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'Fire!' Scott Anderson and his crew won first place at PGI with this choreographed display.

"Beat Wisconsin."

That phrase, normally heard in Iowa City in the fall, has been heard at the north end of Iowa's section of the Avenue of the Saints this week.

Three hours north of Kinnick Stadium, at the North Iowa Events Center in Mason City, the fireworks builders from the Iowa Pyrotechnic Association have been trying for years to beat the builders from the Wisconsin Pyrotechnic Arts Guild. In 2012, Wisconsin won the team trophy at the Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI) Convention, with 30 points; Iowa's group came in a distant second with 16. Last year, Wisconsin won again, with 27 points, more than 10 points ahead of the second place team. Iowa's fireworks builders earned just eight points in 2013.

This year, however, just might be the year Iowa finally beats Wisconsin --and the rest of the clubs from throughout the U.S. -- and takes home the team trophy.

After the first two nights of competition, IPA members had won several first-place trophies, as well as some second-and third-place honors. Then on Tuesday, they won several more first place trophies.

Many of the IPA winners are from the Vinton area, and will be bringing their fireworks to Bootown later this month.

On Tuesday, Scott Anderson and his Penguin Pyro team of rural Brandon wowed the audience and impressed the judges with his choreographed display that was set to the old Pointers Sister song, "Fire." Heart-shaped fireworks, along with fireballs, a waterfall of sparks and a variety of other displays.

Another Vinton display won first place in the Unlimited Class Category. Tom, Eunice and Mark Pingenot of Vinton were among the IPA members involved in that project.

Charles Yedlik of Vinton was also among first -place winners, winning the trophy in the Best Medium/Large Ball Shell event as well as in the Aerial Level 3 category.

Bill Fratzke of La Porte City, one of the annual Boomtown participants, earned a first-place trophy in one of the rocket competitions on Tuesday evening.

Randy Krough, a member of Yedlik's Bar-Y staff, won first place in the Best Small Shell event; Jeanne Peiffer, who helped Scott Anderson with the hearts for his display won second place in that category.

These competitors also earned other top places.

The PGI scoring system is somewhat complicated; each competitor is limited in how many team points his or her wins can count for; the teams with competitors in many different events have the best chance of winning the team trophy.

However, the Vinton members believed they were tied with Wisconsin going into Tuesday evening's competitions, and they and their IPA colleagues won many of those events.

The team trophy and other awards, including Grand Master, will be presented at the banquet on Friday afternoon.

The Convention ends with a large public show on Friday evening, and wrap-up and clean-up activities for IPA members on Saturday.

See more photos HERE.



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