• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 15s

Sisters continue family firework legacy

By Heather Hintze 7:16 PM July 4, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

They’re not who you might expect to find behind the scenes at a pyrotechnics show, but Meghan and Kylie Clark are right at home in a parking lot filled with PVC pipe and explosives.

“We have a lot of non-verbal communication between us,” Meghan said. “So it limits…”

“… bringing other people in,” Kylie laughed, finishing Meghan’s sentence.

The women are third-generation pyrotechnics. Their company, Alaska Pyrotechnics, has deep roots in the Last Frontier.

James Norene initially founded it as Western Fireworks in the garage of his Mountain View home in 1949.

Kylie said she and Meghan always thought of him as a grandfather. In fact, Kylie said they didn’t even know he wasn’t a blood relative until she was about 11.

Their father, Rodney, eventually bought the company and changed the name to Alaska Pyrotechnics.

Meghan and Kylie took over the company when he suddenly passed away in 2008.

“My dad was exactly the kind of guy you would expect to walk in the room when you hired a pyro,” Kylie explained. “He was a great, big guy. He was a machinist by trade: A big, strong guy with a deep voice and a big beard,” she smiled.

Growing up in the explosives industry, discussions of dynamite dominated the dinner table for the Clark sisters.

“A lot of our stories around the Thanksgiving table were of pyro shows and what worked and what didn’t and the way they used to do it, the way our grandfather did it,” Megan reminisced.

“I don’t know that I would have ever gotten into it if I hadn’t been raised around it,” Kylie chuckled. “It’s just a weird job to have.”

Their father built all the racks and developed the system they still use for all their fireworks shows.

It was sunny and 70 degrees as they set up for the Fourth of July show at Mulcahy Stadium, but in Alaska, the weather’s not always that nice.

Their equipment is made to withstand temperatures of 65-below.

“Be ready for anything. That’s exactly it. We fly all around the state and do shows in some pretty extreme conditions, so we’re really enjoying the weather today,” Kylie said Friday.

Getting ready for the big Independence Day show definitely puts the “work” in fireworks. Megan said it’s all worth it in the end though.

“Hands down, yeah. It’s a great job. Any community we go to people are really happy to see us because we’re the fireworks guys,” she said.

They plan is to be the go-to for fireworks …

“I’m pregnant with my first, so this will be their first show,” Kylie laughed.

… until the fourth generation is ready to light the fuse.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Anchorage man hopes to revitalize Ahtna language with new children’s book

    by Heather Hintze on Dec 17, 21:32

    It all starts with a story. “Ndoxe Tiziyaas?” asked Grant Rebne. That’s half of the title of his new children’s book, with the other half translating to English as “Where are you going?” Rebne hopes the book will inspire people to learn and preserve his native language, Ahtna. “Our language shows our culture,” Rebne said. “It’s who […]

  • News

    Alaska Zoo takes in orphaned bear cubs

    by Bonney Bowman on Dec 17, 21:21

    Two orphaned black bear cubs will have a second shot at life thanks to some TLC at the Alaska Zoo. One of the cubs, a 29-pound male, was found living under a porch in Eagle with an infected bite wound. The other, a 15-pound female, is from Kasilof. She was very underweight, according to zoo executives. […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Dec. 17

    by KTVA Weather on Dec 17, 19:34

    Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound Sun starts to peek through towards Homer. Southeast Expect rain towards the south and mostly cloudy skies towards the north. Interior and North Slope In the Interior, skies will be mostly cloudy. On the North Slope, skies will be cloudy with early fog. Mat-Su Valley Sun makes a come […]

  • News

    2 Alaskan women receive Congressional Gold Medal for WWII service

    by Lauren Maxwell on Dec 17, 19:26

    Two Alaskan women share a special honor. Jean White and Jane Soeten were recently awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in Washington, D.C. for their volunteer service in the Civil Air Patrol during World War II. White is 93 years old and has lived in Anchorage for over 50 years. Soeten, 87, moved to Wasilla two years ago. […]

  • News

    200 baby turtles rescued at Anchorage airport

    by Shannon Ballard on Dec 17, 18:24

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seized more than 200 live, baby turtles that were being smuggled to China for the food and pet trade in September. As the turtles made their way through Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in September, officials discovered them packed inside boots, according to the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. As […]

  • News

    Sony cancels Christmas release of ‘The Interview’

    by CNN / AP on Dec 17, 15:59

    WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama says his administration is taking the cyberattack against Sony studios seriously. He says people should “go to the movies.” Sony said Wednesday it was canceling the Dec. 25 release of “The Interview” after many theaters said they would hold off on screening the film. Threats have been made against theaters […]

  • DayBreak

    On the couch with vlogger Cory Williams, Dec. 17

    by Daybreak Staff on Dec 17, 15:04

    Video blogger Cory Williams, better known as DudeLikeHELLA, returned to the original frozen lake that made the “coolest sound ever” when he skipped rocks on it. This time, however, he was welcomed by the scariest sounds ever, he says. “I start walking out and then all of a sudden these crazy noises, like the Loch […]

  • News

    Anchorage police seek help finding 13-year-old runaway

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 17, 15:03

    Anchorage police are seeking the public’s help finding a 13-year-old runaway. Kayleas Gray was last seen at her Chugach Way residence Tuesday night. She was reported missing Wednesday morning around 8 a.m., according to a statement from the Anchorage Police Department. Neither friends nor family have seen or heard from Kayleas since, police say. Kayleas is […]