Moun­tain Man

Duck Dy­nasty star uses no­to­ri­ety to speak to high school stu­dents

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - From The Editor - Story by JEFF SMITH

With

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.”

Sub­mit­ted Photo

Photo by JEFF SMITH

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