WE WENT THERE: This is what it's like to experience the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting

Myles Udland/Business InsiderOf course Berkshire offers ice cream for breakfast at its shareholder meeting.

The Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting is a financial pilgrimage.

Investors from around the world come to Omaha, Nebraska to hear Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett and his vice chairman Charlie Munger take questions from journalists, analysts, and shareholders for seven hours.

And the lines for getting in to see the two speak starts hours before the sun begins to rise in Omaha.

We went to the Berkshire annual meeting this year and got the full shareholder experience.

From the grand arrival of CEOs, to the stampede for seats, to the brief moment when you can almost reach out and grab him, it is quite a day.

We're told to get there by 5:00 am if we want a decent seat, and we pull into the parking lot at 4:58. Right on time.

It's not even dawn, just regular middle of the night dark when we arrive.

And the line is at least a few thousand deep.

A few minutes later, a party bus shows up.

As day begins to break, the crowd is seriously swelling on both sides of the entrance.

NetJets pilots have also showed up to show their displeasure with NetJets CEO, Jordan Hansell. They will be here all day.

At around 6:15, two Texas longhorns come walking down 10th street.

A wave to the crowd.

And longhorn #2, not to be forgotten.

Next up is a horse-drawn Wells Fargo carriage.

And inside is Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf.

Next up in a Chrysler 300 is the man himself, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett.

The sun is now starting to poke through and the crowds have really grown behind us.

And mysteriously, the crowd appears to have grown in front of us, too.

We slowly get towards the door.

And it's hard to make out, but on the other side of that glass are Berkshire shareholders running to save seats inside the arena.

By the time we get into the arena it is PACKED.

Jammed to our right.

But we're lucky to score a single seat right across from the reserved seating for key Berkshire Hathaway employees and families.

Next we head back to the convention center looking for one guy.

And I think we've found him.


Buffett, along with Bill Gates (in yellow), is getting set to throw a newspaper onto the porch of a Clayton Homes model home.

Buffett lines up his shot, and challengers will try to get closer to the porch than Buffett after this.

Buffett gives it a whirl.

And admires his work.

As Bill Gates looks on.

This shareholder is up next to challenge Buffett's toss.

Her throw isn't quite as good as Buffett's, and now we're looking for the next challenger.

And it is CNBC's Becky Quick.

Contestants have to fold up the paper themselves. Here is Quick getting set for her toss.

1.. 2...


Next we go check out the crowds, which are already at around 2/3rds as big as yesterday, even at around 7:30 am.

And these crowds will only get bigger throughout the day.

Next we check out the shareholder breakfast, which is a table full of Mrs. Freshley's cakes.

Every variety of Mrs. Freshley's is represented.

But we opted for a healthier option: The Dilly Bar from Dairy Queen.

On the way back to our seat we spy this shareholder, who has enjoyed almost all of the spoils of being a Berkshire shareholder, investing in the partnership since 1967.

On the way back to our seats, we see that it is POURING rain.

And a few stragglers making their way into the meeting. There are, unfortunately, no seats left for them.

Now the arena is totally jammed.

The crowd getting settled.

Even the nosebleeds are full.

Here's a shot of the stage from our seat. Buffett will sit closer to the camera, Charlie Munger, Berkshire's vice chairman, will be on the far side.

The screens around the stage, which right now have the 50 year meeting logo, will broadcast Buffett and Munger as they speak throughout the day.

Buffett and Munger mill about in the minutes before the meeting starts.

There are the 3 journalists that will ask Buffett and Munger questions: CNBC's Becky Quick (in orange), Carol Loomis of Fortune, and Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times.

Buffett and Munger sit together at the end of the row. Munger is closer in this shot.

We weren't allowed to film or record the video that kicks off the meeting. Here's the arena emptying out during the hour-long lunch break.

After lunch we took a spin around the arena, heading to the upper deck for some space, a little light, and some pictures.

Buffett is closer to us in this shot, but the spotlight makes it hard to see Munger and Buffett up there.

That's a bit better.

Buffett, near side, and Munger handle the official shareholder meeting business.

Here's the Berkshire board, which also gets voted on during the meeting.

Buffett handled the meeting's official business, which took about 7 minutes all in.

And when the board is ratified, Munger is out of there.

And then the crowds start streaming out. It is a beautiful afternoon in Omaha.

Here's the line for buses and taxis as shareholders scatter across the city.

And the flow of shareholders walking back up into the downtown area from the arena.

It's been a long day inside CenturyLink. And with that, the 50th annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway shareholders is a wrap.

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