10 Questions by Shane Adams
Every week or so I sit down (via internet) with a different storm chaser and ask him/her ten questions on various topics, most pertaining to storm chasing in some way, shape, or form. A few questions may have nothing to do with chasing at all. What I want to do is offer chaser interviews which are more creative and personal, rather than just technical. You'll see questions on here you've never seen anywhere before, and you'll find out interesting, surprising, and sometimes just plain weird things about chasers you never knew before. From their fondest chase memory, to their favorite cheeseburger, you'll get the skinny on all types of chasers from all walks of life. Enjoy!!!
presents 10 Questions with
Roger Hill is from Aurora, Colorado. He began chasing in 1985, and has been a regular in Tornado Alley ever since. He had a phenomenal 2000 season, the best of his career, and is looking towards an even better year in 2001. His stomping grounds are the High Plains, but he'll travel where ever necessary to find the best storms. He has a wife and three children, including a son that sometimes chases with him. He works as a contract administration manager in the Denver Technological Center, and when he's not doing that or chasing, prefers to camp, fish, and hike the Rockies. Here's Roger's interview.
1. What has been going on with Roger Hill lately? Any recent chases to tell us about?
Since my last tornado catch near Purcell, Colorado on Sept 1, things have been way too quiet. I have gone back to the City of Aurora, Colorado working full time as a cost analyst for the winter months, but would still take off if the opportunity existed. I work full time there from October through March and whenever I want to the rest of the year.
2. You've had an INCREDIBLE season, with over 30 tornadoes. You're close to breaking the standing one-year record of 38 set by Al Pietrycha in 1996. How important is this to you, and do you think you'll break it?
It has been a very memorable season for me with a total of 35 tornadoes to date. I feel fortunate to have seen that many this year, but really don't care if the record is broken or not. Al Pietrycha is a good friend of mine, so it is not a big deal to me. I will continue to chase through the rest of the year if the conditions exist though, and who knows??????
3. 2000 has not been a particularly great tornado year overall, in fact very quiet. To what do you attribute your phenomenal success during a relatively slow year?
I have an old saying that "you can't win if you don't play the game". I chase every opportunity that I can, usually 50 to 75 times a year. I have learned very much since my early days of chasing in the late 80s when I went to the plains with a NOAA weather radio and camera in hand. It's amazing I lived through those years. I attribute much of my success to being able to get real time data while on the road. For me, the most important piece of equipment is my laptop/cell phone set up. The expense has paid off many times.
4. You chase quite frequently. Do you catch any flack from the family about being gone too often?
A few years ago my wife and I really struggled with this. The past couple seasons though, we have an understanding and a balance in our lives that allows me to spend much time with her and the kids when I am not chasing. Actually this year she has chased with me several times and will be my regular chase partner starting in 2002. My 19 year old son is a regular chase partner and captured his first tornado when he was 7. My 16 year old daughter saw her first tornado when she was 4 and has NEVER chased with me and NOT seen a tornado!!!! She is my good luck girl.
5. With the type of success you've had, do you feel pressure to repeat this year's performance in 2001?
I have been fortunate to video 14 tornadoes in 96, 8 in 97, 11 tornadoes in 98, 18 in 99 and nearly 30 of the 35 this year. I hopefully will be able to have continued success in the years to come!!!! As for pressure, there is none at all. This is fun for me, and the minute it becomes too much like work, I will stop.
6. You've had alot of exposure this season, because of your overwhelming success. What's the silliest thing you've been asked by an interviewer this year? (and don't say this question!!!)
Silliest question was from an ABC tv station I stopped to bounce a video from who shall remain anonymous: "Are you trying to get yourself killed or are you just that stupid???" (And I couldn't help but laugh at the news anchor that asked me that!!!)
7. Be honest - do you have a pre-chase "ritual" to bring the tornadoes to you?
I do not have a pre-chase ritual. I just ask for help from above for protection and to get me in the right place at the right time safely.
8. You're doing for chasing this year what Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa did for baseball two years ago. How much have you enjoyed all of this?
I have thoroughly enjoyed this!!!! Who wouldn't???? It has been fun meeting many folks, answering emails from around the world, doing interviews (of which many will be on the tube this fall) and working with David Gold and Silver Lining Tours (which I will be doing every year from now on).
9. What's a 100mph RFD feel like?
The RFD from the Waterloo, IA F4 was incredible. I have never experienced anything like it. I didn't know whether I would be hit with debris or not, but was absolutely mesmorized by it. The side of my body facing the RFD in that field was covered with mud, sticks, and hail stones; and I cleaned dirt out of my skin, hair and especially my ear for many days. Would I do it again, yessir!!!!!! and maybe even closer :-) I did have to get my camcorder cleaned afterwards, but the video was spectacular!!!!
10. Will the "Too Many To Count - Numerous Naders (the Roger Hill Story)" mini-series feature clips of your real tornado footage, or CGI? :-)
LOL, Watch TLC on November 15 for a show called "Storm Force: Tornado Alley" for a good segement on the Iowa tornadoes. It will also contain a great segment from Jeff Pietrowski from the Brady, NE tornado. Another show from our chase tours will be out on National Geographic probably in the spring too.
*This interview was conducted over a month ago, so some of the answers may contain "dated" info (such as the question above). My apologies for my tardiness in posting this interview.
Coming Next Week - 10 Questions with Scott Blair
Coming In 2001
Got any hilarious, anecdotal yarns to spin about a fellow chaser in one of his/her not-so-great moments, either during or away from the chase? Send them to me!!!
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