SAN ANGELO, TX — Greg Schaatt has been the Pyro Man at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo for as many years as most remember attending the 12-performance annual event. Before the bucking horses and bareback riders compete, and even before the National Anthem is sang, the rodeo begins with a big bang. Fireworks go off with precision from multiple “cans” arrayed out on the arena dirt. The entire pyro demonstration lasts maybe a minute but there’s more going on underneath the stands before and after.
Being the Pyro Man is a result of “Not allowing your child play with sparklers” when growing up, Schaatt said. “Most people don’t realize how stressful it can be.” He tours with top ticket rock bands like Metallica. He just finished shooting pyro for their show when touring Europe.
Other gigs for Schaatt include Princess Cruise Lines and the last three championships with the San Antonio Spurs. He designed and executed the shooting of the pyro during the Super Bowl in Houston’s Reliant Stadium in 2004. That was the infamous halftime show where Janet Jackson had what has become known as the “wardrobe malfunction.”
Schaatt’s crown jewel, however, is being the Pyro Man for Cirque du Soleil in their new show that just opened in Las Vegas at the Luxor.
“I am not in cowboy hat I am not in cowboy boots. I am not a rodeo cowboy individual,” Schaatt admitted. He still had high praise for the San Angelo rodeo committee that keeps hiring him back. The San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo is his longest-running client, he said.
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