Duck calls, outdoor experience attract hundreds to sportsman's nightDuckman Martin of reality television series Duck Dynasty keynote speaker
Thorndike — They came for the call of the wild, but, more specifically, the call of the duck.
Hundreds of people turned out at Mount View High School on Saturday, Oct. 12 to experience all aspects of the great outdoors, hear the word of God and, ultimately, to listen to one of reality television's most famous duck call experts during the Maine Sportsman's Night.
There were a variety of reasons why 600 to 800 people converged on the Waldo County school, from the popular seminars to the food, from the vendors to the music and, ultimately, a chance to meet a celebrity most watch each week on television.
The event, hosted by Knox Ridge Baptist Church of Thorndike, included a meet-and-greet with Duck Commander Duckman Justin Martin of the popular television reality series, Duck Dynasty, in its fourth season on the Arts & Entertainment Channel.
The show is based around a family business that includes hand-made duck calls, as the episodes revolve around the contrasts of generations and personalities between the characters. Martin is a key figure and one of the original characters of the show.
Martin was on hand at Saturday's event to talk and give duck calls.
The show's characters, all bearded outdoorsmen, are Phil Robertson, Si Robertson, Willie Robertson, John Godwin, Jase Robertson, Jeptha Robertson, Alan Robertson and Martin.
Martin began working for Duck Commander in 2008. He, along with Jase and Godwin, build the duck calls for the company. Phil gave him a series of nicknames until 2010 when one — “Friar Tuck” — finally stuck. During duck season one can find Martin cutting brush to make sure ducks will not see any of the duckmen.
“When you are the youngest you have to do the work no one else wants to do, which is cutting brush and moving the gear after a long day of duck hunting," Martin said of the show's website.
Also, due to his larger physical stature, one often will see Martin hauling heavy loads.
Saturday's event attracted people of all ages, including many young children. They came to see the vendors, seminars (coyote hunting and big buck hunting, among them), to talk with game warders and outdoor book authors such as John Ford (retired game warden), Mark Nickerson (retired Maine State Trooper) and V. Paul Reynolds, learn about wildlife recipes and potentially win door prizes.
Some of the seminars included whitetail deer hunting with Joe Saltalamacchia, wild game tasting with Denny Corriveau (Wild Chef), sea duck hunting with Clifton Ames, predator calling with Dick Drysdale and learning about the Unity College bear study.
In the keynote speech, Martin talked about his life, the show and did duck calls. He had the large crowd enthralled with his presence.
Martin said of Phil Robertson, "[Phil] said, 'One of these days I'm going to make a million dollars selling these things.' Boy was he ever right. I don't think he knew the path it was going to take to get him to get to that mark he set for himself. His feel was at the time there was no duck call that sounded like a mallard duck. So he said, 'Why not just make a duck call that sounds like ducks?' "
“[Phil's] a great spiritual leader [and] he's a great calming influence to have around your life at all times. He's the only man I've ever been around that, no matter where he is, Thorndike, Maine, New York City, Los Angeles, Calif., when he starts talking, everybody stops.
“He commands respect. He believes one way, he's stuck to those beliefs and he knows that everyone else knows he ain't getting off of it.”
Martin brought several duck calls with him and blew them for the crowd, displaying the calls and the sounds different ducks make.
“No doubt the Lord has blessed us,” Martin said of he and his other duckmen. “And we get asked everywhere we go why we do what we do as far as duck hunting. We do it 80 or 90 days out of the season, we deer hunt [and] we feed our family off of God's grocery store. We go out there and we hunt it, we kill it, we clean it and we eat it.”
Martin became part of Duck Commander “about seven years ago now.”
He thanked the Robertsons for changing his life in a positive manner. Martin is a born-again Christian.
“All I can say about Si is if you cut his head open nothing but butterflies and rainbows would come out," Martin said. "He is truly one of the nicest individuals you will ever meet. There is not a malicious bone in the man's body.”
According to Wikipedia, Si Robertson is Willie's uncle and Phil's brother. Si is a Vietnam War veteran. He works at Duck Commander, making the reeds that go into every duck call. Si is known for his storytelling, his constant use of the expression "Hey!" and his ever-present blue plastic Tupperware cup, which his mother sent him while he was stationed in Vietnam.
Ultimately, Saturday night's event served as an outreach and fellowship for sportsmen and their families to "experience the love of Jesus Christ through the shared passion of the great outdoors," stated the website created by Christian Carlson.