Light up the Sky

July 2017

Ray Overman, Maintenance Technician at Synchrony Financial in Kettering, OH, has a dazzling part-time job: shooter for Rozzi Famous Fireworks.

Ray Overman Holds FlareWith nearly 30 years of experience, Ray is in charge of several annual firework displays in the Beavercreek and Kettering area, from choreographing the show, to hand lighting the fireworks. "I usually start looking at a show right after it ends the year before," explains Ray. "You look at it and visualize it, 'I'm going to try it like this next year,' and you tweak it. The idea is to not do the same show all the time."

While many of the larger fireworks displays have upgraded to computers, Ray still hand lights all of his shows. "Me and the fireworks get close and personal, very close and personal," jokes Ray. "I get maybe a foot away when the gun goes off. I light it and turn. I don't try to run. As soon as that one's off, I have to hit the next one."

Ray is so busy during certain seasons, like the Fourth of July, that he goes from show to show. "My favorite part is hearing the people when they cheer," explains Ray. "It's not a super high-paying job, but it's the satisfaction of hearing people clapping and cheering."

"The best show I've put on… well they're all good, not to brag, when you're good, you're good," he jokes. "They're all really unique and, whichever way you do them, it's never the same layout," says Ray. I'll go to a show and plan it, write it out, and then I get there and it's 'that's not how it's going to work… okay let's just wing it!'"

Ray and Rozzi TeamRay says he's worked on the WEBN Labor Day Fireworks that are a tradition in Cincinnati, but says that "it's the same as I do up here, basically the same shells, same everything, just that one is computer shot, so you choreograph with music, but a lot of my shows are not choreographed with music, we just light the sky up."

Looking to the future, Ray says the one thing he'd like to do is get certified for flame throwers to add the pyrotechnics he sees at the Bengals games as the players run onto the field.