Amid chants of “USA! USA!” and with a surprise entrance by Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax on Star Trek: Deep Space 9), Star Trek Las Vegas fans Saturday night recaptured the Guinness World Record for most Star Trek costumes in one location for the USA. They did it with plenty of time and a few Trekkies left to spare.
The world record attempt for Star Trek costumes is like a Trekkie sporting event. Expect a comeback attempt from the UK, where the existing record was set back in October 2012 at Destination Star Trek London with 1063 participants. “We can’t let this title get out of our hands again,” seemed to be the general consensus. But Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013, Creation Entertainment’s Las Vegas convention will go into the books. “A win is still a win. It may not be a very pretty win, but we’ll still a win and we’ll take it. It was a great team effort.”
Convention-goers line up for the Guinness World Record attempt
This year’s group seemed slightly less enthusiastic than the powerhouse 2011 crowd to set the record with 1040 costumed fans. That year, almost every hand in the room was raised in Vulcan salute and every voice was chanting, “Star Trek! Star Trek!” This time, fans for the most part were seated and patiently waiting. Others checked cell phones texts, Tweeted, or compared costumes. Some photographed each other, wandered through the theater greeting friends and sipped cold beverages. But all eyes stayed on the count and the clock.
Fans wait for the costume count
While the overall mood seemed festive, there was definitely an air of tension. The crowd, once a line of several hundred fans standing along the perimeter of the main hallway and up and down and around the corner of another hallway, somehow did not look quite as massive inside the theater. During the first hour, the announcer frequently called out, “Change the number to 200. Change the number to 300. Now we’re at 400.” Every hundred fans to enter brought louder applause and cheering. As the numbers grew, so did the enthusiasm.
But after about 500, the pace seemed to slow. Maybe it was time for a group photo? “Will all the Klingons move to the back of the room for a group photo, please?” As a few housefuls of Klingon families proceeded to the rear of the room, so did about twice as many camera-clad fans. Another group photo was called for anyone dressed as Deep Space Nine characters in observance the 20th anniversary of that series.
A group of Klingons pose for photographers
Tally inches closer…
Finally the count reached 900. But the next announcement was a damper. “Change the number to 915.” Only 15 more? What was happening? Where was that long line which weaved around the Rio convention wing? Eventually, smaller groups of people came trickling into the room. Minutes, which seemed like — well, something longer than minutes — passed. 950… 975… Was time running out? Was Star Trek Las Vegas going to reclaim its’ world record?
“If you have cell phones, now’s the time to phone your friends,” came the announcement. That statement may not have helped the room’s overall sense of confidence but it seemed to boost the total tally. More fans, larger groups starting filing into the theater. The excitement again was brewing. Then came the clincher… the confidence… that sense of success, or as Karl Urban (Bones in ST09 and STID) said it best as he described landing his starring Trek role: That feeling “when you know you’ve knocked the ball out of the park.”
Trekkies photograph Terry Farrell’s surprise entrance
Into the room came Number 1064! After that, a few more fans entered. 1067! Everyone was cheering! The London record was broken! Then, just as the fevered excitement started to lull, suddenly a group of about 15 or 20 more fans entered, followed by a tall Trekkie in a TOS red dress: Terry Farrell would be number 1085. That’s when the doors were closed. The room went electric (or maybe I should say, electronic)! Nearly every fan in the DeForest Kelley Theater jumped up with a camera or cell phone up to digitally capture her surprise appearance. “Five, four, three, two, one” came the final time countdown. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my meager three years of attending Star Trek Las Vegas: Always expect the unexpected and there’s strength in numbers, especially Trekkies with numbers. (Okay, that’s two.)