Monday, March 10, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS - Sometimes being famous is nice.
Just ask Seth Wescott.
There he was, sitting back home in Maine on Thursday when a Visa representative called:
"Seth, want to go to the Super Bowl?"
"Hey," Wescott, the two-time Olympic snowboardcross gold medal winner from Carrabassett Valley, said Sunday morning. "I had the opportunity to come. I decided I had to come."
Amazingly, not only is the Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and New York Giants Wescott's first Super Bowl but, he said, "It's my first NFL game. Ever. Sweet that I get to see my team play in the Super Bowl."
Wescott, who appears in several ads for Visa, arrived Saturday, accompanied by Eric McClure of Sugarloaf. Once here, they joined up with super fans Mike Runser and John Beaupre -- two 50-year-olds who should be the envy of any serious sports fan in Maine.
Runser, from Sydney, and Beaupre, from Carrabassett Valley, travel the nation attending sports events. Last September they celebrated Beaupre's 50th birthday at Lambeau Field in the NFL season opener between Green Bay and New Orleans. During that trip they also played two rounds at Whistling Straits golf course, which was the site of the 2010 PGA championship, went to a baseball game in Milwaukee, a Chicago Bears football game and a Chicago White Sox baseball game.
"That was a good trip," Runser said.
The two childhood friends have been doing this sort of thing for years. They've attended the Kentucky Derby -- "I'm not a big horse guy," said Beaupre, who owns four convenience/grocery stores in the Carrabassett Valley area. "But that's definitely one of my top five sporting road trips." -- five baseball All-Star games, the Atlanta Olympics, Game 4 of last year's Stanley Cup finals and the NBA finals.
In July they plan on being in London for the Olympics.
"We just love sports," Beaupre said. "And I'm fortunate that Mike is associated with Budweiser. That's an advantage we have."
Runser is the central Maine distributor for Anheuser-Busch, so he has access to tickets others don't. The two got their Super Bowl tickets when they arrived Thursday.
This was Runser's 12th Super Bowl, Beaupre's fifth. "We sort of have a bucket list of sporting events we want to do," said Beaupre, adding that the Indianapolis 500 is on it.
They begin planning their sporting trips each year in January.
"We sit down and figure out what we want to do," Runser said. "We pick one event, then we look around the area to see what else we can do."
"Sort of a boys road trip," said Beaupre, while the two had a light lunch at the downtown Hard Rock Cafe.
The fact that Wescott, a close friend, is here with them makes this game even more special. "Carrabassett Valley is lucky to have him as an ambassador," Beaupre said.
Wescott, of course, is recovering from a torn pectoral muscle that ended his World Cup snowboard season. He's attending while wearing a sling.
"Recovery's going good," he said. "I'm going to be fine."
SIX HOURS before kickoff, Jack Bicknell Jr., an assistant offensive line coach for the Giants, took the time to pose for photos with his family in front of the J.W. Marriott hotel, with the gigantic decal of the Vince Lombardi Trophy on its front.
Bicknell's father, Jack Bicknell Sr., coached the University of Maine football team for five years.
During that time, the young Bicknell played football at Orono High and had a 38-0 record to start a streak that reached 48.
It was obvious he was enjoying his first Super Bowl and wanted to share it with his family.
ALLISON MELANGTON, the Auburn native known as Allison Cummings at Edward Little High who was the president and CEO of the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee, was worried all week that she might not be able to attend the game.
But Sunday dawned, the sun was shining and the temperature very comfortable.
As she walked away from Lucas Oil Stadium about four hours before kickoff, she seemed relieved -- and grateful.
"There were a million scenarios in which I couldn't go," she said, her ever-present blue-and-white scarf knitted by her sister, Lynn Cummings, wrapped around her. "But I think I'm going to go. And I think I'm going to relax and put my feet up."
DAVE DOSTIE of Skowhegan arrived Thursday without a ticket and sweated his way through the weekend before finally securing a ticket two hours before kickoff. He paid $1,100 for an $800 seat, which he felt was a pretty good deal.
"This means a heck of a lot," said Dostie, a season-ticket holder who has missed just one of the Patriots' seven Super Bowl appearances. "I've always been one of their biggest fans, and I've told (owner) Bob Kraft that I wasn't going to miss this one."
Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:
Correction: This story was revised at 1:30 p.m., Feb. 6, 2012, to correctly spell the name of John Beaupre.