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Anything outdoors!  Tornadoes, eagles, blizzards, or auroras.  If it is in the sky, running through the woods or swimming in the water, I'm there!

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Twister Sisters show - episode 2

Well that was interesting. I'm happy with the way the final cut of the episode turned out. Mark Landsman did a good job piecing it all together. The guests (Now CHASERS and HOORAY FOR JESSE AS I KNOW SHE READS MY BLOG!) all looked like they had a good time. The Hill City torn was not all that spectacular so once again a whole bunch of stock video was cut into it. My 6-4-5 KS footage has finally been used up for the most part by the editors...I think LOL.

OK...onto the subject of Cullen being scared that night of May 2nd.



For those of you who really know him, you know he is still scared of the lamp in the corner of the living room if the lights are out. He also has no idea how to deal with an adrenaline rush yet. He was 9 at the time the show was shot. Eric Whitehill and I have talked about this quite a bit. It's fight or flee when the adrenaline kicks in. I fight. Always have. EXCEPT for when I was 9. When we were chasing May 5th this past year in SD, we sat in the bears cage until the last possible moment. We had a southeast escape route ready and when the time came, we just moved out of the way. Cullen was loving every second of it and you can hear him on audio as plain as day on our video. The quote he made that day was "I'm not afraid but my body is". He has no clue what his body is doing with all the excitement going on...but he is learning.

The lightning segment wasn't even supposed to have happened. Tim Pastore, our in-vehicle producer-camera guy-pal, was wiped out from chasing all day and wanted to just crash at the hotel. We dropped him off and were getting ready to head out to take a few lightning shots (Cullen was fine at the time). I told Tim it was going to be one hell of a light show and maybe he should tag along or send one of the ZIU's with me and I'd shoot some tripoded B roll stuff along with my own. Tim decided to go with and as were were heading out of the parking lot at the hotel, BAM! Tornado warning for the cell. I'm like WTF??? It's outflow dominant and no way tornadic. Well, between the sirens going off (in the dark), the freakin' fire department cruising the streets while blaring a "take cover...it's gonna be another Greensburg" message, it freaked Cullen out. It had me more pissed than worried.

Anytime something like this happens, I'm going to get into an area I know is safe "just in case". You know severe thunderstorms can and do produce tornadoes with little or no advance warning....LOL. So we head south. The inflow winds are howling north feeding this MASSIVE shelf cloud which is heading east/southeast and is going to pass right over Hays. Cullen several times expressed concern for the crew at the hotel and was wondering where Peg and Mel were (eating at a restaurant in Hays trying to get the staff not to panic). Well, Cullen's fear of the dark coupled with the sirens and anxiety for his friends was too much for him that night. He usually is very composed and focused when there is a tornado or something going on...during the daylight.





Once we headed back into Hays, I swung around the back of the hotel out of the screaming outflow winds and hail to drop Cullen and Tim off by the door. I parked the truck in a safe place and headed inside. The next thing I know is Diane (the main producer) is rattling off how Cullen was going around trying to get the children calmed down along with the adults and she got it all on film. I was relieved his anxiety wore off and he was back to being Cullen again. I have never been more proud of him.

Once we had everyone believing there was no inherit danger, it was time to have a little fun. Cullen was hanging out with some of the production crew in the lobby while Tim and Matt Renner decided to play crab boat (they shoot Deadliest Catch BTW) and get some dramatic B roll stuff by going out in the parking lot with a couple of hand held HD cams. The following video is the outcome. Note Mary Lynn Voth coming in...too funny.




The response regarding Cullen wasn't that negative other than this chick. Lighten up and learn to live. Here is her post on the Twister Sisters show forum and my response.

hopeinvalley
Posts: 1
Registered:
Dec 19, 2007 2:20 AM

boy chaser
Posted: Dec 19, 2007 2:31 AM

Reply
I was enjoying the show until I saw the young boy chasing with his dad. I don't agree with a child being taken into paths of tornadoes and severe storms. Was there not anyone bothered by that? A parent should want to protect their child at all times. The dad at one point was so caught up in his excitement over the storm that he didn't notice the boy was afraid at that point. And before someone says "the boy wanted to go"------many times a child will want something that's not exactly safe for them. It's the parent's job to ensure that their child is safe NO MATTER WHAT.


bill_cullen
Posts: 2
Registered:
Dec 13, 2007 4:44 PM

Re: boy chaser
Posted: Dec 19, 2007 8:17 AM in response to: hopeinvalley

Reply
Thanks for your concern. This is a topic which we (myself, Jen (Cullen's mom), and Cullen) knew would be discussed. His safety is always the number one concern when we are traveling/chasing. Cullen logs about 25 chase days and about 10,000 miles per year with me.

I deliberately keep a very wide safety cushion when he is with and use my years of experience of doing this to keep us safe. One thing to keep in mind is the amount of risk can easily be controlled when chasing by positioning. When Cullen is with, the safety zone is maximized as we stay farther away and off roads clogged with other chasers.

Cullen spends a lot of time talking to other kids and their parents about storms. The biggest message he always conveys is "it is OK to be scared". He knows you have to respect the weather and what it can do. He has seen first hand what it can do and why following the safety rules is a must. He is a pro when they have tornado drills at school!

He has never been injured in any way when chasing the past 5 years but his skate shoes, skateboard, bike and little sister has resulted in a fair number of band-aids and ice packs being applied!

In closing, let me state again I appreciate your concern and hope you continue to enjoy the show.

-Bill

Here is the email she sent to the Sisters. I am sure it is the same woman but I gave her the same response as above.

Subject:
From: "Cheri Trujillo" <faith_in_valley@yahoo.com>
Date: Wed, December 19, 2007 1:11 am
To: mel@twistersisters.com
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

I was beginning to enjoy your show this evening until I saw a dad prancing
around in dangerous storm situations with his young son. If adults choose
to get in storm paths, that's their choice. I do NOT feel that a young
child should be taken into these situations and was disappointed that your
show would support doing so. Even though the boy was wanting to learn
about storms, it was VERY obvious that he was very scared at times.
What't the difference in a parent taking a child into a tornado & a parent
driving drunk with a child???-------NOT A DIFFERENCE TO ME!!!!!!! I hope
that someone with child protective services in that boy's town sees the
show & checks into the safety of that boy. I will NOOOOT be watching your
show again.

(you can pass this along to your co-star)
Uh, hello? We have never been in a tornado and don't plan on doing it either. Wow...I hope she doesn't tie pillows onto her kids every time they go outside.

Have a great weekend and Happy Holidays everyone. Remember the reason for the season and keep the CHRIST in CHRISTmas.

Peace...

8 comments:

DM said...

I missed most of the show, but caught the last 22 minutes, and thought you and Cullen were great. He's 9, and you weren't forcing him to do anything and seemed like you were being a pretty good dad. That night storm was totally outflow dominant (as you stated) and posed no tornadic threat whatsoever. (BTW, we were RIGHT behind you at that hotel, we were at the IHOP getting wifi and there u pulled up LOL). We heard the sirens and gunned it out west of town.

This isn't something that you did for the "first" time with Cullen, and it won't be the last. He enjoys it and has been chasing for how long????, and it's a great way to bond with your son, on the long, long road trips no one will ever see on TV.

So to the poster who said that to Bill, don't believe everything you see on TV! Bill is a pretty good father and knows fully aware of the risks involved in storm chasing and would NEVER endanger Cullen or Kaitlyn's life while chasing. I wish my dad would have taken me out chasing when I was younger!

You guys shined on the show, Cullen is hilarious. I take it you won't be on there again?

Dick

DM said...

And to Cheryl Trojillo or whoever,

Drunk driving and storm chasing are not even close to being the same.

For one, drunk driving is illegal, storm chasing is not.

Two, your ability to operate a vehicle is impaired with drunk driving, storm chasing it is not.

Three, I would rather have my son in MY CAR, than in a town even 20 miles within a tornadic storm (which this was not). He is safer with me, than he is in a BOMB-PROOF basement.

Bill, you called it...! You said you would get this criticism from these over-protective parents and you got it!

Dick

Tony P said...

Great post Bill. I'm get to see your episode this weekend. If you've only gotten one negative email so far, I'd say that's a good sign.

Now off to do some involuntary winter chasing this weekend....

mnwxchaser said...

Thanks for the comments guys. It really irritates me when people who have no clue what they are talking about pass judgment. The individuals crying "bad parent" need to look at the big picture and remember this is a drama - reality show and not a documentary. How do you form an opinion off something which transpired over 40 minutes out of 5 years? Wow, I wonder if they ran with a scissors? That poses more danger than what Cullen and I do. They seem to have this narrow view and FAIL to realize the professional chasers are exactly that. Professional. Would you trust a plumber to perform neurosurgery on you? Of course not. If I was a neurosurgeon, I could perform brain surgery on my own child without incident but still have risk. Right? Same thing as a chaser. Yes, there is the possibility of risk but I have the knowledge and experience to mitigate the risk down to near nothing.

Anonymous said...

"It really irritates me when people who have no clue what they are talking about pass judgment"

I guess You do that to people too Bill, it happens to Everyone.

mnwxchaser said...

Yeah, nice. Not enough guts to say who you are. I'll note your concern. Next...

eyestothesky said...

Thanks Bill I had a great time out there and very much look forward to chasing on my own as you know!
The time you spend with your children is awesome! There will always be some one out there who has to find the negative in something so wonderful!
Have a merry Christmas to you and your family!

Dewdrop said...
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