The 470 people dressed as cows, at the request of Chick-fil-A, stand in one place inside the George Mason University Field House for the required five minutes Tuesday to break the Guinness World Record for “largest gathering of people dressed as cows.” (Tom Jackman/The Washington Post)

A new world record was set Tuesday at George Mason University. A Guinness World Records adjudicator certified that 470 people dressed as cows had gathered in one place for five minutes, smashing the previous record of 298 held by Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Simcoe, Ontario. The declaration of success, by Guinness official Philip Robertson, set off cheers of “USA! USA!” in the sweaty Mason field house, and a DJ cued up Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA,” which is not exactly a declaration of American pride, but whatever.

Philip Robertson, an official "adjudicator" from the Guinness World Records organization, photographs the herd of 470 people dressed as cows before declaring it an official world record. (Tom Jackman - The Washington Post) Philip Robertson, a Guinness “adjudicator,” photographs the herd before declaring an official world record. (Tom Jackman/The Washington Post)

The event was organized by operators of the 18 Chick-Fil-A restaurants around Northern Virginia as part of the company’s long-running “fearless cows” ad campaign.

Robertson said he had to monitor such key points as whether everyone had on a full cow costume with spots, how many people entered through two counting points, and how many people departed before the five-minute official gathering period.

“It sounds simple on paper,” Robertson said, “until you’re herding 500 cows.” He’s now off to inspect and verify such achievements as the world’s largest dessert party, the largest human playing card, and the largest serving of salsa.

The human bovine families that were there had some fun and got free chicken sandwiches on the way out. “What else do you have in your local neighborhood that lets you be part of a world record?” said Michaele Farmer of Fairfax, with kids Haley, 12, and Timothy, 8. “They can go back to school in September and tell everyone they were part of it.”

John Sams, 8, of Alexandria, said he pushed his family to participate because, “I like dressing up in cow costumes.” His mom, Sara Sams, said her crew, with son William, 12, and daughter Annelise, 3,  was excited to “dress up and become part of the Guinness Book of Records.”