Last spring, our region hosted a weekend camp for 7th and 8th graders with the "4-H Dynasty" theme. (Read more about that here.) At the time, we'd tried to arrange for one of the cast members to make an appearance at our camp, but were told it would be better for us to bring the group to them, instead. So, we decided to reward some of the teens for their participation in the camp by recognizing two youth from each small group and all the Jr. Counselors with plans for an upcoming tour at the Duck Commander warehouse.
When we tried to follow through with those plans, we kept running into road blocks and red tape. Remodeling began on the warehouse to make more space for the make-shift gift shop that had been set up, and it was definitely a no-go when filming was in-progress. Then we were told that A&E had taken over all tour arrangements and these were no longer being scheduled. Womp, womp.
Fast forward to January 2014, and enter Representative Vance McAllister. Mr. McAllister visited our District Livestock Show as a local dignitary and FFA Alumn with a history of showing livestock. One of our agents made a comment to his staff about trying to get into Duck Commander, and just like that, voila! the possibility was reborn. (As good friends of the family, the Robertsons were key in a last minute push to get McAllister elected.)
Finally, we got a date on the calendar - April 12, 2014. Then, on April 7th, a media storm hit when videos surfaced of Mr. McAllister in an extramarital affair. Turns out, the "other woman" was his scheduler, and the very person who got us on the calender for touring Duck Commander. Rut-roh. After a few calls and being shifted around (to the DC office), we were reassured the tour would go on. WHEW!
So, just in the nick of time, we walked right past families with license plates from Minnesota, New Mexico, and Tennessee...right into the back office of Duck Commander. Oh yes, yes we did. We saw Willie's (old) office, the duck call room, warehouse space, loading dock...everything. Well, except Willie's new (actual) office...definitely off limits. It was the coolest thing ever.
|Willie's (old) office.|
|Duck call room.|
|Oh you know...just making a duck call...er, posing in Jase's chair.|
|They leave fan mail laying out haphazardly. We may or may not have read a few letters from moms to Martin telling him why he should date their "outdoorsy" daughters.|
|Conference room (and kids).|
And to close out the morning, we headed over to the Robertson family restaurant, Duck Diner, for a delicious lunch. Word to the wise, the Jambalaya plate is as big as your head so be sure to bring a friend.
If you're a fan of the show and decide to make a trip over to West Monroe, be sure to pick up a brochure featuring the Hometown Tour of sites featured on the show. However, don't expect greatness or anything majestic...
This is Monroe, after all.