Everyone loves a story of accomplishment, and Houston has them in spades. Quite a few Guinness World Records have been won either in the city or by our people, and today we celebrate the ten best.
Jason David Frank - Most pine boards broken in freefall The former Tommy Oliver from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers has gone on to an impressive martial arts and MMA career after his time on the show. He also has one of the most badass records in the world when he broke seven pine boards in the middle of a skydive. The previous record was two. That's right, when he was riding in a giant robotic dragon and spinkicking alien monsters, that was his warm-up.
Channel Tapper - World's longest tongue (female) Someone that never has trouble reaching the last bit of ice cream in the cone is Chanel Tapper, whose tongue reaches 3.8 in. Though she was born in California, she moved to Houston in 2011 and was living here when she was recognized for having grown the largest known female tongue in the world.
Hennessey Venom GT - Fastest production car to travel from 0 - 300 km/h (0-186 mph) Though it's not made in Houston, that where John Kiewicz drove the Hennessey Venom into the record books for the fastest time from 0 to 300 km/h in a production car. At Ellington Field in January 2013, the Venom managed to to so in 13.63 seconds.
Matthew Feldman - Joggling Joggling, the practice of juggling while joggling, takes great skill and coordination. Rice University's Matthew Feldman actually holds several world records in the discipline including fastest 5 km (3.1 mi) joggling with five objects at 27 min 6.74 sec when he was 18, and the fastest 400m while juggling five objects at 1 min 10.50 sec.
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Sheyla Hershey - Largest augmented breasts (in Brazil) Houston housewife Sheyla Hershey divides her time between Houston and her birth country of Brazil. The Brazilian edition of the Guinness World Records recognizes her as having the largest surgically enhanced breasts in that country. She's had several complications from her ever-more involved surgeries, but as of 2012 she was up to a 38MMM with plans to go even bigger.
Pope Elementary School - Largest reading lesson This is the only entry on the list that hasn't been officially recognized yet. Earlier this year well over a thousand students and members of the community attended a mass reading lesson at Pope Elementary. The proper documentation is still being examined to see if the 1,500 claimed is the right number (The current record is held by England's Michael Rosen and Walker Books with 1,438), but if it turns out to be legit it will be the largest reading lesson ever held at a single venue.
Midtown Supercuts - Most haircuts by a team in a 24-hour period In 2009 the folks at the Midtown Supercuts broke the record for Most haircuts by a team in a 24-hour period by professionally cutting the locks of 349 people and raising $1,735 for the YMCA of Greater Houston. The record has since been beaten by Pump Salon of Cincinnati, Ohio, who topped it in 2010 with 618 haircuts.
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South Main Baptist Church - Longest chain of shoes While this sounds like a silly record to strive for, it's for a good cause. In a quest to collect shoes for orphaned and at-risk children South Main Baptist teamed with Buckner International's "Shoes for Orphan Souls" program to collect 20,110 shoes. Arranged in a single chain, they broke the world record. It has since been topped by The Shoeman Water Projects at Stankowski Field at the University of Missouri, Columbia, who collected 24,962 shoes in 2011.
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Mark Kislingbury - Fastest court reporting Here in Houston we have the Mark Kislingbury's Academy Of Court Reporting, and the man whose name it bears has certainly earned his stripes. In addition to winning several awards for his speed and accuracy from the Nation Court Reporters Association, he also holds the world record in court reporting for typing 360 words per minute with 97.23% accuracy.
Lois Gibson - Most suspects identified from the work of one artist Also in the realm of justice is Houston's Lois Gibson. She is the most successful police sketch artist ever, having had over 500 people identified from her work talking to witnesses in the 30 years of her career. She's also been featured on Unsolved Mysteries, which is arguably the much greater honor.