Mucker Q&A, Al Emerick, MuckFest MS Emcee
We’re crazy excited to chat with Al Emerick, AKA our mucking awesome emcee who gets the crowd ready at our MuckFest MS events. He fills us in on his history with the National MS Society, tells us the funniest shenanigans he’s pulled off at MuckFest MS, and shares insight into his pre-muck routine.
MuckFest MS: How did you initially become involved with MuckFest® MS and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society?
Al: One of my great friends, Michael Ammiano, is on the Board of the North Florida Chapter in Jacksonville, and he asked me to help out with emceeing the first MuckFest MS Jacksonville. I also have a dear friend with MS and had participated with Bike MS as an emcee as well. The MuckFest MS team is full of amazing, selfless people, and it was an immediate bond.
MuckFest MS: What is your very favorite moment from the 2014 series so far?
Al: Tough to say, as there have been so many awesome moments (and it’s still going strong!). If I had to pick one, I’d have to say it happened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. MuckFest MS Philadelphia is a two-day event on Saturday and Sunday. I “encouraged” a groom to express his love and devotion to his bride by doing a full body flop into the mud, which he did; both front and back, and he even added a few “mud-angels” for good measure. (That’s our version of a snow angel.) It was awesome. Inspiring, moving and hilarious!
MuckFest MS: What is your craziest starting line crowd activity?
Al: It’s a tie. 1) The group face plant is a hoot. It sometimes takes a lot of encouragement, and I often have to join in the activity! We try to get the majority of muckers to drop to their knees and plant their face in the mud. We’re talking mud and mucky slush up your nose, in your beard and brow. Not a pretty sight, but definitely worth the laugh. 2) I have to give credit to Ray Muller from Philadelphia who was my co-emcee there. He and I created a game called the Muck Low Rider. With the song, “Low Rider” playing in the background, people sit on their behinds and scoot through the muck under tape across the starting line. Yeah, we’re talking mud in your…well, ya know. It’s crazy.
MuckFest MS: Describe your pre-MuckFest MS routine.
Al: Ha…Routine? That would imply far too much structure. Seriously, that’s the beauty of MuckFest MS. While the event is a well-orchestrated machine of precision and deployment, my process is very improvised, and they let me do my thing. I show up about 90 minutes before event kickoff, check out the event flow, and participant traffic flow. I also do a sound check to establish my microphone range. I spend my time during the event at the starting line, finish line, and walking throughout the crowd. So much of what I do is about living the National MS Society brand by being an extension of that brand in the MuckFest MS tone; and that means always walking around, goofing with people and building a bond as the “curator” of the MuckFest MS starting line kickoff.
MuckFest MS: As one of the select lucky mucky few who is in every market, what is your one piece of advice for muckers?
Al: Come here to play, be a kid again, and embrace the mission. MuckFest MS is a tremendous challenge; but for those with MS and those supporting family and friends with MS, it’s much more. If you can beat the course or be out there in support of those on the course, you know that you can face MS head on. No matter how slow, how fast…you’re playing in the mud, pushing your body, doing something healthy, and helping kick MS’s a-s! That’s a pretty good day in my book.
Many thanks to Al for letting us in on the details of his life as a MuckFest MS emcee! We can’t wait to see you at the rest of our 2014 MuckFest MS series!