Seward man behind fireworks goes out with a bang

Nebraska's “4th of July City” is setting off fireworks on this Independence Day, and the man who's been behind the show for decades is ending his career. A Seward, Nebraska legend Mel Bolte says it began in 1955.  Since then he has been the expert behind everything that explodes. Bolte says a lot has changed, “See these mortars that are in this trailer, in the early years they didn't have these, they had cast iron steel mortars and you dug a hole in the ground and had about this much sticking out of the ground.”

In fact, 56 years ago, Seward, Nebraska barely made the map. It wasn't until the 60's with Mel setting off the switch that the eastern Nebraska town began booming. That's when Seward became the state's Fourth of July city. Bolte says, “I have a humble feeling inside that I've done something to give back to the community that, hah, now I'm getting sentimental. It's a great community to raise a family in and be a part of. Worship and play and all those things.”

 And for one final night it will be the best place to light off his legacy. A 12,000 dollar bigger than ever extravaganza. Bolte says, “I'm slowing down, I can see that turning 80 at the end of the month so it's going to be nice. I was kidding them today and they said what are you going to do next year I said I think I'll leave town.”

 But everyone knows in the end, the firework finale is something he can't stay away from…even if he's not the man behind the bang.