The outdoor adventures of hunting, fishing, boating and camping are all a three-phase experience. First, the gettin’ ready; next, the doing it; and finally, reliving the memories. Memories last a lifetime and the folks involved in them you’ll probably never forget.
Working in the outdoor media as a writer, hosting an outdoor radio show, and occasionally appearing on television are all true experiences. But what keeps me going are the people I encounter; from kids, parents, and grandparents, to champions and wannabes. We all have one thing in common: we put our pants on one leg at a time.
During my outdoor career I was privileged to emcee many world-class duck- and goose-calling competitions around America. In the mid-'90’s I met and interviewed a guy from Louisiana who today has become a legend. His name ‒ Phil Robertson, the Duck Commander and now one of the stars of “Duck Dynasty.”
Phil was just a tall, camo-clad, long-bearded Cajun promoting his Duck Commander calls at the Winchester World Series of Calling at National Hunting and Fishing Days in Southern Illinois. Phil delivered the keynote speech at the benefactors’ dinner and I emceed the next day’s calling competition. His son, Willie, was a youngster long before the worldwide popularity of the television show “Duck Dynasty.”
Phil’s presentation, where he carried a Bible to the podium, focused on his involvement in the outdoors, God’s great creation, and, of course, family. Afterward, he agreed to a taped interview for airing on my radio program. I was aware of his success as a college football quarterback at Louisiana Tech and his pro football tryout. Most fans know Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw was Phil’s backup at Louisiana Tech. Bradshaw was the recipient of four Super Bowl rings while guiding the Steelers. One of my final questions during our interview was, “Phil, have you ever wondered about your decision to give up a career in professional football?” Phil smiled, stroked his beard and replied, “Bradshaw got the bucks; I got the ducks. I think we’re both pretty happy.”
Our paths would cross over the years as the Commander’s career as a game call manufacturer grew and he began producing DVDs on waterfowl hunting. (I actually suggested a name for one that Phil accepted). The only thing missing was a duck hunt together in Louisiana.
It’s quite obvious to me why the best-selling book about Robertson’s life is titled “Happy, Happy, Happy.” Watch “Duck Dynasty;” read the book; do the math.
My closing thought; “We can’t even imagine how our kids can change our lives.”
Larry Reid is host of “Outdoors with Larry Reid,” which airs Sundays at noon on WBGZ Radio, 1570 AM.