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Tampa Trekkies to boldly try to break new record

Kirk, Bones and Spock won’t be in Tampa on Friday — but their lookalikes might.

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Kirk, Bones and Spock won’t be in Tampa on Friday — but their lookalikes might.

Local Star Trek fans will attempt to boldly go where no man has gone before by breaking a world record for the largest gathering of people dressed as Star Trek characters.

The USS Shooting Star chapter of Starfleet hopes to break the Guinness World Record during Vulcan Events' Star Trek convention Friday through Sunday in Tampa.

Oddly, it shouldn't be hard. The record is 99, set in London in February as part of the release of the Star Trek Online game.

"Everybody was surprised that no one had bothered to make it a world record before," said Johnothan Babb, captain of USS Shooting Star, a science-fiction fan club based in Clearwater. "It's not that big of a record."

Even if local Trekkies earn the record, it probably won't stand for long, he said. Once word spreads through the Star Trek universe, other groups will assemble quickly to grab the title.

Hundreds of Trekkies — or Trekkers, as some preferred to be called — are expected to attend the convention at the Doubletree Hotel. The event is a first for Vulcan Events, a newly formed sci-fi convention company from South Florida.

Fans posing as Capt. Kirk, Klingons and other intergalactic life forms will go for the record at 11 a.m. Saturday. Participants don't have to attend the convention, but they must all be present for at least 10 minutes in order for the record attempt to qualify.

Several sci-fi celebrities are scheduled to attend the convention to speak and sign autographs, including Christopher Lloyd and Michael Shanks of Stargate SG-1. Lloyd played Commander Kruge in Star Trek III and is in town celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Back to the Future trilogy, in which he played Emmett "Doc" Brown. He'll also give a talk after the Tampa Theatre's free showing of Back to the Future at Sulphur Springs' River Tower Park on Saturday night. The movie starts at 8:15 p.m.

"Klingons kind of worship him," Babb said. "That may be too big of a word, but they definitely really respect him."

Also appearing at the convention will be Oliver Holler and his DeLorean Time Machine, a replica of the Back to the Future car. Holler is traveling around the country with the car raising money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

Other scheduled guests include: Catherine Hicks from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and 7th Heaven; Dean Stockwell of Quantum Leap; Sally Kellerman, a.k.a. Hot Lips O'Houlihan from the film MASH; and Gary Lockwood from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Beam me up!

Star Trek fans will attempt to break a world record at 11 a.m. Saturday as part of Vulcan Events' Star Trek convention Friday through Sunday at the Doubletree Hotel, 4500 W Cypress St., Tampa. For ticket prices, go to vulcanevents.com. For information on Christopher Lloyd's appearance at Tampa Theatre's outdoor showing of Back to the Future, go to tampatheatre.org. And if you'd simply like to watch 2009's Star Trek reboot, it's airing for free at 8 p.m. Friday at Seminole City Park, 7464 Ridge Road, Seminole. Bring lawn chairs and blankets.

Tampa Trekkies to boldly try to break new record 04/29/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 29, 2010 12:03pm]
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