A WYOMING RANCHER SPENDS AN AFTERNOON IN ENGLAND WITH ELTON JOHN
Carter’s got stories. One of my favorites involves a pig he named D-Con, but that’s for another time. Here’s one from Windsor, England. “This was a crazy time in my life. I was dating this girl Rachel, who I’m still great friends with. She’s Justin Timberlake’s personal photographer, so I went from hanging out in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, in the summers to following her around with Justin. The first summer we were dating, she asked me, “Hey, you want to go to Europe with us?” When we traveled together, it wasn’t an entourage; it was me, Justin, and Rachel. First off, Justin is an amazing human. Super rad guy. He can shred; he’s genuine. I can’t thank that dude enough for the experiences that he gave me through those years. So I find myself in Europe because Justin was doing a surprise appearance at Elton John’s AIDS benefit. I think this was in 2010, but I could be wrong. The event was held at Elton’s place in Windsor.
I didn’t know where the fuck Windsor is, but Justin, Rachel, and I drive out there from London. We roll up to the front of his house, and I’m kind of standing out. I remember the butler being like, ‘You don’t need your skateboard.’ Then front door opens and there’s Elton, standing there. And he goes, ‘Welcome. I’m Elton.’ And I’m like, ‘Hi, I’m Mark.’
He’s wearing a white adidas tracksuit and circular red glasses. I was fascinated by how cool this guy was. He gave us a tour of his house, and we had lunch. He has one of the biggest art collections in the world. We just bro’d down with Elton. It’s funny when you meet someone like that; they’re just humans. As accomplished as he is, he was so down to earth, humble, and just present with conversations. What made things especially crazy was that Michael Jackson died that day. So I was with that crew when it happened—people who were really close to him. It was a crazy energy.
That night, the event was going down. It wasn’t open to public; this was the A-list of A-list. I recognized everybody. Just like, ‘Oh shit, that’s Keith Richards.’ So it was just a really interesting place to be, especially for a person like myself, to have a window into this world that few people experience. I ended up sitting sidestage, and listening to the music was so powerful. Justin is an amazing performer and entertainer, but Elton, dude. When I and listened to him play the piano and sing, that was powerful, powerful stuff. I was really grateful for Justin and Rachel for sharing that experience with me. I was this up-and-coming snowboarder, and maybe I kind of thought I was hot shit. But after hanging out with those guys, I was like, ‘I’m just a fuckin’ snowboarder.’ It definitely humbled me having an experience like that. That was some crazy shit.”