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.
NetJets pilots have also showed up to show their displeasure with NetJets CEO, Jordan Hansell. They will be here all day.
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.
But we're lucky to score a single seat right across from the reserved seating for key Berkshire Hathaway employees and families.
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.
Next we go check out the crowds, which are already at around 2/3rds as big as yesterday, even at around 7:30 am.
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.
And a few stragglers making their way into the meeting. There are, unfortunately, no seats left for them.
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.
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.
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.
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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