Pahrump showcases Independence Day spirit

Despite the cancellation of the Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce’s annual Independence Day Liberty Festival at Petrack Park this year, the community saw no shortage of related activities for area residents to enjoy on Tuesday.

The annual Fourth of July parade in the Calvada Eye went off without a hitch again this year, organizers said.

Parade Committee Coordinator Linda Wright said she received more than 20 entries for the popular annual event.

“We had 22 entries for the parade, and we also had several last-minute entries, which was nice,” she said. “We had five categories for the winners of this year’s parade. All of the winners were very grateful and appreciative. The parade was very well attended this year, and each year we get a few more people around the Calvada Eye.”

Of the five categories, the Most Enthusiastic trophy went to Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Services, where crews rode in several fire department apparatuses while sounding their sirens and horns.

“We went over and presented them with their trophy on Tuesday,” Wright said. “They were really surprised.”

Taking home honors in the Most Family-Friendly category went to Pahrump’s TNL Handyman, while the Most Original trophy went to the Pahrump Gunfighters.

“Most Patriotic went to the Nye County Republican Party,” Wright said. “The Judges’ Choice trophy went to Heritage Bible Church. We chose Heritage Bible Church because they displayed what Independence Day is all about. They had the patriotic theme, they also had God and a little bit of Elvis Presley. They had everything but the apple pie.”

Early start

Wright said the day began with a special pancake breakfast fundraiser beginning at 6 a.m.

“The pancake breakfast went very well,” she said. “The VFW packed up everything to the Calvada Eye. People came out early and set up their lawn chairs to have breakfast before the parade began. Once again, the VFW, along with county commissioners Butch Borasky and Dan Schinhofen organized the parade. I want to thank all of the volunteers for their help with the July Fourth festivities this year. It was a complete team effort and everyone did a very good job.”

“I was very happy to be part of this tenth annual parade,” Commissioner Schinhofen said. “Commissioner Borasky and I went to the VFW years ago and pitched this idea. They have been great at making this happen and doing the pancake breakfast. All the funds generated for this event go to the VFW to support their charitable works.

“For the past 10 years, Mike Schmidt has donated the trophies for this event, and I am very grateful for that,” Schinhofen said. “We had a great fireworks show at Petrack Park and we had a good turnout at the fairgrounds where you can shoot off aerial fireworks bought here in Nye County.”

Wright, meanwhile, also mentioned a few possible alterations for next year’s Fourth of July festivities.

“We have a few things that we might change around for next year’s event,” she said. “They will all be improvements, so we are only getting better and better.”

The scene

The breakfast and parade served as precursors to what is easily the most popular July Fourth activity in town, as local and non-local residents lit up the sky with fireworks.

Town of Pahrump Buildings and Grounds Manager Matt Luis said the fireworks shooters’ site on the south end of town was awash with Independence Day revelers once again this year.

“The shooters’ site continues to grow and grow each year out there,” he said. “The site was scheduled to close down at 11 p.m., but there were so many people out there, we stretched it out to 12 a.m. My apologies to the community because I’m sure I’m going to hear about it.”

Luis also spoke about the positive reaction among those who used the facility.

He noted that the shooters’ site has been a very positive element for the community.

“I was recently talking to a resident who shot their fireworks at the shooters’ site and we were discussing that we could take this very far with the local fireworks association, which consists of the five fireworks stores here in town,” Luis said. “From (the) beginning, we had an agreement on how we were going to operate that site. It has been very pleasant to work with these good folks. They are still behind everything they have offered and it just has been a real, real good relationship with the town.”

Holiday destination

Additionally, Luis said Independence Day consistently lures individuals and families from adjoining states, to the Pahrump Valley every year.

“The gentleman I was talking to said he could not believe how many people came into town and rented a room for a few nights for the Fourth of July so they could shoot fireworks off in town,” he said. “We are getting people from Arizona, California, and other surrounding states and areas. I never realized how passionate people are about their fireworks.”

Using the shooters’ site is quite simple. Once revelers arrive, they are escorted to a “shooters’ pad” by golf carts where they can fire off their works.

Luis noted that each shooters’ pad is 150 square feet.

“People just absolutely love having their own area to shoot off their fireworks,” Luis said. “We’re also talking about things that we could change for next year to really improve everything. This whole thing has been a learning process every time we shoot, and we get more people. This is the third year for the fireworks shooters’ site. It’s important to keep in mind that all of that money goes to developing the Pahrump Fairgrounds.”

Though Luis and his crews were quite busy Tuesday evening, much of their work took place again on Wednesday morning.

“There was quite a bit of spent fireworks to clean up,” he said. “We always make it a point to clean up the day after each shoot, because it provides enough time for the fireworks to cool down so they don’t restart fires.”

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at, on Twitter: @pvtimes