CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Every year around the Fourth of July, some Coloradans drive to Wyoming, where they can buy fireworks they can’t get in Colorado.
That's because under Colorado law, it is illegal to shoot off fireworks that explode or leave the ground.
Pete Elliott, who manages Artillery World Fireworks just across the border south of Cheyenne, Wyo., looks forward to the northern migration of Coloradans every year.
“Every [license] plate you see is pretty much Colorado,” Elliott said, pointing at the cars in the parking lot.
You often can find Elliot standing out front with his bullhorn greeting Coloradans.
“I see a lot of people. I see a lot of people ready to break loose, celebrate their independence,” said Elliott.
In some places, like Denver, all fireworks are illegal.
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“The rules are kind of rigged,” said Brayan Martinez, a Coloradan who traveled to Wyoming to purchase fireworks. “You can’t light up fireworks that go up in the air or stuff like that, which is, it kind of sucks. That’s why everybody comes over here.”
Coloradans like Martinez said they won’t let the state’s fireworks laws put a damper on their celebration.
Even though Coloradans who buy fireworks in Wyoming and transport them back to Colorado are technically breaking the law, they don’t have to worry about state police at the border waiting for them to cross back into Colorado.
But they are taking some risks.
Some counties have launched fireworks hotlines to report people popping illegal fireworks.
Punishment includes fines up to $1,000 and possibly up to six months in jail. But it’s a risk some Coloradans are willing to take.
“It’s just about like having fun lighting up the sky,” said Martinez.