Days of Thunder OC alumnus wins trip to the Big Apple

By authoring that phrase, OC alumnus Randy Roper (91) actually did get to wear his "Thunderwear" in Times Square through an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City.

Randy won the trip because his seven-word phrase was the top vote-getter in a contest held by Oklahoma City's NBA team, the Thunder.

He and his wife Kerianne (91), an OC alumna who is an assistant professor of marketing and information systems at Oklahoma Christian, went to the Big Apple in May to attend the NBA Draft Lottery.

While they were there, they got to enjoy many of NYC's sights and sounds, hitting the subway and famous stores, taking in a baseball game at the new Yankee Stadium, and rubbing elbows with basketball greats like Larry Bird and Chris Webber at the draft lottery. 

Randy and Kerianne said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, general manager Sam Presti and other team personnel took great care of them.

"The trip was wonderful," Randy said. "It was almost overwhelming all the things we got to see and do - the excitement of being around those people I had grown up watching and still watch on TV, and just being there to soak that all up."

The contest itself was exciting, too. Randy's phrase and one of the other finalists battled back-and-forth until the contest's final hours, when "Thunderwear" pulled away to win with 61 percent of 9,908 total votes.

Randy said word of the contest "spread like wildfire" on the Internet as people from OC, Edmond Church of Christ (where Randy works as a family life minister), and all over the world pushed his slogan over the top. Votes were cast from as far away as Brazil and Switzerland.

"Votes just started pouring in," Kerianne said. "People were really very interested in the contest. I think a lot of it had to do with our connection with OC and with the church."

By Wes McKinzie (98)