen 11:50
and kind of going back to the value of what we do. You can go and buy a pre packaged assortment.

Lane Hickenbottom 11:56
Oh my gosh, this is awesome.

Ryan Steffen 11:58
You can go buy a pre packaged assortment. You know, it’s got the like the cellophane wrap on it. It’s got a box all the artwork and everything. Obviously this is just brown box. It’s not as fancy we put more money into the into the product and then the then the packaging, but

Lane Hickenbottom 12:12
it seems more helpful. I mean, it’s like those those big long, like, lot of artwork boxes, like they sit on your driveway very easily that way, right. It’s a becomes a mess immediately. But this is all like, contained in a box. I would want

Ryan Steffen 12:28
Yes. So this this particular This is our $100 family nighttime package. It’s perfect forthe the person that doesn’t want to spend hours in the tents. It’s perfect for if you’re just going to you need to pick something up super quick. Get to the family event. This is perfect. So there’s two boxes of artillery shells in there.

Lane Hickenbottom 12:49
Okay, so that’s what I’m seeing right here. Right?

Ryan Steffen 12:50
Yep, you got it.

Lane Hickenbottom 12:53
These two boxes of artillery shells?

Ryan Steffen 12:55
Yep.

Lane Hickenbottom 12:55
Cool.

Ryan Steffen 12:56
And so typically, in most tents, you’ll find those for sale this year for 10 bucks a piece, right? So there’s 20 bucks already right there that you know, and this thing’s just loaded up. So it’s mixed with a lot of different cakes. A lot of different fountains.

Lane Hickenbottom 13:09
Oh my gosh, what’s this here? So this is called the lighthouse.

Ryan Steffen 13:13
Yes, this is the lighthouse fountain we love this thing. It’s an incredible value last long and then at the end you see the blue the I know the the listeners can’t but the blue, the yellow and the green. They’ll it’ll kind of spark and light up like a lighthouse at the very end.

Lane Hickenbottom 13:28
Very cool. So basically, it’s a fountain or up in the sky.

Ryan Steffen 13:32
It is a fountain. Yeah, yep. But it is it is a very good, very good value.

Lane Hickenbottom 13:36
Very cool

Yeah, pulling stuff out here. So we’ve got this call the mighty minis.

Ryan Steffen 13:44
Yep. So there’s a pair of those and those are kind of those smaller cakes, but it’s something fun. That’s, you know, it’s not a big huge item, the kids can light it. We typically recommend for these smaller items like this to try and secure him down maybe with some rocks or a cinder block or to just because I mean something like that always has a chance to tipping over. But you know, we we always we always recommend just to secure him You can never be too safe and and so we recommend that with with a lot of stuff. So

Lane Hickenbottom 14:14
Cool. I like hearing these safety tips, Ryan. Yes, this is good stuff.

Ryan Steffen 14:17
Yes. We’ll have love some more for you.

Lane Hickenbottom 14:19
So here we’ve got some candles,

Ryan Steffen 14:20
the classic Roman candles.

Lane Hickenbottom 14:22
Yes

Ryan Steffen 14:22
right.

Another safety tip. And of course I know I say this not everybody listens. But the actual you’re not supposed to hold these contrary.

Lane Hickenbottom 14:33
What?

Ryan Steffen 14:33
Yes.

Lane Hickenbottom 14:34
Is that true?

Ryan Steffen 14:35
Yeah. You’re You’re not supposed to hold them. So you can say come down some people time to rebar. You can put them in a an artillery shell tube. So they stand vertical kind of multipurpose air I guess but

Lane Hickenbottom 14:48
okay.

Ryan Steffen 14:49
But yeah, so of course, you know, people have roman candle fights all the time, you know, but, but no, the true rule is, is you’re not you’re not supposed to hold them. Okay, so But yeah, we have some of those like said it’s kind of jam packed full of. There’s fountains, cakes, there’s there’s little items like that pure fantasy, that’s another fountain item. So we just kind of put a really good blend in there. And I think you’ll start getting into some of the kicks.

Lane Hickenbottom 15:16
There’s so much in here.

Ryan Steffen 15:18
There is a lot in there.

Lane Hickenbottom 15:19
Yeah, there is a lot in here, right? So I feel like Ryan, I’m gonna switch up my ways. I’ve been going to the buy one. Yeah, get three free places, and I’ve not been getting this much for $100 I can tell you that.

Ryan Steffen 15:34
Yes. Yep. And so there’s a lot of different ways we have some very analytical customers that will price stuff out they’ll you know, compare it and all sorts of different stuff. This is jam packed. This is more than $100 retail even at our stand and the thing with us we focus on Moses quality again we’re Pyros that at heart we’re nerdy it’s some people don’t believe me when I tell them as a group as a whole we watch over 10,000 YouTube videos every year looking at different products seeing how they perform wow and there’s there’s you can’t tell everything from a video that we do in person but but we watched the videos we know what to look for. And and so there’s a lot of value that we can see. And yeah a lot of people don’t but yeah 10,000 videos YouTube clips of different products every year every single year it’s it’s a lot it’s it’s crazy.

Lane Hickenbottom 16:34
Is there an easy way to get a sense for what I should feel good about having my kids light as opposed to maybe adult supervision only is it just a purely a size thing?

Ryan Steffen 16:47
Not always size thing most of the stuff in this package particularly in fact probably all of it would be you know could be hand lit and we try to cater to that with with this package specifically there’s some cakes it’s it’s more risk tolerance I guess from from the parents some people don’t want them lighting bigger stuff

Lane Hickenbottom 17:08
sure

Ryan Steffen 17:10
Some people only want them to be able to light the the smaller stuff not the cakes so that’s Boomtown is another cake. So that’s an aerial option.

Lane Hickenbottom 17:17
Okay,

Ryan Steffen 17:18
and that is you know, some parents don’t want the kids to be able to you know, of course pending age as well that’s always a big factor to you know, somebody that’s eight or 10 or 13 is going to be able to light a lot different type of items and somebody who’s you know, four or five six we try and cater to that but but yeah, there’s there’s cakes mixed in there too. But the fountains I mean they can pretty much light everything yes yeah I mean we try and cater to that with the family nighttime theme package it’s just a good jumbled value of a lot of good stuff in there.

Lane Hickenbottom 17:53
The prank box

Ryan Steffen 17:54
prank box so this is another fountain it’s really good item good duration on this. And so that’s you know another item that kids could for sure light.

Lane Hickenbottom 18:05
I do my best but not being a great consumer of fireworks…help me read the labels and so this this the Saturn missiles so I’m part of it i think is just becoming familiar by year after year getting similar things is every year like the word Saturn missiles means absolutely nothing, right. Like basically you’re trying to eyeball like by seeing this. Like if I just look at this I’m guessing it’s gonna shriek and whistle and Yep, and fire off sailed rockets, right?

Ryan Steffen 18:40
Yep. So in this is this is 100 shot Saturn battery missile. And you got it. It’s a base there’s no Well, there are some with reports. This one in particular, not like big breaks, but they’ll do a little crackle at the top different ones have different effects. But yeah, the classic Saturn battery missile it is. You basically you light it and it’s 100 shots of like you said the what some would call the annoying screeching you know, howling and it’s just 100 of them. So it’s, it gets it gets really fun when you have the big ones that are 750 shot. those are those are loud and noisy and that keg party.

Lane Hickenbottom 19:18
That’s that’s kind of that’s what we’re having here.

Ryan Steffen 19:20
Yeah, that’s right.

Lane Hickenbottom 19:21
Keg party

Ryan Steffen 19:22
Cheers to you, sir.

So this is another really good found value, value on price. But again, good duration, really good effects. Just good stuff for the street. It’s safe distance wise. You know, even with with so many cars in the street, we think about that around the fourth at the family gatherings and stuff. You know, there’s not, you know, you don’t have to have a whole wide open space for some of this stuff. Some of it goes, you know, 1020 feet in the air. And you can typically gauge that by the size of the fountain typically means it’s going to be bigger. So

Lane Hickenbottom 19:58
you just made me think of something thing I think about when you mentioned like being out in the street. So at the end, there’s this huge cardboard mess is this stuff after it’s been shot with the with the gunpowder residue and stuff? It’s mostly cardboard? Is it recyclable? Or does it seem to go in the trash?

Ryan Steffen 20:16
It can’t well, so it can be we typically recommend to go in the trash, but the most important thing is soak it in water.

Lane Hickenbottom 20:25
Oh, okay.

Ryan Steffen 20:26
Or, you know, so we typically recommend people have different methods, but you can have a bucket of water five gallon bucket of water out, you can either throw all your stuff in there, or at least dunk it. Because this obviously, you don’t want to throw in the trash right away, let it cool down. A lot of other people will also just let it cool overnight, set it on the curb for the night. And then, you know, the next day with with cleanup, you can you can put it into the trash.

Lane Hickenbottom 20:53
So my parents in LA, they live in a farm about an hour away from here. And every year, we have a big Fourth of July party and out there on the farm. You know, they burn all their trash. And so ultimately, like it’s basically like, load it all up and heap it into the trash barrel lighted up and then the show’s not over.

Ryan Steffen 21:15
Yeah. I was gonna say the only thing and that’s, you know, farms a whole different case whole versus the, you know, in the city, but yeah, that. Yeah, like you said, see if there’s another show if you know, maybe double check, make sure everything’s been discharged completely.

Lane Hickenbottom 21:33
So, okay, so this looks fun. We’ve got

Ryan Steffen 21:38
American during American during this last year, we hope so. Yeah, yes. And so that’s the sky bacon products. It’s so funny. I say sky bacon now. But the average person they’ve never heard of Sky Bacon. And so you think about it literally. Bacon. Everybody loves bacon in the sky. So we absolutely love this brand. This is from one of our vendors down in Missouri. And this is a really good fountain. It’s, yeah, we love sky bacon, we we have a lot of products of theirs in our tents. And we really, really enjoy the quality. Not only the quality, but and not to get too far into the weeds here. But believe if you could believe this or not consistency is is a key item in the fireworks industry when you’re talking with China. Oh, sure. Yeah, yeah. wouldn’t ever guessed. Right. So it’s really shocking, right? So they are, they are probably one of our most consistent vendors in terms of quality of product. We know if we buy it one year, we still do our due diligence, but the odds are pretty high, it’s going to be just as good performing as as it was last year. So this is, this is a really, really interesting thing that I didn’t even know really 510 years ago, I’ve been always nerdy about fireworks, but you know, they run new runs every year of a certain product. And it’ll have the same label. But maybe the 2021 version isn’t as good as the 2020 version. And so the average consumer has no idea about that.

Lane Hickenbottom 23:07
Right.

Ryan Steffen 23:07
Right. Absolutely not. And so that is part of our secret sauce, in what we do, and why we watch 10,000 plus YouTube videos is to really be able to analyze that for the consumer, so they don’t have to worry. And when I when I say watered down, maybe it doesn’t have as much pop, or as much color, the colors aren’t as vibrant. It’s not as big. There’s so many different factors that go into that we, of course, we don’t expect the average consumer who’s you know, buys fireworks once a year to, you know, to look at that type of stuff. So we do a lot of the heavy lifting on that side of things. Of course, for us, it’s fun, we enjoy doing it. But also, we we told ourselves when we started we never really wanted to have the the customer disappointment of, Hey, I bought this last year and it was insane. People were coming down the street asking where I got that from I bought it again this year, and it sucked, you know. And so that’s that’s stuff that we never want to do. So every year, I mean, we have products that we discontinued, because that happens. And so there’s there’s different things that, again, average consumer would never know or even care about. But we care about it. And we want our customers to not be disappointed one year over the next or whatever the case is. So yeah, so what are some good questions that uh, that are inquiring consumer when they come into a tent? They’re one to make sure that their dollar goes well, should they so they talked to one of you? I guess you guys are probably pretty busy when you’re there. But Yep. Yeah. What are some good questions? Yeah. So our 10 staff, I mean, we have a lot of returning staff that keep coming back and very knowledgeable. I would say, Here I’ll throw this out at you to another big myth. A lot of people make the mistake of is the heavier it is, the better it is.

Lane Hickenbottom 24:53
Yeah, I guess I would think the same thing.

Ryan Steffen 24:55
Exactly. And that’s it’s true. A lot of times, however, Of course China they get smart, right? And so

Lane Hickenbottom 25:03
They put gravel in it for it?

Ryan Steffen 25:05
Well, it’s actually it’s clay. So the the basis of some of these cakes are, they just add it’s full of clay more clay powder as the base more than it needs to be anyway. And so extra cardboard sometimes there’s a wood base, add in clay and all this stuff and if it’s bigger, it looks impressive, they’re able to slap a big price tag on it. Some justifiably so but not all of them. So just because it’s heavy does not always mean it’s going to blow your mind away. So something to think about there. But when asking when asking somebody at a tent, a tent or a stand, I would I would ask them what’s their favorite item? Because if they’ve been there, they’ve probably shut you know they’ve shot off products and then also what’s the number one seller and there’s so many different categories whether you’re talking artillery shells, whether you’re talking cakes, fountains, novelties for kids, there’s so many different things to ask, but you say hey, what’s your best artillery shell you have here? What’s your best 500 grand cake or 200 grand cake. And the difference there? There’s there’s three main categories when it comes to cakes and a cake is some of the ones you picked up like the Boomtown or the pinguino. There you go. Yeah,

Lane Hickenbottom 26:23
pinguino

Ryan Steffen 26:24
Yep. So that’s that’s a cake. It’s a smaller one.

Lane Hickenbottom 26:27
So for those of you who can’t see the video, this is a kind of hexagon box fits in the palm of my hand about six inches taller.

Ryan Steffen 26:37
So yeah, yeah. And so this is a 200 gram cake. When you talk about the grams, it’s basically talking about the composition that can go into it. Because there’s limits, you cannot put in more than 500 grams into one cake. That’s not a Nebraska, that’s a, that’s a national that’s in the NFA nfpa laws. Get nerdy here, sorry, I’m not trying to bring, you know, codes on you. But so this is a 200 gram cake. So you can ask him the 200 gram, there’s also another category 350 gram cakes. And then the bigger ones are the 500 gram. So that’s typically going to be either your biggest shot count, or your biggest boom, basically, or a mixture of both. So some people will say, you know, I don’t want to buy this 500 gram cake, because maybe it’s, I don’t know, 60 bucks for and it’s only nine shots. Well, those nine shots are huge. And they’re impressive. Typically, I guess depending upon which tent you go to kind of that value in the nerdy of making sure it’s good. versus if you buy another 500 gram cake, that’s maybe 50 shots or 42 shots or something like that. They’re going to be smaller, the breaks are going to be smaller. Because there’s higher whatever it is it still has to land at that 500 gram it can’t exceed that. Due to the the regulations.

Lane Hickenbottom 27:56
Okay.

Ryan Steffen 27:56
Yep.

Lane Hickenbottom 27:57
Recognize the you’re in the in the business of making the boom and

Ryan Steffen 28:04
making the boom making. I like that.

Lane Hickenbottom 28:06
Ryan brings the boom Yeah. In not so much in softening the boom but for for people who have pets, is that something? Do you have advice for people who maybe have a dog that hates the fourth of July.

Ryan Steffen 28:23
So there’s there’s this is a very big topic, and we actually kind of took this head on. We actually partnered with a company. That’s called heavenly hounds.

Lane Hickenbottom 28:35
Okay,

Ryan Steffen 28:35
it’s a little peanut butter bar that they can eat depending upon the size of the dog. It’s it’s about three inches by three inches. And they can eat it. It’s it’s a relaxation treat for animals. People have asked about cats too. And the answer we get is cats are picky eaters. If they can eat it, it’ll help. We don’t know if they’ll eat it. So

but it’s it’s a very big topic. So a really popular option. Have you ever seen or heard of those Thunder jackets?

Lane Hickenbottom 29:06
I haven’t. No.

Ryan Steffen 29:07
Okay, so there’s something called a thunder jacket. It’s basically like a vest almost for a dog.

Lane Hickenbottom 29:12
Oh, okay.

Ryan Steffen 29:13
And it basically it gives them kind of that protection. It’s tied to their skin. And it helps with thunderstorms and fireworks. And fireworks. Yep. So there’s a lot of different ways to approach this. Another really unique tip is you can actually start maybe a week, couple weeks before the fourth or before the season, maybe beginning first first or second week of June. It’s a weird one. But you can start playing fireworks noises on your speakers or whatever at home if you have like an Alexa or your phone or whatever, just you know at a lower volume and not as frequent but you can start ramping that up as it gets closer to season.

Lane Hickenbottom 29:55
So it’s interesting tip

Ryan Steffen 29:56
Yeah, So it’s more normalized for them and because in the tough one really is of course when you let your pops out to go to the bathroom that’s always a tough one because like you said it’s a war zone come closer to season and the fourth Those are some really good options. People are brought up the the CBD option before some people go that route are heavenly hounds bars, they are not CBD. But what we love about them in that company is all of their treats are actually made in a human food grade. Oh, now so you know, it’s safe. Yep. Yep. And I was a little skeptical. So before we decided to partner with them, I you know, I got some samples I tested on on my pups. And I have two labs.

Lane Hickenbottom 30:37
I thought you’re gonna say that you try them yourself.

Ryan Steffen 30:39
Yeah, well, hey, I peanut butter, maybe? No, so they they are, but they worked great.

Lane Hickenbottom 30:47
Really, good.

Ryan Steffen 30:48
Honestly, I was not expecting to see my older lab. She is she’s now 14. And she was out. Put it like and, you know, so the bigger dogs I think it’s over 50 pounds or something like that they can have a full bar. But the smaller you know, in the 10 to 20 pound dogs you know they have like a little quarter of a bar. So there’s there’s a lot of different options that you can do but the music one or excuse me the the firework sounds throughout the house. Just couple weeks before, we’ve heard that seems to work a good a good chunk. But yeah, I would encourage anybody also to if their dogs are really bad just to Google that they’re called Thunder jackets. So just to see even get them different sizes, of course for different dogs, but those tend to help just that compression against their skin. It makes them feel safer. It absorbs a lot of the you know, the sound, I guess so to speak or the vibration of the sound. And so yeah, those are those are some good ones for the pups. We love her pop. So we were like, well, we gotta we got to figure something out here. So,

Lane Hickenbottom 31:49
Ryan, you’re providing so much great advice here. Are there any other tips or questions that I should be asking any, any other tidbits you just think that our listeners would benefit from?

Ryan Steffen 32:01
Yeah, man, there’s, there’s so many I would say from from the safety side of things, you know, especially for the littles, the kiddos, punks. So every customer that leaves the tent, we you know, of course, they get some punks. But I actually I do encourage those just because of course they’re longer, they’re extended away from the kids hands, you know, of course, just within caution, but it’s not it’s not an open flame, it makes it just safer. Especially, you know, you and I maybe not mind if we go light something with a lighter or something like that. But when your hands that close to a fuse, what does it do when you let it it starts sparking? well with the kids, I mean, that can burn so the punks are really valuable. Those, those are really good. I already mentioned the the Roman candles, you know, just kind of an extra extra tidbit there. Just not to not to hold those. So, I mean, just from the safety stand in the biggest thing too, when you start talking your aerials distances your friend, sure, you know, it’s at the end of the day, I think I’ve I’ve hit home plenty that we focus on quality, and that’s 100% our focus, but at the end of the day, it’s still China, I mean, they’re they’re producing hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of 1000s of items at a very rapid pace. And so from a quality control, quality control standpoint, we can’t, you know, we can do our best to make sure we’re buying from factories that are very well known over there with their strict guidelines. But something could always happen, whether it tips over, some can blow out of the side, whatever the case is, so you can never be too safe with the stuff distances your friend. And if you want to make your own little barricades, you know, I recommend that too, just because if something shoots out the side, we’ve all we’ve all heard those stories, right.

Lane Hickenbottom 33:49
Yeah.

Ryan Steffen 33:49
And so you can never be too safe with that type of stuff. And, and never think that if someone makes fun of you for that, I mean, you can ever be to your family, your friends and family. So you can never be too safe on on that side of things. So Other questions? I don’t, I don’t can’t think of anything.

Lane Hickenbottom 34:10
I feel like you’ve you’ve given us a lot to chew on. And for anyone who’s listening to this, right now, you know the the holiday at the time that we’re launching this the holidays right here. So I definitely encourage you if you’re in if you’re in the area that has a Twisted Thunder stand, where all are you?

Ryan Steffen 34:34
So we have we have a couple weird ones weigh on the western side of Nebraska, like and when I say western, I don’t mean Kearney because that’s not western. They’re about

Lane Hickenbottom 34:46
well is west of Lincoln

Ryan Steffen 34:48
It is west of Lincoln so that is western Nebraska, right.

So we have a couple there. They’re about they’re out in the sandhills though. like five, six hours west.

Lane Hickenbottom 34:58
So what areas?

Ryan Steffen 35:00
super small towns once called Thedford, some people have also heard of like Halsy National Park out there. Yep. And then just south of there a couple hours. There’s a little place called Hayes center. But those two are on the western side and then as far as like the the Lincoln Omaha metro area, we have where it all started is in Mead, Nebraska. Some people have never heard of Mead, but have heard of Utan if they’ve never heard of both those. I basically I just tell them like thinking Omaha terms. It’s basically like 370 and Center.

Lane Hickenbottom 35:31
Okay.

Ryan Steffen 35:33
So Center turns into highway 92 it’s about a 20-25 minute drive from the metro and then our other repeat location that was its first year last year is in Bennett, suburb just south of Lincoln. So Bennett, Nebraska and then two new ones are Valparaiso, which is basically between Mead and Lincoln. And then we finally got into the bing O any guesses where you can’t get much more central than where we then are

Lane Hickenbottom 36:01
more central? So if it’s not 72nd and Dodge just slightly west of there like I think you got 680 and you got 80 or you got Dodge?

Ryan Steffen 36:11
Nailed it right there. 10000 California at Westroads

Lane Hickenbottom 36:15
Westroads

Ryan Steffen 36:16
Westroads Mall yeah

Lane Hickenbottom 36:17
Fantastic what a great location

Ryan Steffen 36:19
Yeah, we’ll be we’ll be basically on the northwest corner lot. Just what is that just north of the Granite City and literally right across the street from Top Golf.

Lane Hickenbottom 36:29
Great.

Ryan Steffen 36:29
That’s the goal. So yes, sir. That’s locations. Yep.

Lane Hickenbottom 36:32
If you want to if you want to know more, definitely check out www.twistedthunder.com check them out on Facebook @twistedthunder, Ryan Steffen. It’s been a lot of fun, happy. Thanks for helping us be better consumers safer and having a great Fourth of July.

Ryan Steffen 36:52
Awesome. Yeah, I had a blast, man. It was super fun. I love what you’re doing. Love the podcast.

Lane Hickenbottom 36:56
Thank you. Thanks for coming and Getting AheadShot Yeah,

Ryan Steffen 36:58
that’s right. I love it. Very good. Well, thanks for having me.

Announcer 37:06
Thanks for listening to the Getting AheadShot podcast recorded inside the Omaha headshot company studio to support the podcast, share it with others post about it on social media or leave a five star review to learn more go to Getting aheadshot.com We look forward to seeing you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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