God, family, ducksFeature Stories, Freestyle Monday, April 30th, 2012
Not every family on reality TV is obsessed with fame and celebrity like the Kardashians. Not every reality TV star’s childhood dream was to be followed by cameras 12 hours per day and up to four months. No reality TV family is like Jase Robertson and his family, the stars of the reality TV series “Duck Dynasty.”
“It was fun for a while, but then it started turning into a grind,” said Jase Robertson, duck call designer and co-star of the reality show.
Unlike the Kardashian family who is always in the limelight, Jase said he uses his “celebrity” status to talk to large groups of people about loving God and people.
There have been many great family dynasties in the history of the world: the Ming and Qing dynasties of Asia, the Romanovs of Russia and several others throughout history.
Now comes another dynasty who says their family motto is “God, family and ducks – in that order.”
Jase said the money and power just sort of came as lagniappe due to their hard work.
The Robertson family, who has heavy West Monroe roots, say they aren’t special because of reality TV stardom. It’s their product that makes them unique – making and selling duck calls.
“We have a philosophy…We believe in our product – duck calls,” Jase said. “A lot of the people in the duck world try to make something more than a duck, which is kind of the American way.”
Jase added: “They think if something is bigger, faster and it looks better, then it must be better. Our whole deal is that we make sounds that ducks make.”
Jase said he doesn’t care if the duck call sounds good to a man. He just cares about the duck.
Jase said he learned everything he knows about ducks and making calls from personal experience. His father Phil Robertson, known as the Duck Commander, exposed all of his children to the outdoor world and hard work at very young ages.
Jase’s brother, Willie, is the CEO of the Duck Commander business, because he has a degree in business and has always been business-minded since grade school.
With Willie’s business savvy and Phil’s simplistic lifestyle, the duck dynasty was born.
“We consider ourselves to be blessed,” said Jase, who has been working with the company since 22 years old.
“The success of the company is nice, but it is not my driving force. I just like to hunt,” he said.
“But, it’s been a wild ride. We didn’t just wake up one morning and say, ‘Hey, let’s try to be famous and make a lot of money.’ It just kind of happened.”
A red-neck family from West Monroe whose men don’t believe in shaving beards and argue that frogs are amongst the best white meat to eat, entertain audiences across the nation with their unique style of living. In Phil’s mind, it’s just the way it ought to be.
Jeptha “Jep” Robertson, Phil’s son, is the family’s digital media man, and he has been hunting ducks since he was about five years old. Jep said he got his first kill when he was six.
Jep said his father’s main belief is that a man should be able to provide for his family, without any help from anybody else. He said the family’s bushy beards started with his dad, too. Since Jep was a kid, he remembers his dad having the beard. But, it’s something the audiences seem to like.
“I guess they just like that old school, rugged [look],” Jep said.
Jep said he is really pleased with how well the show’s producers accurately portray how close the his family is.
“They really tried to show how close we are as a family – and, we really are that close,” Jep said. “I would say they really knocked it out of the park on that part of the show.”
However, one part Jep said he and his family didn’t like was how editors bleeped out certain words, making it seem as if the Robertsons used foul language .
“I guess, [they did it] just to kind of add a little drama, but we didn’t care for that too much,” he said.
As far as being represented as the faces of Northeast Louisiana, Jep said he thinks his family represented the region well.
“We get so many good comments from people saying, what a great family we have,” Jep said. “I think we are typical people from this area. We hunt, we enjoy ourselves.”
But, with fame comes a price that two members of the Robertson clan don’t mind paying. Jep said catering to people who watch the show and walk into the Duck Commander warehouse to meet the Robertsons can sometimes get tough to handle when they are trying to get work done.
“It gets kind of awkward at times,” Jep said. “But, I’d rather it be tougher on us to do our work and meet these people, because in the end, that’s the people supporting you.”
For the Robertsons, God, family and ducks will always be priorities. To be part of the “Duck Dynasty,” tune in for new episodes every Wednesday at 9 p.m. on the A&E channel.
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