Al Roker visits University of Oklahoma, sets world records
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Lightning, clouds, rain and finally sunshine hit the University of Oklahoma early on March 27 as “Rokerthon 3: Storming Into the Madness” and the “Today Show” rolled into the Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium to have some fun and break some Guinness World Records.
Al Roker chose to start his week at OU because the school’s application showed not only the students wanted to spend some time with the “Today Show’s” weatherman and co-host, but the administration was just as excited.
Sporting a red OU hat and sweatshirt over a blue and white checked shirt, Roker was genial from the time he made his entrance riding into the stadium in the Sooner Schooner at 6:02 a.m. while being serenaded by The Pride of Oklahoma marching band, until his last spot on the “Today Show” a bit before 9 a.m.
“I am impressed with how much they’ve done to take part in this,” Roker said, standing on the field surrounded by school mascots, the pompom squad and the Ruf-Necks. “And last night’s weather was wild — we got here early because of it, and it has been exciting.”
Coming early also gave him a chance to tour the National Weather Center in Norman and see the Severe Storms Lab.
“The Storm Prediction Center is the heart and soul of showing when weather will occur,” he said.
That morning, the weather prediction played out on Owen Field, where the Sooners play football in the fall.
The Pride of Oklahoma made an outline of the United States while student volunteers held up big yellow suns, fluffy white clouds, some gray clouds and some windy and rainy weather.
He used this living map for one cut in to the “Today Show.”
When that was over, the highlight of the day started.
Separated by green mesh fencing, students in yellow ponchos went into one area, students in white into a different one. They were moved around until there was a yellow lightning bolt and a large white cloud. At the last minute, the band formed a circle and anyone who wanted to could don a yellow poncho and stand around the band, making a colorful sun.
Everyone had to stand still for five minutes. The last 10 seconds were counted down, and the waiting began.
Soon, Michael Empric, adjudicator for Guinness World Records, announced OU had broken two records for the lightning and cloud formations, The Oklahoman (http://bit.ly/2nBbltk ) reported.
“The cloud had 490 people,” Empric said. “The old record was 468. The lightning bolt had 280 and is a new category. To be considered there must be at least 250 people.
As the event started winding down, Roker announced there would be $5,000 given to a student by a Rokerthon 3 sponsor, and promptly turned the presentation into an imitation of either the Miss Universe Pageant or, more recently, the Academy Awards.
With a large check waiting, Roker called out a name and a happy woman ran up to accept. As they wrote her name on the oversized check, she told them that wasn’t her last name.
Kelsey Hall ran up first, and the name drawn was Kelsey Hawk. When she came up, Roker decided that with a genuine mistake like that, the only fair thing to do was to give each girl a check for $5,000.
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com