DENVER — Earthlings, if you haven't met Captain Earthman, it's about time you did. He's been a staple at sporting events — specifically Colorado Rockies games — for the past 30 years. Earthman, however, is preparing for departure.
The legend of beer vending, whose real name is Brent Doeden, has added being a stranded alien to his persona — an alien visiting this planet until he could be picked up by his mothership.
Tips, of course, go towards helping repair his stranded spaceship.
Beyond his first impression, this quirky beer vendor has been bringing smiles — and refreshing, adult beverages — to Rockies fans since the conception of Captain Earthman several decades ago. But to understand his persona, let's travel back a few years to Earthman's youth.
According to his wife Becky Scharfenberg, Earthman picked up the nickname when consuming marijuana with a group of friends.
"Someone handed him a joint and he said, well if it's from the Earthman, I'll smoke it!" Scharfenberg recalled. "He became Earthman. Now that was when he was a little bit younger, and he didn't reassume the nickname until he started vending."
The nickname stuck after he found his beloved career, where he found tips and popularity would help pay the bills. Being more unique as a beer vendor would attract more customers. So Earthman's spaceship came crashing down, sticking Earth with one of the most recognizable aliens outside of Roswell.
"I need more tips so that I can get parts to fix my spaceship," Scharfenberg recounted Earthman saying.
The persona became more than just a name -- it took on his true personality, Scharfenberg said, adding it's all part of what attracted people to engage with Earthman year after year.
"Everybody knows Captain Earthman is a little quirky. Every year they would wait to see what changes he was making," Scharfenberg said. "Although all of them were very small and subtle."
Earthman, an inventor and crafty fellow, would tack on new baubles to his work uniform each season. Between temporary tattoos, hats, glitter and more, he sought out what might bring a smile to the faces of those around him.
"A lot of thought went into it. He would think real long and hard about it so that he would have it ready for spring training," Scharfenberg said.
So a following began, with fans coming to games throughout good years and bad even if just to see and speak with Earthman himself.
The following swelled to such a point that even his grandchildren thought they were part alien.
"A granddaughter was discussing in elementary school with her class their heritage and how that made them who they are," Scharfenberg fondly remembered. "She told her teacher, 'I'm part alien, I know that because my papa is alien.'"
Those are the times Scharfenberg likes to recall, especially as the family deals with the reality that Earthman is battling terminal brain cancer. He has Stage 4 Glioblastoma; a tumor sits on his brain stem, another on his frontal lobe.
Earthman's doctors gave him between three and 18 months to live eight months ago, meaning his family is preparing to say farewell.
"Do we think it's going to be his last season? Possibly. Every day is borrowed time due to what condition he's in," Scharfenberg said.
She said she and her husband are going to attend every Rockies game possible going forward, and the pair will continue to push Earthman's message.
"He would just hope that everyone will continue to make every situation a fun situation. Be happy, be kind to each other. If you happen to think somebody is off the wall, remember that Captain Earthman was off the wall and people would come to Rockies games just to see him."
He stresses that it's OK to be different, Scharfenberg said.
"It's OK to buck the system a little bit, because sometimes you can make that your advantage and that can make you a better person," Scharfenberg said of his message. "Don't be afraid to try things, don't be afraid to try a new hat or try a temporary tattoo, you might find that you like it and other people like it, too."
Scharfernberg expressed that she feels life is short, so enjoy it while you can, noting the Earthman clan will be soaking up the next few months.
So, from all of Earth, good luck on your upcoming journey, Captain. You will be missed.