By Travis Mounts, TSnews
Victory Pyrotechnics, a business with ties to Clearwater, is now part of the show at Kansas State Wildcats home football games.
Cody Hanna, a Clearwater High School graduate, started his business four years ago. His first pyrotechnics show was for the City of Clearwater’s Independence Day celebration.
Now, Hanna and his crew are lighting lights and setting off fireworks during the Wildcats’ pregame show, after every K-State touchdown and after KSU victories at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan.
Hanna, who just graduated from K-State, approached the Wildcats’ athletic department with his partner and fellow K-State alumna, Kennady King, about taking over the pyrotechnics at football games.
“It’s a whole new realm, completely different from what we’re used to,” Hanna said by phone on Monday.
Instead of putting on a 15-20 minute show, Victory Pyrotechnics performs in very short moments that, outside of the pre-game introductions, are not scheduled.
“We’re not the main show anymore. It’s a different vibe,” he said. “We do the entrance pyros. We’re behind all the lighting on either side of the tunnel, the pyro on the field and the pyro on the stadium.”
The Wildcats have performed well in winning their first two games, both at “The Bill.”
“We ran through all our pyros in both games,” he said. “We hope that continues for K-State.”
That is a good problem. It means the Wildcats are playing well, and Hanna and his crew do not have to pack up fireworks and take them home.
While Victory Pyrotechnics is just a small part of the game experience, the K-State games represent the company’s largest audience, with more than 50,000 people in attendance.
Most of Victory’s business over the past four years has centered on Independence Day. Their business is growing, however. Victory will be providing the fireworks shows for the Maize and Goddard fall festivals next month and an upcoming event in Colwich. They recently provided the fireworks for the SummerBall ShowDown in Goddard in August and for the recent Automobilia auto show in downtown Wichita.
Victory puts on traditional displays, pyromusical productions that also incorporate choreographed music along with lighting and other special effects, and other special services. The presentations are much more than just fireworks.
Hanna had long been involved in shooting backyard fireworks. When he started his company in 2018, his hometown of Clearwater hired him to produce their Fourth of July fireworks. Hanna was just out of high school, and Victory has been doing Clearwater’s shows since.
The company employs more than 40 contractors during their busy summer schedule, but consists of three main employees: Hanna, who is director of business development; partner Kennady King, marketing and events coordinator; and director of operations Lee Lindquist. All are currently working other jobs, but they hope to soon become full-time employees of their companies.
That desire to expand beyond the Independence Day season led to their bid to K-State.
“We went in guns a-blazing,” Hanna said. “We went in with some ideas. They liked what we had to offer.”
He said it was similar to the approach he took with the City of Clearwater. More than once, he talked about the importance of Clearwater to the foundation of the business, which now produces more than 40 events per year. It’s been a long journey, especially during COVID-19 and while attending school full-time.
“It was never easy, going into college and all that,” he said. “It’s come a long way.”
Hanna and his business partners continue to look toward the future.
“A kid could dream. When we started, it came from that dream of doing things bigger and better. I said the Super Bowl was the goal, half-joking and half-serious,” he said.
Given how far the business has grown in just four years, providing fireworks at a future Super Bowl does not seem like a far-fetched dream.