Joe Werts and his traveling party of six couldn’t pass up the chance to make a celebrity pit stop on the way to the Duck Commander Independence Bowl.
The Newberry family – fans of the Gamecocks and the “Duck Dynasty” reality TV show – spent time Friday at the Duck Commander gift shop, about 100 miles from their final destination of Shreveport. The store is part of the building made popular by the series featuring the Robertson family, known for their duck calls, long beards and Christian faith.
“We’re going to be this close. We’re going right through Monroe. Why not see what it’s about?” Werts said.
This is the first year that Duck Commander has been the title sponsor to the bowl.
Missy Robertson will sing the national anthem Saturday at the bowl game. Uncle Si Robertson will be involved with the coin toss. Duck Commander president and CEO Willie Robertson will present the trophy to the winning team.
Werts and his family are “Duck Dynasty” regulars, usually recording the show and watching it together on Friday nights.
The Duck Commander building and its gift shop are located about a mile off Interstate 20. Joe’s wife, Kim, thought the warehouse would be larger and in a more remote location.
“It looks like it should be out in the middle of nowhere on the show but it’s actually in the middle of everything,” she said. “It’s very familiar. Once you get here everything looks the same as the show.”
The gift shop opened in July 2012 as the show’s popularity exploded and more fans began to show up on the property. Employees on Friday said they’ve seen more fans of South Carolina than Miami come through the shop this week.
Joe Werts and his family used the stop to kill some time and stretch their legs on the 12-hour drive from South Carolina. They left with a Christmas ornament, T-shirt and a Si bobblehead doll.
“We’re having a good time,” he said. ‘It’s been a nice trip.”