Faith, family and ducks.
Braced with a Bible in one hand and his patented duck calls in the other, “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson captivated a capacity crowd at McMinnville Civic Center as the guest speaker of this year’s Boyd Banquet.
The innovator of the Duck Commander call that surged his family to the forefront of reality TV, Robertson was candid on a variety of topics, but most of his speech turned into a sermon for the Church of Christ Elder.
Robertson is devout in his faith and used his time to speak to a crowd that approached 1,000 people about how he isn’t afraid to spread the gospel.
“We’re waging spiritual warfare and we’re not budging,” said Robertson. “I’m honored to be spoken ill of and don’t care what might be said about me on the Internet. I’ve never turned on a computer in my life.”
Robertson always turned back to his Bible after every point he made, while inducing laughter at the same time. With his camouflage attire and signature long beard, Robertson told the story of Jesus encountering another person whose appearance wasn’t exactly appealing.
“Let me tell you ladies, John the Baptist was looking rough too. So back off,” said Robertson as a chorus of laughter rang out.
While mentions of his hit TV show “Duck Dynasty,” were few, Robertson did explain how he got the idea for his famous Mallard Drake duck call. Much like when Saint Peter had a vision of a sheet full of animals being lowered from Heaven, Robertson’s invention came from a dream.
“In all the world, no one had ever heard of a Mallard Drake, but I dreamed it up one night,” said Robertson. “Nobody else had it but me and the only way to get one was by giving me $20.”
When Robertson wasn’t quoting scripture, he was reading from the writings of Thomas Jefferson and Noah Webster while describing problems facing society right now. In praise for Boyd Christian School, Robertson’s quoting Webster’s famous saying, “education is useless without the Bible,” drew a large round of applause.
Robertson did take on light-hearted matters, like his decision to leave football after making a name for himself as the quarterback of Louisiana Tech. Once a starter over future Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw, Robertson decided to pick ducks over big bucks.
“I faced a decision where I could be running from large violent men paid to stomp me into the ground, or I could shoot ducks,” said Robertson. “I think I got the better end of the deal.”
Robertson’s speech was a treat for those in attendance, but the meet and greet before the event stole the show for those who came two hours early to meet Robertson and his wife Miss Kay.
Chad Burks, who sported a red beard that rivaled Robertson’s, was thrilled to meet the “Duck Dynasty” stars.
“I love watching the show,” said Burks. “It’s fun watching them goof off cause goofing off is a big part of my life.”
His wife Amanda Burks, a Kindergarten teacher at Boyd, shook her head at her husband and pointed out how his beard has stayed because of the show.
“I think the show is a big reason why he kept it,” said Amanda Burks.
Andy Dunn got the thrill of a lifetime when he got autographs from Phil and Miss Kay. Dunn, a young cancer survivor, watches the show every week and enjoyed the Christmas special the most.
“My favorite episode was the Christmas special,” said Dunn. “It was funny at the end when the lights came on and the “J” finally lit up to spell joy. Si as the angry elf and dancing Santa were funny too.”
Cindy Vining could barely get over meeting the pair from West Louisiana, shrieking “I finally met a famous person!” as she walked away from her photo op with Phil and Miss Kay.
The family’s oldest son Alan Robertson accompanied his parents on the trip and introduced his father. Referring to himself as the “beardless Robertson,” Alan brought the house down when he compared his family to Labrador dogs. He called himself and younger brother Jeb a yellow lab, clean cut and fun-loving. His father Phil and Jase were the black labs, adventurous and wild. Willie was a mixture, making him a chocolate lab. And, without any other explanation, two projection screens showed an image of Uncle Si with the words “meth lab” written under the picture.
Boyd was proud to have the Robertson clan in Warren County for the event, which was a huge success. Thousands of dollars were raised through ticket sales, along with an auction held after Robertson’s speech. The money will go to furthering the education of Boyd Christian students.
Just as Boyd administers thought when the sought out Robertson as the guest speaker, all in attendance left McMinnville Civic Center happy, happy, happy.