Everyone should have the experience once in their lifetime of meeting someone famous they admire. For some it’s a rock star or politician. For me it’s Martin Buser, four time Iditarod-champion who holds the record for the fastest Iditarod at 8 days, 22 hours, 46 minutes and 2 seconds (but who’s counting?) I never dreamed that I’d ever get to meet him in person, even for a few minutes. After all, Alaska is a long ways away. But this week some other fans and I got to spend an entire evening with him in—of all places—Des Moines, Iowa.
Martin was in Des Moines as the keynote speaker for the Public Works Association Snow Removal Conference, and he needed to borrow some huskies to make a grand entrance. One of the Iditabuddies from the bssd forum let him use her huskies, and she also arranged a special fan gathering for the night before. My favorite Idita-hero only three hours away from me! That was a no-brainer. Although I’m not much of a traveler, this was an opportunity I wouldn’t miss for the world.
Part of the fun of a gathering like this is meeting other fans. The Idita-buddies are the best bunch of fans in the world. Right before the meeting I meet three other fans for supper: Cindy, fellow Martin Buser fanatic Diana, and Diana’s husband, Philip. We told the waitress we’d never met each other before, which must have seemed strange to her, since we were talking a mile a minute.
Finally the time we had been waiting for arrived. We walked into the small auditorium and saw Martin Buser “in the flesh.” He noticed our matching Buser Booster T-shirts right away (the best $20 I ever spent), and that got us talking. I thought I’d be starstruck, but he has a way of making everyone feel at home. He spoke for nearly two hours, but it seemed like a few minutes. Afterwards he stayed around and shot the breeze with us fans for a long time, tirelessly signing autographs and posing for pictures. The die-hards stayed until the end. We talked about Switzerland, writing, his family, and of course sled dog racing. His sense of humor was priceless. By the end of the evening, he felt like an old friend.
Truly an unforgettable experience! For more pics, see this link: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=91109&id=629661480&l=8717040f6e
And if that wasn’t enough, my picture was even posted on Martin Buser’s blog: http://www.buserdog.com/2009_04_01_archive.html
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