Firecracker Record Put to Test in Wisconsin The weeklong conference of the Pyrotechnics Guild International in Wisconsin could end with a bang. Patty Murray of Wisconsin Public Radio reports, members of PGI plan to set off a "superstring" of 10.8 million firecrackers.
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Firecracker Record Put to Test in Wisconsin

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Firecracker Record Put to Test in Wisconsin

Firecracker Record Put to Test in Wisconsin

Firecracker Record Put to Test in Wisconsin

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The weeklong conference of the Pyrotechnics Guild International in Wisconsin could end with a bang. Patty Murray of Wisconsin Public Radio reports, members of PGI plan to set off a "superstring" of 10.8 million firecrackers.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

In Wisconsin tonight, a father and son team will attempt to make history. Jim and Brandon Cook will try to set a Guinness World's Record for the most firecrackers exploded at one time.

Wisconsin Public Radio's Patty Murray caught up with the Cooks at the Annual Convention of the Pyrotechnic Skilled International as they were getting ready for their big night.

PATTY MURRAY: Here at a racecar track near Appleton, about 50 volunteers are busy unrolling 60-foot lengths of red tissue-wrapped firecrackers.

Unidentified Man: Crackers have a tendency to fall off the edge. Be careful. We can be a mess real fast.

MURRAY: Brandon Cook is supervising the action.

BRANDON COOK: Basically, we have this mass of firecrackers. And as you can see, we've been unrolling it and unrolling it, you know, one layer on top of another. They get huge queue, this stack, this string, the firecrackers. And we're gonna take that. We're gonna take the top part. We're gonna have a crane grab it and lift it up 90 feet. These firecrackers are about five times as powerful as any other kind of firecracker that you can get on a corner store, like, off the highway or, you know, Bob's Fireworks Shop. These are especially made just for this event, just for our fun. And it shows when they go off, as you will see from the, when we give you the demonstration.

MURRAY: Okay.

COOK: They burn with incredible violence and beauty. And it's fun.

JIM COOK: My name is Jim Cook and I'm from Madison, Wisconsin. I'm basically in charge of this crazy thing, which is something just north of 10 million firecrackers. Ten million, that's about 23,000 pounds of crackers in big bundles, all tied together. And then lifted and burned in one single colossal event.

MURRAY: Jim Cook says the attempt at the record will go quickly. He'll be surprised if the explosions last for five minutes.

COOK: Our biggest concern, really, since part of this string is gonna be hanging from a crane, about $1 million crane, that we don't melt that crane.

MURRAY: For NPR News, I'm Patty Murray.

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