The office of the man who keeps the books for the Salt Lake Olympic Bid Committee is overrun with moose - the small, stuffed-toy version, not the huge antlered creatures that wander Utah forests.
Finance Director Rod Hamson is making his way through the herd of fuzzy, felt-eared moose dolls to find the one that will best remind recipients of Salt Lake City's bid for the 2002 Winter Games.The plan is to clothe the moose of choice in Olympic outfits and seal them inside specially decorated canisters for distribution at next month's International Olympic Committee meeting in Paris, France.
Coming up with promotional gimmicks such as the moose-in-a-can is all in a day's work for Hamson, who started his career with the bid committee as a volunteer in the fall of 1989.
He'd just moved from Orem to study business at the University of Utah and could afford to volunteer because he'd saved enough money from working as a diesel mechanic for a concrete company based in his hometown, Vernal.
After voters approved a statewide referendum supporting Salt Lake City's Olympic bid, Hamson was hired full-time as the bid committee's finance director.
Despite working 60-hour weeks during the bids for both the 1998 Winter Games and the 2002 Winter Games, he earned a bachelor's degree in finance with a minor in economics from the University of Utah.
And in 1992, during the Winter Games in Albertville, France, he and his wife, Anita, became parents with the birth of Mckelle. They have another daughter, Alexa, who's 3 months old.
Besides choosing the toy moose, T-shirts, baseball caps and other merchandise that will bear the official bid committee logo, Hamson's duties include arranging transportation for Olympic visitors.
He is also responsible for tracking the privately funded bid committee budget. The four-year campaign for the 2002 Winter Games is expected to cost $6 million.
That must seem easy compared with getting groups of IOC members and other Olympic dignitaries around the area. Ham-son's worst experience was getting lost on the way to a gathering at the U. president's home in Federal Heights.
He frantically directed the driver of a bus filled with Olympic officials through the neighborhood, trying to spot the party while calling everyone he could think of on a mobile phone for help.
His best times on the job involve travel, too. Hamson saw his first Olympics earlier this year, as part of the bid committee delegation at the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, Nor-way.
He'd planned to go to the Games in Albertville, but he didn't want to miss the birth of his first child. Mckelle's second birthday came during the Lille-hammer Games, and Ham-son sent gifts from Norway via a private jet.
There's going to be more missed birthdays in the Hamson household. Hamson will be in Paris on his wife's birthday this year. She'll be at home with Mckelle and the new baby.
He says he'll have to find a birthday present for her in Paris, in between passing out gifts and making arrangements for bid committee gatherings with IOC officials.
Hopefully, he'll have time to look for something besides moose-in-a-can.