Glen Sain GMC Welcomes Duck Dynasty Star to Rector

Thursday, January 16, 2014
Jep Robertson listens, along with local students, as Glen Sain GMC owner Danny Ford makes comments about their friendship during the Duck Dynasty star's visit last week to the dealership in Rector. Robertson was there to greet fans, and take his new pickup truck, with Duck Commander graphics, back to his home in Louisiana.(TD photo/Nancy Kemp)

Northeast Arkansas is duck hunting country, so the popularity of the cable-television show Duck Dynasty in this area is no surprise.

Excited local fans were able to meet one of the most popular members of the Robertson family reality "cast" during a special Wednesday morning event last week at Glen Sain GMC in Rector.

Scores of fans, both young and old, shook hands with Jep Robertson and lined up for a series of photos with the affable young man.

Todd Ford, Kirk Ford, Jep Robertson and Danny Ford with the new Duck Commander pickup.

Glen Sain owner Danny Ford and his family have become friends with Jep and his family and have visited in each other's homes. In fact, Jep and his entire family stayed at Ford's condominium in Paragould on this trip to trade a GMC Duck Commander pickup truck for a new Ford diesel truck also featuring Duck Dynasty graphics.

Jep explained he has wanted a diesel truck for some time and is considering purchasing a travel trailer for family camping.

"We have a really special guest with us today," Ford told those assembled in the dealership showroom in Rector. "We have become good friends with Jep and his family and have been able to spend time with them in West Monroe (La.).

"You hear a lot of talk about family values and that's exactly what these folks are all about," Ford said. "We know that a lot of you watch and enjoy the show and it's all about good quality television entertainment."

Robertson returned the compliment, saying he was happy to be in Rector and enjoying his time with the Ford family. "They are really good people, among the best I've met," he said.

"We've got some really funny stuff coming up in future episodes," Robertson said, inviting fans to tune in for the upcoming season.

The show is the most popular ever on the A&E Network and recently set records as the most-watched non-fiction cable-television series in history. During its fourth season the show attracted 9.4 million viewers. The Duck Dynasty phenomenon has expanded well beyond the show itself -- DD merchandise sales topped $400 million in the first nine months of 2013.

Despite the show's success, Robertson said the family retains its down-to-earth perspective. He said father Phil Robertson still doesn't have a cell phone. "He wouldn't know how to turn it on if he did."

The family lives in West Monroe and fans from across the country visit the area as a result of the show's popularity. Robertson said Phil and his wife Kay once returned home to find an older couple from Minnesota sitting on a sofa in their living room. After being startled for a moment, Phil regained his composure and asked the couple if "y'all want something to eat." Jep admits his father has since erected a fence around the property.

Robertson said popular cast member Uncle Si sometimes notes he "can't go nowhere" without being recognized and it's something of an adjustment.

Robertson said the notoriety certainly has its positive side as he and his family now have a "bigger platform to share our faith." He said family members regularly speak at churches and outdoors-related events, giving their Christian testimony. "I've never looked at it as a burden," Robertson said of his newly-found popularity.

Robertson's wife Jessica and their four children (three girls and a boy) traveled together to Northeast Arkansas. He said the family took the "back roads" on the six-hour trip and appropriately went through Stuttgart, one of the top duck hunting areas of the country.

It was kind of a whirlwind time for Jep and Jessica as they recently returned from the National Championship football game in Pasadena, Calif. He said that, as Southeastern Conference fans, they were rooting for Auburn. The Robertsons are strong supporters of Louisiana teams, notably LSU, Louisiana Tech and their hometown school, ULM.

Jep, 35, is the youngest of the four Robertson sons. He clearly relished his time visiting and having his photo taken with the Rector-area fans before hopping in his new pickup for a trip to Kennett to visit with folks at the company dealership there. Then it was back to Louisiana as the extended family gets set for another banner year for this improbable and wildly-popular American success story.

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