4-22-13 ‘Duck Dynasty’ stars to serve as Firefighters’ marshals

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WINCHESTER — Yes, Winchester, the rumors are true. It was too tough a secret to keep; so, without further ado, Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival President Lou Ann Thompson happily announces that Jep and Jessica Robertson, of the famous “Duck Dynasty” Robertson family, will serve as the Firefighters’ marshals for the 2013 Festival.

Duck Dynasty is a reality television series on A&E. It shows the lives of the Robertson family, who became wealthy from their family-operated business, “Duck Commander,” which is operated in West Monroe, La., and which makes products for duck hunters, primarily the duck call of the same name: “Duck Commander.”

The Robertson men, brothers Phil and Si, and Phil’s sons, Jase, Willie and Jep, are known for their long, flowing beards. The business began in a dilapidated family shed, where Phil Robertson spent 25 years making duck calls from Louisiana cedar trees. His son, Willie, is now the CEO of the company.

The family was previously featured on the series Beneffi Presents Duck Commander and its spin-off Buck Commander, which aired on the Outdoor Channel. As of Dec. 5, 2012, a total of 25 episodes of Duck-Dynasty have been broadcast. The third season premiered on Feb. 27, 2013. An hour-long Christmas special premiered on Dec. 5, 2012, as the Season 2 finale, and became (at the time) the most watched A&E episode in the network’s history, topping shows like CBS’ Survivor, ABC’s Nashville and Fox’s The X-Factor.

The Feb. 27, 2013, two-episode Season 3 premiere tallied 8.6 million viewers, including five million in the adults 25-54 demographic and five million in adults 18-49 demographic, making the premiere the most watched telecast in network history, beating the Season 2 finale from December 2012.

The youngest son of Phil and Kay Robertson, Jules Jeptha “Jep” Robertson, grew up in the duck blind. Utilizing those years of experience for his role as the cameraman and editor for the family business, Jep is able to think like a hunter behind the camera; and, therefore, capture excellent footage for the Duckmen DVD series and the television show, Benelli Presents Duck Commander.

Jep continues with the goal his father began years ago, to bring the “Duckman style” of hunting out of the swamps, into the editing room, and into the homes of duck hunting enthusiasts around the world. Jep’s passion for capturing the hunt on camera was stoked when he made his filming debut in Duckmen X, and it remains his favorite Duckmen DVD to date.

The wife of the youngest son of Phil and Kay Robertson, Jep Robertson, Jessica Robertson fits right in with the family. As a child, she grew up hunting on the weekends with her father in the woods of Louisiana. She first met Jep in 2001 and they were married within two weeks of announcing their engagement. They now have four children: Lily, Merritt, Priscilla and River.

Jessica also has a business background like many in the Robertson family, but not from working at “Duck Commander.” She previously worked in real estate and was a licensed real estate agent and most recently worked in sales.

Jep and Jessica will not be in town for an extended period of time. Festival Organizers are going to work diligently to try to get them to the Queen’s Coronation at John Handley High School on Friday afternoon, May 3; and, they will, of course, take their traditional turn at the head of the Firefighters’ Parade that same Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. Loudoun Mutual Insurance Company sponsors the Robertson’s appearance.

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