Duck Dynasty star uses notoriety to speak to high school students
the annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade just over a month away, Duck Dynasty’s Mountain Man, who will serve as the parade starter, is looking forward to a return visit to Hot Springs.
“I’ve been there one time, briefly. . . years and years ago. When I was looking at my busy schedule, I saw this parade thing, and it really stuck out in my mind. It sounds like it will be really interesting,” Mountain Man said in his characteristic slow drawl.
A heating and air repair man by trade, Mountain Man has used his notoriety from the hit show to become an inspirational speaker, reaching out to high school kids across the country speaking to them about alcohol and drug abuse and bullying.
“It was Lord sent, no doubt. I knew Willie’s (Robertson, CEO of Duck Commander) housekeeper, and they called me to work on the A/C at his house. I was cutting up with him, and we really hit it off and became good friends.That friendship quickly spread to the rest of the Robinson family. I did a good job for him and I gave him a fair shake on the price. It wasn’t long before he said to me that they were about to start a TV show, and he wanted me to be on it to give me a blessing,” Mountain Man said.
He is the only semi-regular on the show who is neither a member of the Robertson family or employed by Duck Commander. However, his popularity has quickly grown because of his relaxed demeanor, his slow talk and the humorous situations he has filmed with members of the family. His heating and air experience was actually worked into an episode of Duck Dynasty. Another episode involves him hosting a radio show with Willie and Uncle Si.
“Having that put into the script helped me pick up my radio show and get it started. It has really grown. I was in Ruston, but now I do the show on 104.1 KJLO in Monroe. We play a bunch of good music, and it’s a chance for me to provide good wholesome entertainment to the listeners. It’s just another path the Lord has given me to reach out to people, and there’s some good things in Mountain Man’s future. It’s looking real good,” Mountain Man said.
The episode in the radio station was very popular among viewers, and Mountain Man said, “We had a blast doing that scene.The writers give us an outline of what they want, but the rest of it is right off the top of our heads. Si really caught Willie off guard with some things in that scene that were funny.That’s what makes the show so good. We are just down-to-earth good people, being ourselves to create a show that people of any age can watch.”
Since he will serve as the parade starter, viewers readily identify the episode where Mountain Man is the official starter of the lawn mower races that involved Willie and a childhood rival. When he was told the parade route was only 97 feet and that the lineup was longer than the parade itself, he chucked and responded, “That’ll be something to see. I hope my schedule will allow me some time to look around the town and meet people.” Mountain Man has taken his celebrity status in stride. “I go at Mountain Man’s pace and make sure I maintain my personal relationship with the Lord. He keeps me in stride,” he said.
Mountain Man has become known as a gracious person to sign autographs and pose for pictures even when he’s not at a personal appearance.
“It’s the right thing to do.You can’t just suck it all up and not give back.The Lord has given me this opportunity, and He will make it more lucrative for me and bless me as I keep meeting people, even if it’s just a quick handshake and telling them hello.
“I love kids, and this success has really allowed me to reach
out to a lot of them. I’ve gone to high schools all over the country and am booked at appearances through June. Even at regular personal appearance, kids seem drawn to me. When I do autograph sessions, some kids wait in line four to five hours to see me. My manager will say we only have two hours at this spot, but I say Mountain Man is done when he says he’s done. I go over the limit and sometimes stay two or three extra hours. It beats the tar out of me sometimes, but it’s well worth it. If my schedule is forcing me to leave, I make it a point to go down the line and shake hands with everyone before I leave,” he said.
Mountain Man’s schedule works well in that Duck Dynasty episodes are filmed during the week, and he spends his weekends at appearances. He works on his radio show and is putting the finishing touches on an autobiography, relating humorous stories and hunting adventures during his childhood and early adult life.
Mountain Man never misses an opportunity to talk about his relationship with God when a door opens.
“I grew up in a good Baptist home, and I always thought I was a pretty good ole boy. However, when I met the Robertsons, they took me to the next level, and I gave my heart to the Lord. I had a lot of talks about the good Lord with Jase (COO of Duck Commander) in the duck call room. He actually baptized me at their church. When I was coming down the aisle, I saw a big flash. I thought at first it was the Lord smiling down on me, but it was just Willie taking my picture,” he said with a laugh.
His inspirational speeches haven’t gone unnoticed either. During a talk at a huge church in Birmingham, Ala., Mountain Man said, “Twenty-seven people came down and rededicated themselves. The church officials said that was a record. That was a huge battle won to bring people to the Lord.”
Mountain Man was asked what he does to relax when he’s not on the road or filming a show.
“Hit the woods! My freezer runneth over with deer, wild boar and ducks.The Lord blessed us with these animals, and in return, we have to be good stewards of the land. I learned that early in life, and it’s something that Phil (Robertson family patriarch) practices all the time.”
Mountain Man was told that downtown Hot Springs would be a sea of green on St. Patrick’s Day. Being one who likes to fit in, he concluded, “I’ll be there wearing my camo green. Looking forward to seeing everybody. Emm hmm.”
“I go at Mountain Man’s pace and make sure I maintain my personal relationship with the Lord. He keeps me in stride.”