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July 4, 2014

Roys in Maud share July 4 fireworks passion

MAUD — It’s tough to say why someone would drive nine hours — that’s the current record — to buy fireworks from Frank and Jennie Roy at their seasonal business, Kaboom Fireworks.

“It’s not our brilliant personalities. It’s definitely our prices,” Jennie, 50, jokes.

But perhaps it is, in fact, their personalities.

The Roys’ enthusiasm for the Fourth of July is contagious. Their store is full of laughter. This city slicker even purchased her first-ever pyrotechnic product — a package of smoke balls, which the Roys note is their most popular product. They sell 56,000 of them each year.

Kaboom Fireworks is a destination. Tucked out in the middle of rural countryside about 60 miles southeast of Oklahoma City — FedEx uses the store as a landmark when delivering to the community — Kaboom attracts more customers each year than the total population of Maud.

This rural town of about 1,000 people doesn’t even need a stoplight. But for three weeks a year, the world comes to Maud, including a customer who once drove from Corpus Christi, Texas.

The Roys, who’ve been married 24 years, greet visitors in bright yellow T-shirts with red wording that proclaim themselves as “Fireworks Product Specialists.”

Frank, 51, spices his outfit with a pair of American flag suspenders. On the Fourth of July — the Roys’ favorite holiday, coincidentally — he typically dons a red, white and blue, crazy-hair visor cap that says “Kaboom.”

The couple has given their business the motto “A Pyro’s Paradise.” The shop’s walls are lined with every firework imaginable and then some — 365 different types, to be exact.

“It started out as a little fireworks stand on the side of the road and just avalanched into this,” Frank said as the couple reminisced over three decades in business.

Frank, who hates the hot summer temperatures, was worried about Jennie spending her days in a hot fireworks stand. So the U.S. Army military retiree envisioned and built a 12-by-16-foot, air-conditioned building on skids.

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