Fireworks lottery blasts off
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Jan 11, 2013 | 7023 views | 4 4 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Fireworks lottery
Tracy Fire Department engineer Lisa Bachar draws the first number in the nonprofit Fourth of July fireworks sale lottery on Thursday, Jan. 10, at City Hall. Division Chief David Bramell looks on.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
view slideshow (5 images)
Nine nonprofit groups were selected in a lottery at City Hall on Thursday, Jan. 10, and have the opportunity to make money selling fireworks before the Fourth of July, including two groups that were chosen for the second year in a row.

A record 52 organizations competed in the lottery, five more than last year.

Tracy Fire Division Chief Dave Bramell, who coordinates the lottery, said interest to sell the so-called safe and sane fireworks has grown since 2011, when they were legalized in Tracy.

Brammel said nonprofits see the chance to raise significant amounts of money — in previous years, sales reached into the tens of thousands of dollars.

“This is our biggest year so far,” Bramell said Thursday. “Word is spreading (that) it’s profitable.”

On Thursday, each organization that applied was given a random number on a ping-pong ball that was placed inside a rotating tumbler.

Fire engineer Lisa Bachar spun the tumbler and pulled out balls one-by-one, handing them to Bramell, who announced the winners to shouts of celebration among the 50 representatives and onlookers who gathered for the lottery.

The winners are:

• National Junior Basketball League

• For Inc.

• Traina Parents Club

• Calvary Chapel Tracy

• West High School Home Field Advantage

• McHenry House Tracy Family Shelter

• All-American Sports Academy Teams

• Tracy Jobs Daughters International

• Order of the Eastern Star Joaquin Chapter

Each of the lottery winners has until April 30 to file their application paperwork with the city. Those who don’t complete the process or drop out will have their slot offered to one of the three alternates selected Thursday.

The alternates are:

• Tracy Little League

• Pregnancy Resource Center of Tracy

• New Heart Community Church

The law governing fireworks sales imposes a limit of one booth per 10,000 residents. Brammel said the limit makes the event manageable for the organizers and profitable for the participants.

Groups are allowed to sell for a maximum of two consecutive years before bowing out of the lottery for a year, meaning McHenry House Tracy Family Shelter and West High School Home Field Advantage, which both won in the lottery for 2012, will not be eligible next year.

McHenry House Executive Director Armenia Pereira plans to use the funds from this year’s sale to help manage the shelter.

“We’re very excited,” Pereira said. “This is going to make a huge difference. It really helps the shelter. It’s a lot of work, but well worth it.”

All-American Sports Academy Teams is a first-time lottery winner.

Coach Lamont Richardson said the money raised selling fireworks will enable his nine all-girl fast-pitch softball teams to compete in more out-of-state tournaments.

“I was nervous,” Richardson said. “This is our third year in a row applying. I’m excited for the organization, and definitely for the players.”

A few of the softball players were there to witness the lottery.

“I was crossing my fingers,” said 9-year-old Leah Richardson, while 11-year-old teammate Izzy Starr said she was scared they wouldn’t win.

Another winner this year,, offers scholarships in the name of Carol Phan, who died along with three other Tracy teenagers in a car accident Sept. 18, 2010.

“It’s for Carol,” said group coordinator Mike Pihlman, whose daughter was a childhood friend of Phan’s.

He said the money means more scholarships for graduating Tracy-area seniors.

“It’s a lot of work, but worth it,” he said. “Its congratulations, but we had to lose Carol to get it. It’d rather not be here.”

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or

Comments-icon Post a Comment
January 14, 2013
which ones, Chevy? I'll be sure to NOT go there.
January 14, 2013
Two of them are the masons?
January 14, 2013
"Nine nonprofits win the right to sell fireworks this Fourth of July."

Sad when even local governments decide who get's to exercise rights and who doesn't. What these people write on paper (their laws) have no real meaning other than oppression of rights for some.
January 14, 2013
You got it-this is Tracy, "Special rules" for "Special people".

We encourage readers to share online comments in this forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a space for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Comments that stray from the topic of the story or are found to contain abusive language are subject to removal at the Press’ discretion, and the writer responsible will be subject to being blocked from making further comments and have their past comments deleted. Readers may report inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at