Who owns 'Pyromania'? Groups take fight over name to court

By: 
Adam Rollins
Staff Writer

The two entities that introduced the massive Pyromania fireworks show to Warren County are in a custody battle over who can claim the event as their own.

After a falling out in December, Cedar Lake Cellars and the Missouri Pyrotechnics Association are engaged in a lawsuit over who can use the name of Pyromania for future firework shows, according to Warren County Court documents. The two organizations now have competing firework shows scheduled a week apart in September.

Cedar Lake Cellars, a winery and event venue south of Wright City, is also alleging that the fireworks association, commonly called Mo Pyro, owes the winery $107,000 for the cost of construction projects to improve the winery for future Pyromania shows.

Each of the organizations claims credit for growing Pyromania into a major event that drew more than 10,000 spectators in 2019. Each group wants to retain the name recognition for that event, which they operated together through 2019.

Mo Pyro says it originated the name of Pyromania in 2014 at an event in Eureka, and therefore has all rights to the name. The fireworks association moved its event to Cedar Lake Cellars in 2017.

The winery, meanwhile, says it spent significant money and time developing logos, website, advertising and marketing materials for Pyromania as a Cedar Lake Cellars event. The winery contends that all of the marketing material and branding created as part of that work is its intellectual property.

In a lawsuit filed May 1, Cedar Lake Cellars accuses Mo Pyro of essentially taking the work the winery put into growing Pyromania, while trying to keep all the profits by running a competing event.

Cedar Lake Cellars has its Pyromania event scheduled for Sept. 19. Mo Pyro scheduled a show a week later, Sept. 26, at the corner of Highway M and Highway F within the Innsbrook village boundaries.

Mo Pyro had also planned to call its event Pyromania, but changed the name to “Sky Wars” to avoid confusion, according to the organization’s Facebook page.

“While we believe the law is on our side and a judge will ultimately rule in our favor that the Pyromania name is and always has been ours, it’s time to minimize the confusion,” Mo Pyro stated. “We know that, after you see our show, there will be no question in your minds who the professional pyrotechnics really are.”

In addition to the fight over the name, Cedar Lake Cellars claims it had an agreement with Mo Pyro to use ticket sales from Pyromania to reimburse the cost of new roads, electric lines, ticket house and land preparation for the firework show. The winery said in its court filing that the un-reimbursed cost of those projects is about $107,000.

The case is being overseen by Warren County Presiding Judge Jason Lamb.

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