The family business sometimes really is about family.
For Stephanie Osmond, she joined the family business as a child and has been helping people celebrate the Fourth of July ever since. Today, she’s using her business at Rudy’s Fireworks to help her daughter.
Osmond, who lives in Choctaw, but grew up in western Canadian County, is the daughter of the Oklahoma distributor for Black Cat Fireworks.
And for the past 18 years, she has been set up in the same location at Interstate 40 and Banner Road selling rockets, fire crackers and sparklers for people to enjoy.
This year is no different, only this year she has a goal. She’s raising money to help pay for a companion dog for her daughter who has Asberger’s Syndrome.
Osmond said the German shepherd puppy is currently going through training.
With Independence Day just days away, Osmond said business has been good. She expects it to get even stronger throughout the week and through the weekend. And that’s good news, not just for Osmond, but for others who work with her dad’s operation.
Osmond said the company operates about 20 stands throughout the Oklahoma City metro area, and many of those help fund nonprofit groups and churches. Organizations who use the money to help fund projects, trips and the purchase of equipment.
“We help the organizations. Without them (fireworks stands), a lot of organizations wouldn’t be able to buy equipment or fund trips. A lot of children couldn’t afford to be in the organizations,” said Osmond.
Overall, she said her dad’s operation has more than 100 firework stands across Oklahoma and Texas.
Osmond said her stand is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. until July 4.
Meanwhile, down Banner Road about a quarter mile, is Wes and Donna Hunter’s TNT tent.
The couple, both employed by Yukon Public Schools, are set up for the second year.
The Hunters took over a location that had been in place for four years. Donna Hunter’s brother, who has a similar operation near Lake Texoma, suggested the fireworks stands as an investment as well as extra income.
The couple say they will donate 10 percent of their profits to the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter.
For them, it is a family operation. They have brought in their daughters, sons-in-law and others to help out.
But Wes Hunter plans to be on the location for the duration. He camps each night in a travel trailer parked behind the tent.
“It’s a good location,” Said Wes Hunter. “It’s right in the middle, between I-40 and Route 66.”
Their prices range from 50-cents to as much as $599. They expect booming business over the next few days.
“We love the Fourth of July,” said Donna Hunter, whose birthday is July 5. “We always celebrate my birthday on the fourth.”
Both say they enjoy watching children’s eyes light up as they prepare to set off fireworks.
Hunter said they sell family packs, as well as their buy one, get one products.
“This is a good, honest way to make some extra money, and it stays in the family,” said Wes Hunter.
The stand is open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to midnight. Otherwise, it is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. through July 5.
Dry weather is cause for concern among firefighters
Firefighters across the area are keeping their fingers crossed as the Fourth of July and the popping of fireworks near.
Substantial rain in the spring lead to extra growth of grass. Now, with the recent lack of rain, another problem exists. It is drying out.
With Independence Day approaching, there is concern that the dry grass and sparks from fireworks could combine for a disastrous combustion.
Yukon Battalion Chief Chris Walls said things have been quiet so far, but firefighters are prepared for the possibility that fireworks could keep them hopping over the weekend.
“Our response is inside the city, but if a neighboring department needs help, we will assist them,” Walls said.
The department usually gets a few calls related to small fires started by fireworks, but Walls said there is always potential for something tragic to occur.
“In the 15 years I’ve worked here, there has only been one house fire because of fireworks. That’s been more than a decade ago,” he said.
However, the potential is there.
“If it were any drier, we would be running more grass fires, not necessarily in our district, but outside. You have people go out and pop fireworks and that could cause problems,” Walls said.
That’s why several years ago, Yukon enacted a fireworks ban.
Fireworks cannot be sold, bought or used in the city of Yukon.
According to Yukon City Ordinances, a ticket for the use of fireworks can cost more than $200.
Early forecasts say the weather could give some relief to firefighters. There is a chance for rain in the area over the weekend.