Duck Dynasty's own Willie Robertson addressed the annual meeting of the Manufacturer & Business Associations 109th annual event in Erie, Pennsylvania on Saturday, and noted how his family business was a successful one even before Duck Dynasty became an A&E hit show.
"I can't think of a more true American success story than my family. We had nothing. We came from nothing," he said to the crowd.
Willie went on to explain how he remembered watching Dukes of Hazzard on TV while making the duck calls that made his family so famous. He recalled taking orders over the phone (a land line, of course) and then writing down those orders on the back of a paper plate.
Robertson said he learned how to work hard by "sweeping floors, folding boxes and testing duck calls," and that his sales and marketing skills were perfected during his two-hour school bus ride each day when he sold candy and gum to his classmates. The school's principal eventually shut that operation down, he noted, because it was cutting in to the haul at the school concession stand. These components fueled Willie Robertson's longing for success.
— Jamie Johnson (@J_Johnson6) May 17, 2014
Today Robertson defines success a bit differently, citing a prayer at the dinner table with his family.
"That's success," he said.
Willie told the gathering about the day he approached his dad, the Duck Dynasty patriarch and rather controversial Phil Robertson, and asked to run the family duck call business.
"I told Dad, 'I'm going to take the business to the next level,'" he said. "I didn't know what the next level was."
That's how he came to be CEO of Duck Commander, which is still based in West Monroe, Louisiana, where the reality show is filmed. Robertson assured the crowd that what they see on TV isn't fiction. He says the family does work together in their effort to fill orders. He admits it's not entirely the whole truth either, however. Since his father made him promise, upon taking over the business, that he would never fire a family member, Willie Robertson says there are about 100 employees who work off camera. They don't get time off to go hunting frogs.
Before closing the Duck Dynasty star also made mention of Phil Robertson's recent interview with GQ magazine, during which he made his infamous controversial statements about gays.
"He speaks his mind," Robertson said of his father. "He made Christmas interesting for me."
Willie Robertson no doubt made this year's gathering of the Manufacturer & Business Association's event very interesting, too. He wore his signature bandana and some folks in the audience mimicked his--or other Duck Dynasty star's--trademark looks.
In previous years the gathering has been addressed by Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It seems Willie Robertson is definitely playing in the big leagues now.
Image via Wikimedia Commons