Carson in Carson: NY 11-year-old visits his namesake
It all started with a place mat at his grandmother’s house, a place mat showing the map of the United States Carson Hamann studied while he ate.
“I was eating dinner and I kinda saw Nevada and then I saw Carson City right there,” he said, pointing at the map.
That’s when the Victor, N.Y., 11 year-old got the idea of visiting here, and spent the next three years persuading his parents it was a great idea.
“I was born to go to Carson City because it has my name in it! Believe it or not, it’s the capital of Nevada (aka it’s the best place in the universe!),” he wrote in a letter to his mother and father.
So a little rain and snow this week didn’t stop Carson and his father, Todd, who flew to Reno Wednesday for a four-day visit and birthday celebration here.
One of their first stops: City Hall where the pair met with Mayor Bob Crowell Thursday morning on Carson’s 11th birthday.
Crowell presented Carson with five decorative pins, including Nevada and Carson City flag pins, challenge coins for him and his father, and an official proclamation.
“I’m happy to give this to someone who has come all the way across the country to see Carson City,” Crowell said.
And Carson gave the mayor a bottle of local New York maple syrup.
“This is going on the pancakes, man,” said Crowell.
The trio spent half an hour or so talking about skiing, basketball, Carson’s older brother, Nolan, and his hometown near Rochester, where they’re used to tons of snow. Crowell and Carson commiserated over recent foot and ankle injuries.
Then the mayor offered to take the father and son on a driving tour of the city, including a drive by the Governor’s Mansion and the Nevada State Railroad Museum.
The mayor also encouraged them to visit the capitol building and go down into the replica mine shaft at the Nevada State Museum.
On their own, Carson and Todd had already visited the Boys & Girls Clubs, where Hector Benitez gave them a tour, said Todd, and showed them the Multi-Athletic Center.
In the afternoon, the Hamanns planned to visit Mrs. Steel’s 5th grade class at Al Seeliger Elementary and maybe take in a basketball game.
They were still deciding whether to head to Lake Tahoe to ski because they were more comfortable using their own equipment, which they didn’t bring along on their trip.
“I go down the hill, but I don’t know if you’d classify it as skiing,” said Todd, who works as a physical fitness trainer.
And Todd said they were still debating whether to drive somewhere to cross the state line so Carson could say he’d visited California, too.
Either way, Carson was happy to visit the town with which he shares a name.
“We didn’t know what to call you. When you were born we still didn’t have a name,” Todd told Carson in the mayor’s office. “We didn’t know any Carsons. We called you Carson and it suited you.”