"Duck Dynasty" has taken the simple life into the main stream, turning ducks into dollars. The success of the Robertson clan's reality TV show has earned them a fortune. Selling duck calls is big business these days. Just ask Arkansas' Duck Dynasty, the Stephens family : John, daughter Riley, mom Angie, and son Reese. John owns RNT in Stuttgart. He and his crew make and sell tens of thousands of duck calls, and starting with the beard, John and his family have a few things in common with the Robertson clan.
"One way it's affected me, is anywhere I'd go, they'd accuse me of looking like Jesus or Charles Manson, and now it's one of the "Duck Dynasty" guys. I guess go from there," says John.
But don't ask him to tell you about his favorite "Duck Dynasty" episode.
"I'm honestly, probably the only person in the state of Arkansas that has not watched 'Duck Dynasty,'" he says.
But, the rest of the family has.
Angie said, "Reese and I have watched it a few times without John knowing."
"I used to say that you can't watch 'Duck Dynasty' or the 'Blind Side', cause 'Blind Side' is an Ole Miss show and I'm a Mississippi State graduate. Those are the two shows we couldn't watch," John said.
He continued, "I've got a play room where the kids watch TV and all that. I opened the door one day and Reese was sitting there watching TV and he changed the channel real quick, and I said what are you doing? What are you watching? He said nothing. I was thinking he was watching something inappropriate. I went over there and I said let me see that remote. I grabbed it and hit go back and it was 'Duck Dynasty' and I just started laughing. I thought I've done my job. I've brainwashed my kids."
Who could blame him? RNT has carved out a huge share of the duck call market, selling on average, 70,000 calls a year.
The Robertsons, who make Duck Commander calls, sold 60,000 calls in 2011. But, according to reports, sold a whopping 300,000 in 2012, the first year of the "Duck Dynasty" TV show.
"I think the people that buy a Rich n Tone call, are not the same people that buy a Duck Commander call. I think where they have grown is because of the price point of their calls. A lot of people have bought calls that really didn't duck hunt, because that's what Duck Dynasty has. It's kind of a novelty," said John.
"It's not that they are an inferior call, just different. John says most Duck Commander calls are made with two reeds inside. Most RNT calls have one. John says the double reed is more forgiving. The single, more challenging.
"Because you have those two reeds in a double reed, it's not a versatile as a single reed. You can't get as many sounds out of it as you can a single reed. So, if you learn to blow a single reed the correct way, with your voice, you can get so much more out of a single reed, which will in turn help you when you're out in the field," he said.
It's that kind of hunting expertise, that hunters want. And they want to see it in action. John estimates he spends at least 90 days a year hunting something, somewhere. And he's turned that into his own reality TV show.
"This season, is by far, the best season we've had," according to John.
RNT-V airs on the Sportsman Channel, a cable network that is available to 32,000,000 viewers. The production quality, and presentation rival the Robertsons on A@E. This is, after all, how the "Duck Dynasty" stars got their start. They made hunting shows long before their current show. So who knows?? Maybe some day, a major network comes calling in Stuttgart.
"As far as being the next 'Duck Dynasty', I'll tell you this, I'll take their paycheck. They have brought a lot of attention to our industry, good or indifferent. Any exposure is good exposure to a certain extent. As far as, if we were able to do that, I would definitely like to promote a little more of the craftsmanship of what we do, and our history and heritage here on the Grand Prairie with duck calls and duck calling, a little more than the Hollywood side," said John.
"I think our family would be boring. I don't know what they would film. Reese is 14, in a few years, I'd like a camera going everywhere he went," Angie said with a laugh.
You can check with your cable or satellite provider to see if the sportsman channel is available to you.
Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:35 AM EDT2014-07-29 14:35:49 GMT
Nine 5:00 a.m. clubs, one city, two city directors on a mission to see what they’re all about. Little Rock’s board of directors has been mulling over closing bars with permits to operate until 5:00 a.m. at 2:00 a.m. citywide.More >>
Nine 5:00 a.m. clubs, one city, two city directors on a mission to see what they’re all about. Little Rock’s board of directors has been mulling over closing bars with permits to operate until 5:00 a.m. at 2:00 a.m. citywide. More >>