ChaserCon comes to Norman - Norman Transcript

Steve Miller

Owner Emeritus
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Jun 14, 2004
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Moore, OK
www.stevemillerok.com
Original article (paywall): http://j.mp/nscc2016

More than 300 storm chasers will come to Norman next week for ChaserCon. This will be ChaserCon’s first year in Norman, though the event has taken place in Denver for the past 18 years.

“It just started as a little get-together for friends,” said Roger Hill, who organizes the event along with his wife, Caryn Hill.

The Hills would have friends over before the Severe Local Storm Conference every year to watch videos of storms they tracked, eat some pizza and talk about chasing techniques.

Every year, more people were invited and it became an event. Now between 300 and 500 people attend ChaserCon every year from across the country. Some even come from abroad.

The timing of the convention, at the end of January, is no happenstance.

“By the middle of the winter, everyone is going through winter storm deprivation,” Hill said.

Last year at the convention, each attendee was given a questionnaire asking what they would like to see changed about ChaserCon. One of the questions asked was if attendees would like to move the convention somewhere else for a year.

“It was almost unanimous: Oklahoma City,” Hill said. “Oklahoma City, especially the Norman area, is no stranger to severe weather.”

The National Weather Center is another one of the draws to hosting the event in Norman. Hill has organized multiple tours of the center during the convention, many of which are already full.

On Saturday, the main day of the ChaserCon, there also will be a Red Cross Blood Drive throughout the day.

ChaserCon offers other events, as well, including three contests.

The first two are storm photography and storm art contests. Hill said they have many photography entries, but there aren’t as many storm art entries yet.

The third competition is a chaser vehicle competition, which has about a dozen entries.

Each contest winner will be announced Saturday during the banquet and keynote address by Gary England, the consulting meteorologist in residence at the University of Oklahoma.

Storm chaser Tim Marshall will judge the chaser vehicle contest.

Marshall owns an engineering business that surveys damage left behind after a major storm to help figure out the magnitude of the storm.

Marshall is one of 11 presenters at the convention. The presentations range from entertaining to educational, with experienced storm chasers, meteorologists and weather media professionals.

“There’s enough for everybody,” said Hill, adding that anyone who is interested in severe weather will enjoy the convention.

Hill said many older children also come and enjoy conventions, especially storm video night Saturday and vendors.

The wide range of vendors also covers the range of people attending the convention, with offerings from severe weather tracking software to storm chaser T-shirts.

Those in the Norman area interested in attending ChaserCon have one more day to sign up. Tuesday is the cut-off and no walk-in registrants will be accepted.

Hill said they have allowed walk-ins in the past, but it became a bit of a nightmare to deal with so many unregistered attendees the first day of the convention.

Instead, they set a deadline to register as close to the convention as possible.

“It started as a fun get-together and we want to keep it as a fun get together,” Hill said.