Fire Baton Dad Duty

Once upon a time, one would find me roaming the sidelines as an assistant football coach on a Fall Friday night at Otto Unruh Stadium.  Unfortunately, beginning in Fall of 2009, personal decisions steered me from the sidelines and into the stands. My plan was to show up, sit in the stands and watch the football game. But, as with most things in life, (especially with one’s parental slice of that life) plans often change without consultation and without notice.  One night early in that 2009 season, I came home from work on a Friday night, to find myself recruited by Twirly-Girl Daughter #2 (see this for example of Twirly-Girl baton skills) to prepare the fire batons for the fire baton performance that night.

The first thing I did was laugh because I had no idea where to even start. I was a football coach, which meant I was pretty much oblivious to anything else which occurred outside the white lines on a football Friday night in America. Patiently, even though she was desperate for help, Daughter #2 quickly taught dear old dad the process. From there, it has been game on.  With her instruction and the help and guidance of fellow Baton Dad Jeff L.,  I became the proud stage/equipment/pyrotechnic manager in charge of fire batons.

So here it is, the top secret protocol describing the preparation of the fire batons for action. I thought it important to document how this is done as I retire from active baton dad duty. I thought it important to pass this down for future generations of dads; for the fathers of those little girls who sit on the front row of the stadium and watch the twirler’s halftime performances.

It’s not really hard, but it was a pain in the ass at times.  Some Friday nights after work, I really did not want to work on fire batons.  I often would get hands covered with tiki torch oil to the point where I did not sit in the stands during the game for fear of spontaneous combustion. Plus, I would always worry about making a mistake and having one of the girls spin burning oil onto themselves and get hurt. But all the work, all the discomfort, and all the worry melted away when I would watch the girls perform then turn around and see those little girls faces’magically light up and jaws drop open as the twirlers did their thing.

Preparation of Fire Batons.

1. Place one of the ends of the fire batons completely into standard tiki torch oil. Allow oil to soak in for 30-45 minutes.

2. Shake out the excess fluid by flinging the batons over the oil container and let drip for several minutes.

3. Place on a large piece of aluminum foil.

4. Fold top half of foil over the soaked end of baton

5. Fold one side of foil in.

6. Roll foil around to get a good seal around the end of the baton.

7. Turn batons over and repeat the process:



8. Done with both sides, then put in an over-sized plastic bag and take everything  to the stadium.

9. Before the performance, shake out any excess fuel from the ends and light the ends with a lighter.

10. Showtime!

Click here for a link to a short performance video.


Filed under Uncategorized, Writes

3 responses to “Fire Baton Dad Duty

  1. Laura P

    Do you think it is possible to soak the night before? Did you put batons out with fire baton case?? Thanks for your helpful post. First fire baton game next week :).


    • Laura – Yes, I think you can do them the night before. Just make sure they are wrapped tight and maybe even put the ends in a gallon-size freezer bag.
      To put out the fire batons, we would spread old towels on the track off the football field. When the girls were done with fire batons, they ran over and placed the lit batons on the towel. Us dads would take another towel and smother the flames. Worked like a charm.
      Good luck next week!
      Gotta love fire batons!


  2. Starting to practice for dad duty this fall. First time the flames were a bit high and we had to let them burn down for a few minutes. Is that a failure to shake enough or did you find the pure tiki oil to start big? Also did you experiment with other fuels and blends to achieve flame effects?


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