DES MOINES, Iowa — The staggering amount of money coming in to Carson King’s Venmo account continues to grow – as does the donation that will go to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. The viral fundraiser has netted more than $1 million to benefit the children’s hospital.
It’s been an unbelievable experience for King that all started as a joke when he brought his viral beer sign to College GameDay at the Cy-Hawk football game. Channel 13 Sports Director Keith Murphy caught up with King to talk about what this life-changing experience has been like for him.
What was your reaction when you found out you had crossed $1 million raised?
It was over the top. I was ecstatic. I just started calling my family and letting them know. I was actually at work, and I looked down and I did the quick math in my had and was like, ‘Oh my gosh! We just hit a million, and we still have eight days left.’ It was crazy.
You work at Prairie Meadows. What’s it like there walking around?
I’m actually in the stable area, so I’m kind of away from all the general public in there. I work with all the horsemen and horses.
Do the horses recognize you?
I don’t think so. I don’t think I’m big enough yet for the horses to recognize me. But it’s been cool. A lot of people have come up to me and shaken my hand and thanked me for everything that’s going on. So it’s really been a blessing to get this out there and have that many people recognize me.
A couple of Hawkeye fans have donated four tickets to Saturday’s game so you can go and see the wave in person. What did that mean to you?
It means so much. They are the sweetest people out there. I mean, that is incredible. I can’t wait to bring my brother, his fiancé and my nephew to go see the game.
What has it been like interacting with both Cyclone and Hawkeye fans during this week of people coming together?
It’s great. Obviously, they are all incredibly supportive because they both have the best fan bases in the nation. They are all so excited that all of this is happening. They are thankful for everything. I couldn’t have done any of this without all the generous people out there.
What are some of the television shows, radio shows and websites that you’ve appeared on?
CNN, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends. I’ve been on ABC News, NBC News. I saw that the Today Show did a thing on me. ESPN, they did a thing on me. It’s crazy.
What are some of the more memorable comments that you’ve received? The ones that really stand out to you.
I just love how people share their stories with me. People have been messaging me on Facebook and Twitter. It’s really busy, so I don’t have time to get back to all of them right away, but I try to go through and answer people. It’s cool hearing all this and knowing this is actually going to make a difference for these people.
One of the challenges when you raise a lot of money is you become aware of how many people need that money and want that money. How have you handled that when you’ve heard from worthy causes that would like you to find a way to give some of that money to their cause?
I’ve already made my commitment to the Stead Family Hospital. In the future, I’d really like to use this notoriety that I’ve gotten to promote different organizations and groups around Iowa, the Midwest and the country that are doing cool things for people. I’d love to do that.
Have you heard from people who are drinking Busch Beer more than they thought they would and wanted you to know they were having a Busch Light?
Friday night in New York City, I was getting texts and Snaps from all my friends. They were at the bars in downtown Des Moines and everyone in all the bars was drinking Busch Light. They were in West Glen, downtown in Ames, Welch, it was crazy to see.
Have you heard from the other Busch Guy?
Yeah, I have. He’s really nice. Jerry reached out to me. He wanted to thank me for everything and said he’d love to have a couple Busch Lattes with me. I’ll have to take him up on that offer at some point.
What’s next for you?
Back to normal I think. Keep working. Otherwise, maybe turn this into some type of foundation and move forward from there. See if I can help more people out.
What would you like to say directly to the thousands of people who have contributed to raising more than a million dollars?
Thank you so much. There’s no way any of this would have happened without all the thousands of generous people out there. It really puts faith in humanity knowing that people do care and that there’s good people out there.