TACOMA, Wash. — What would the Mariners' most memorable moments be without the fireworks lighting up the Kingdome ceiling?
Or the Seahawks run out of the tunnel without the flames?
How about the Huskies minus the purple smoke?
All are thanks to Rick Olsen and his Tacoma company, Pyro & Fire FX.
"If somethin' doesn't fire, people are wondering why," says Rick, acknowledging the inherent pressure of his profession.
"Russell Wilson just went through the tunnel and you can't go, well let's bring him back and try this again. Take two. It doesn't work."
He was a firefighter in Pierce County for 17 years when he started working with pyrotechnics on his days off.
His side hustle became his life's work when he sat in the Kingdome stands one night.
"I'd taken one of my kids to a Mariner game. And there was a little toddler about 5 or 6 years old, standing with his mom and dad in the row in front of us. When Griffey came up, he said, 'Hit the ball and make the fireworks go off!' Changed my whole outlook on it."
Now Rick does work for just about every sporting event in the Northwest. Movies and TV shows like "Grimm" and "Z Nation" have used his company. And they light up the stage for acts like Macklemore and KISS too.
"We get asked to do some kind of weird things."
Rick says one of the thrills of his career was getting to set off some fireworks for the ball drop above Times Square for the new millennium.
And yes, they do weddings!