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Election on ice: How the rink map gets made

Brandon Goodwin / TODAY

As Utah is called for Mitt Romney, the crew gets to work laying down re vinyl on the ice rink election map.

There are plenty of election night maps but there's no cooler map than the one on the rink at Rockefeller Plaza.

Brandon Goodwin / TODAY

The crew squeegees Utah in place.

While they can easily be mistaken for Ghostbusters or pest control, the team of four women and four crew guys are actually responsible for rushing out on the ice and laying down vinyl cutouts of each state, either in red or blue, depending on how the state is called by NBC News. The ice is sprayed down with water from tanks carried on their backs before and after the vinyl is placed.

“This is an elaborate process,’’ Brian Williams said Tuesday on NBC. “They lay the state down, they squeegee it and then these guys come and spray it down with water to the thrill of the crowds assembled around the perimeter of the rink.”

Brandon Goodwin / TODAY

Here, a crew member gives Texas a little extra water to remove the frost.

Hannah Rappleye, 26, a freelancer for NBC News, was prepped on what she needed to do as a member of what Williams dubbed "Team Zebra" when she arrived earlier today. The toughest part? “The vinyl stinks,” she said.

Vidya Rao / TODAY

The crew removes the rejected vinyl cutouts.

Before they make their debut on the ice, cutouts of each state in red and blue are stored in a room inside Rockefeller Center, and Rappleye wasn’t joking  it smells like the inside of a well-worn shoe. Rappleye and her teammates remove the alternate colors for each state and place them in the corner of the room, while states waiting to be called lay in four rows.

Vidya Rao / TODAY

The ladies of Ice Team Zebra, from left: Stacey Naggiar, Lisa Riordan Seville, Cara Eichenberger and Hannah Rappleye.

As for the moniker given to them by Williams, Rappleye said, “I have no idea where that comes from. I’m going to have to ask him about it. I just hope it’s a term of endearment.”

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