RALEIGH (May 30, 2001) -- No hurricanes hit Raleigh yesterday but a torrential downpour made 96 Rock morning man Chopper Harrison’s first day on the Entertainment and Sports Arena roof an interesting one.
Harrison ascended to the roof above the ESA box office yesterday morning about 20 minutes before he hit the air. Shortly thereafter the rain began and continued for the duration of his 6 a.m. - 10 a.m. show.
“It was brutal,” said Harrison. “I had to do the show from the tent. And then it stopped at 10:20. But it’s fun. The first 24 hours were OK. We’ll see how the second 24 goes.”
Harrison is living on the roof of the Arena and says he will not come down until the Carolina Hurricanes’ NHL All-Star Crusade reaches its goal of 12,000 season tickets for the 2001-02 season.
Following the rain one might think the remainder of Day One would have gone more smoothly. But Harrison’s adventure had just begun.
“At about 1:30 this morning these guys drive up in a pickup truck,” said Harrison. “They said, ‘Hey! Chopper! We’ve got a couch for you!’ I looked over the edge and said, ‘I don’t want it!’ It was a nice gesture and all, but 1:30 in the morning? C’mon guys.”
A couch might be the only thing missing from Harrison’s rooftop abode. Sponsors and friends have provided Harrison with fully stocked coolers, patio furniture, a laptop computer, a phone line and an inflatable mattress for his days in the “wilderness.”
At the center of the operation is what Harrison calls the “Taj Mahal” of tents. Even with all the amenities, Harrison says he’s not much of an outdoorsman.
“I’m not your typical Daniel Boone-type guy,” said Harrison. “But, other than dealing with morning dew, it wasn’t that bad. Well, if I could’ve kept air in the air mattress I would have been a happy camper.”
Harrison joked that he had once lived on a billboard before hitting the ESA roof.
“I lived on a billboard to petition the mayor’s office to keep the liquor stores open later,” said Harrison. “It didn’t work. Thank God we’re not on a billboard. That would have been brutal.”
Surprisingly the view from the box office roof does not allow one to see much more than they see from the ground level. But Harrison has noticed a few subtleties.
“I’ve learned how long traffic helicopters can hover,” said Harrison. “And they put in two rows over at the (Carter-Finley) Stadium yesterday in the pouring rain. I think I’ll start giving construction progress reports.”
For progress reports on Harrison’s stint on the ESA box office roof, fans can check out the Chopper Cam right here on CarolinaHurricanes.com.
Carolina Hurricanes Website Reporter Kyle S. Hanlin can be reached at email@example.com.