When it came to selecting a guest speaker for their annual banquet, it appears officials at Boyd Christian School made the right call – a duck call that is.
Phil Robertson from the A&E Network hit TV show “Duck Dynasty” will be the featured speaker at Boyd’s banquet scheduled for Friday, March 1 at McMinnville Civic Center.
“The response has been overwhelming,” said Bo Rivers, a member of Boyd’s board of directors who spearheaded the effort to get Phil. “Of all the people we’ve ever gotten for our banquet, Phil has generated the most excitement.”
Considering Boyd’s banquet has featured Tennessee icons such as Peyton Manning, Eddie George, and Pat Summitt, that puts Phil atop some pretty high company. Rivers said Phil will be joined by his wife, Kay, who also appears on the show.
Despite his long beard and current appearance, Phil was a sports star in college. According to his biography on the A&E website, he played first-string quarterback ahead of football Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw at Louisiana Tech in the 1960s.
They were both drafted into the NFL, but Phil turned down the chance to play pro football because it interfered with duck season. Instead he stayed in Louisiana, married his high school sweetheart, Miss Kay, built a house by the river and together they raised four sons.
Phil’s love for the outdoors led him to create the Duck Commander Duck Call in 1973, which has become one of the most trusted duck whistles on the market. Duck hunting is so important to Phil that he follows a strict routine of no showering, no shaving, and no clothes washing of any kind during the 10-week season to ensure a bountiful haul.
A homegrown mom-and-pop operation, Duck Commander has become a sporting empire by fabricating top-of-the-line duck calls and decoys out of salvaged swamp wood. The rags-to-riches story and country charm of Phil and Miss Kay are reasons behind the success of “Duck Dynasty,” a show set to enter its third season. The first two seasons have 28 episodes.
Each show brings a new set of challenges that are met with a special brand of Southern know-how and a down-home sense of humor.
Another endearing aspect of the show is it stays true to the Robertson family values. At the end of each show you can see the family gathered around a table for a meal with Phil saying grace.
“There is an underlying Christian focus and they try to teach morals through the show,” said Rivers. “That’s one of the things we like about it.”
Rivers said the normal waiting period is around three years to book a speaker like Phil, but he said Boyd got lucky because of a connection to Phil’s son Alan, who is not on the show but who works in the duck call business. His other sons, Jase, Willie, and Jep, appear on the show.
“It was a friend of a friend type of deal,” said Rivers. “We were able to email Alan and he set it up.”
Banquet ticket sales have been brisk with Rivers saying the balcony tables have been sold out. He says tables on the floor for $1,500 each are roughly half sold out. Those seats all include a meal.
In addition, Boyd is offering general admission seating for the first time. Those tickets do not include a meal and cost $75 each. General admission tickets have not yet gone on sale.
“This has created a lot of positive buzz and it’s going to really help the school,” said Rivers.
The A&E website says to look for new episodes of “Duck Dynasty” in 2013, although it doesn’t indicate when the new season will start.
The current season includes episodes where: Sadie attempts to get her driver license; John Luke starts dating, but Phil won’t let the teen lovebird out of his sight; Si gets fed up with the duck call business and quits; the whole family pulls together and enters the local tractor race competition with a supped up racing machine; Kay asks Phil to build a playhouse for their granddaughters but he loses the directions; Willie takes a by-any-means-necessary approach to losing weight for his high school reunion; and Si is conned into a pricey purchase at a used car lot.