A Bend family-owned business will run the Fourth of July fireworks show atop Pilot Butte this Sunday. It’s the the second year doing the show, and it’s going to be bigger than last year, according to Sure Shot Blasting and Fireworks owner Gary Mattison. On Friday morning, Mattison was unloading equipment on Pilot Butte’s summit while members of his team arrived in trucks hauling trailers filled with mortars, pallets and bags of sand.

“We’ve got like 12 guys on our team hauling things up and down right now,” he said.

The team includes two of Mattison’s sons, who are also certified pyrotechnicians.

“It’s all family here,” he said. “We’re local, too. We’ve been here almost 35 years.”

Mattison got into fireworks some 25 years ago when he took on some fireworks shows at Mt. Ashland Ski Area.

Two decades later, it’s fireworks full time for Mattison.

“It’s a passion,” he said.

Sure Shot also planned to handle the fireworks for the Bend Elks game Saturday night. After setting up part of Pilot Butte Friday morning, his team drove to Vince Genna Stadium for extra set up in the afternoon.

“We’re setting up all day,” he said. “It’s non-stop.”

Also included in the preparations: fire safety.

The Pilot Butte Fourth of July show will include five hand crews, two Bend Fire & Rescue fire engines, two U.S. Forest Service fire engines and Mattison’s team, who are all certified firefighters, according to Mattison.

“We’re prepared for it,” he said. “Thank god for our firefighters; otherwise this couldn’t happen.”

This year’s show will be a little different from last year’s. It’ll be bigger, for one, but Mattison didn’t give anything else away.

“Let’s just say there’s a few things we’re really excited about,” he said.

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(7) comments

John W Owen

What a tone deaf editorial judgment to splash a big fireworks at Pilot Butte story on the front page when we are all terrified about the prospect of forest fires and nervously waiting to see if Bend citizens will violate a fireworks ban. If anything the Bulletin should have campaigned to suspend all fireworks this record-breaking, temperature-shattering summer. What were you thinking ?


Wow you are unbelievable. This is a carefully planned event unlike shooting fireworks in your backyard. Stay out of traffic it is dangerous.


I echo gregb2781 - As long as all the rookie amateurs' don't go crazy, our FD can hopefully handle this. Let's all do our part.


Seriously? You must be new here. Yes, the professional fireworks show on Pilot Butte occasionally will start a small fire on the hillside, but Bend FD has enough manpower present that they always quickly take care of things no problem.


I agree with you. We are experiencing record high tempuratures in the area with dry conditions. It's a recipe for disaster. I was very surprised that the Pilot Butte fireworks had not been canceled during a fireworks ban.


John there is also a water shortage. Have you stopped drinking water? It always amazes me why certain people cannot recognize everything is not a full stop. Precautions have been taken after careful planning and yet you are still a wet rag. Leave it to the longtime locals and the servicers to handle any glitch, again they are prepared. So stay home keep your eyes shut and wait for the world to come to an end.


There is a big difference between professional and amateur fireworks. The pros carefully plan in advance for safety, fire and injuries; amateurs do not.

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