Fun and Funnier at GMA (2014)
Willie slows show's roll, quips on Phil's flap with A&E
'Boss Hogg' Willie Robertson from Outdoor Channel's "Buck Commander Protected by Under Armour."
LAS VEGAS – Willie Robertson blocked a lot of folks from getting into the 14th Annual Golden Moose Awards powered by Ram Trucks.
It had nothing to do with his stoutness, just his celebrity. Folks entering the Venetian Theater were backed up in the aisles as friends and well-wishers wanted a piece of the Duck Dynasty star, stopping the flow to say hello and get a photo or two, or three.
After several requests over the PA to get the crowd to take their seats, Ted Nugent came out and hurried the process with his grinding rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. The Motor City Madman might not have performed the funkiest version of the national anthem, but it was among the loudest.
The backup was just as bad after the show – at least for those in the right section of the theater. Marcus Luttrell stood with his back to center stage and was greeted by many wanting to meet the former Navy SEAL behind “Lone Survivor.”
Click image to see photos of the 14th Annual Golden Moose Awards powered by Ram Trucks
What would dad say?
Willie made his way onto the stage twice during the show, first to present then to receive.
The entire Buck Commander crew lined up after winning the Fan Favorite Host award, and Willie made a jab at the recent flap with Phil and the A&E network as he accepted the trophy.
“My father would be proud … but we won’t have him say anything,” he said. “I don’t know how he feels about deer hunting.”
He got serious and showed his appreciation to the Outdoor Channel, where the Robertsons started with Duck Commander.
“It’s an honor to be sitting with you,” Willie said. “We started right here and we might end up with the most-watched show in the history of cable.
“I’m so thankful to you guys, the Outdoor Channel, all my friends and family here and sponsors, for supporting us with Buck Commander and for us to get our start.”
Bunch of bushwhackers
Jackie Bushman took the first and last shots at the Wildgame Nation crew, specifically Big Bill Busbice, who despite being the butt of several jokes left laughing with the Best Comedy Award.
“Bushwhacking folks is an art and a talent,” Bushman said. “So when you get in, you gotta go look over your prey. When you go to Olla, La., and you got the Busbice family, I had a goldmine.”
Bushman, who got whacked with the ole’ snake in the FedEx box by the Busbices, exacted some revenge at Big Bill’s expense. He was in on a fake fight, and video showed Big Bill rushing to break it up before they zapped him.
“I’m smart,” Big Bill started. “I thought I was. He pulled off the biggest, biggest bushwhack of them all.”
Closing in on their 90 seconds, Matt took the mike from dad, who might have enjoyed the reception a bit too much.
“It’s been about 7 years since we’ve won a Golden Moose award,” Matt said. “It’s an honor to be in this room. We appreciate we won as comedy. Our show is one big blooper.”
Big Bill then went back to the podium and got the last, rambling words in. Shortly after, Willie Robertson, who frequents the Wildgame Nation, got in one of the best laughs of the night.
“For the whole state of Louisiana, I apologize for Big Bill,” he said. “Spend half my time down there, so I’m not complaining.”
Booyah for Brackett
Booyah!! That’s the exclamation Chris Brackett finished his acceptance speech when Arrow Affliction took the Best New Series award.
Emcee Michael Waddell followed up with his own booyah for the high energy Brackett, who also hosts Fear No Evil. Waddell added Brackett has come a long, long way since having to hitchhike to the ATA trying to break into the industry.
Would you rather …?
Pitcher John Lester of the World Series winning Boston Red Sox came out on stage with Mossy Oak’s Cuz Strickland as presenters. Lester was asked what was more nerve-wracking: pitching with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth with the game on the line, or having a monster buck in his sights?
“Regular season or World Series?” Lester asked.
“Regular season,’’ Strickland responded.
“Oh, the big buck,” Lester said.
If I had a vote
After watching footage of the Best Deer nominees, which included the Drurys separating two locked-up bucks with a pole saw, Lester and Strickland presented Bow Madness the award.
“We knew we had to produce this right,” Mark said. “We were lucky to do so. In that case, the deer won; it’s the only one where the deer lived. Of course we tried to kill him after that and we couldn’t.”
The crowd had also just been moved by footage from Heartland Bowhunter showing a youth overcome with emotion after downing his first deer. Terry Drury jumped to the mike and cast a popular vote for him.
“I would like to say, if I was voting on this -- that little guy, who just showed that emotion … ” Terry said to hoots and applause.
Terry Drury, who noted he and his brother are avid fans of the St. Louis Cardinals, said it just wasn’t right that a Boston Red Sox player, who several months ago was instrumental in ending their team’s dream, announced their award.
Mark had a true story he just had to share. He and Terry were on the show floor and he saw a gentleman approaching them with the gleam in his eye.
“He walked past me and went to Terry and he said, ‘It is so nice to meet you, Mr. Potterfield,’ ” Mark said.
Terry took it as a compliment to be compared, even if in likeness only, to MidwayUSA owner Larry Potterfield, who received the Golden Moose Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Larry and I took a picture together at the show,” Terry said. “Man, oh man, I’m so proud to be in the same class with Larry Potterfield.”
Tender moment of night
Crush with Lee and Tiffany had a big night, winning Best Bird and Fan Favorite Hunting Series.
“This is a dream of mine,” Lee said of just being in the industry. “I have to pinch myself every time I get up.”
Tiffany related a story how her crush on Lee led to The Crush.
“I either had to hang out with him in calculus class or go out in the woods with him,” she said. “It was probably the best decision I ever made. Thank you, thank you to everyone, I can’t tell you how much these means.”
Tiffany planted a kiss on Lee and told him, “I love you.”
The “awwwww” from the crowd was simply … uh, awesome.
Click image to view the winners of the 2014 Golden Moose Awards
Don’t fear the beard
Waddell had his fair share of zingers, including saying the bearded, long-haired Buck Commanders looked like they were ready for a Lynyrd Skynyrd revival, but he found it more appropriate to share his true thoughts about the Robertsons.
“They hunt ducks, and they come across at times as gruff, actually just a like a bunch of family members of ours,” Waddell said. “Behind those beards, behind those shotguns, let me tell you something, it’s the most loving, most understanding, compassionate, forgiving families I’ve ever met in my life.”
Summing it up
Jackie Bushman took a trip down memory lane to the earliest days of outdoor TV, when he said he had to beg and beg to put on a hunting show before he finally got a yes.
“Now look at us, the Outdoor Channel. Wow, 24-hour hunting and fishing,” he said. “The new management is right here. They’re committed to make us all the best we can be.
“And look at all the different forums we come from. We got Rock ‘n’ Roll stars, country music, Major League Baseball players, motion picture stars, professional wrestlers. We even got folks from Louisiana who shoot gators and ducks on primetime television. The thing that gets us now is we got women who hunt on TV.
“I am very proud to be a part of this community. And thank you Outdoor Channel.”