La Crosse Skyrockers fight through bitter cold setting up displa - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

La Crosse Skyrockers fight through bitter cold setting up display

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

The La Crosse Skyrockers are a staple of ringing in the new year in La Crosse, but a forecast of dangerously low temperatures prompted a change of plans.

"You know, we want people to see what we do," said the Skyrockers PR Director Marty Schmal. "[But] we don't need people getting hurt coming out in the cold to watch the fireworks either.

The Skyrockers moved their big display to 6:00pm to avoid the cold, but changes still needed to be made overall because of heavy frost. Normally, rebar and packed snow is used to secure larger mortars. Frost prevented rebar from being driven into the ground and the snow was lacking.

"We don't have a way to stabilize our guns and that's a lot of what it has to do with also," Schmal said.

That meant fewer heavy shells and single shots and a little bit of reprogramming on the electronic boards controlling ignition.

"To change the show is more challenging for us to communicate with each other than it is to physically change things," Schmal said. "It [came] down to a little bit of a last minute scramble, but that just goes to show the strength and the age of our club and our ability to do that."

Though it was bitterly cold and proved a challenge, for the Skyrockers volunteers it was all worth it.

"Knowing that everything kind of went off somewhat as planned for the most part, all of your hard work was enjoyed by people and all the cold that you suffered throughout the day had value just makes you feel good," said volunteer William Bonadurer.

The main show featured approximately 400 shots total.

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