You may know Willie Robertson as the star of A&E’s hit series Duck Dynasty but he’s also busy being the CEO of sporting empires Duck Commander and Buck Commander, a New York Times bestselling author, traveling speaker, father of five and an avid outdoorsman.
Duck Commander was founded in 1973 by Phil but Willie stepped in as President of the company and took the business from a living room operation down by the river to a premiere destination for all things outdoors. He says he honed his skills as a salesman by selling his freshly caught fish at the market with his mom as a young boy. Even then he was always working to negotiate the best price. Then in 2006, Willie established Buck Commander, a hunting DVD and gear company dedicated to his love of buck hunting.
His book The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family and Ducks Built a Dynasty, co-written with wife Korie, has been on the New York Times best seller list for over 35 weeks and highlights the Robertson family history, recipes and insider stories.
His face has graced everything from chia pets to garden gnomes and bobble heads, but he is happiest being outdoors with his family and friends and at home in West Monroe, Louisiana with his wife Korie and children; John Luke, Sadie, Will, Bella and foster daughter Rebecca.
Born and raised in Vivian, Louisiana, Phil
Robertson came from a large family with seven children and little money.
Hunting was in his blood from early on.
As a high-school athlete, Phil earned All-State rankings in football, baseball,
and track, which afforded him the opportunity to attend Louisiana Tech
University on a football scholarship. There, Phil played first-string
quarterback – ahead of Terry Bradshaw, who later went on to lead the Pittsburgh
Steelers team to 4 Super Bowl championships. Phil said, "Terry went for
the bucks, and I chased after the ducks." After receiving his Bachelor's
degree in Physical Education and a Master's in Education, Phil spent several
years teaching in Louisiana schools. Acclaimed as an excellent teacher by his
students, Phil came to the conclusion that his time and talents would be better
spent in the woods.
Phil and his family, which by this time included his wife, Kay and four boys,
Alan, Jase, Willie and Jep – began a quest to turn his passion for hunting and
fishing into a livelihood.
Never satisfied with the duck calls on the market, Phil began to experiment
with making a call that would produce the exact sound of a duck. A duck call
for duck killers, not for, as Phil described, “world champion-style duck
callers.” Phil stated, “No duck would even place in a duck calling contest.” In
1972, Phil Robertson gave up a coaching career for his love of duck hunting
when he whittled a better duck call than any on the market, the first Duck
Commander call. His first year, Robertson sold $8,000 worth of duck calls and
his wife, Kay, somehow managed to feed four boys on that salary. The same year,
he received a patent for this call and in 1973, formed the Duck Commander Company.
The Robertson family home in West Monroe, Louisiana, became the Duck Commander
factory, from where he and family members assembled, packaged, and shipped all
the calls. Phil traveled from store to store and state to state in those early
days, with most of his attempts to sell the new product line ending in
In the beginning, Kay and their sons not only helped Phil with the Duck
Commander business, but they also ran the nets and took fish to market in a
side commercial fishing business that kept food on the table.
Since 1973, Duck Commander products, which is now the premiere destination for
sporting goods, have been sold in all 50 states and in several countries.
Phil's biography, Happy, Happy, Happy
has recently spent many weeks at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers
He has been married to Kay for 50 years.
Growing up with "The Duck Commander" as his father, Jase quickly realized that if he wanted to spend time with his dad, he'd have to meet Phil in the duck blind. Jase's passion for duck hunting revealed itself from the age of 8, and he spent as much time in the woods as he possibly could, even missing the maximum number of days from school each year that the law would allow.
To this day, you can find Jase and Phil in the blind each and every day of duck season. One of Jase's favorite things about duck hunting is the unique aspect of each duck. He has learned to appreciate each duck's own strengths, weaknesses, and beauty. According to Jase, his favorite duck is the one he currently is after, regardless of species or gender.
While he’d rather call the swamp his office, he runs the manufacturing part of Duck Commander, fabricating, fine tuning and inventing new duck calls. He lives by a simple code, "Only three things matter: God, then family, then ducks."
Jase is married to Missy, who he met in high school when they went on a mock date to make an ex-girlfriend of his jealous. They've been married for over 20 years and have three children: Reed, Cole and Mia.
Miss Kay is the revered matriarch of the family. What she says goes. She was 16 when she married Phil and since then she's been keeping him and the boys from spending too much time in the woods, bringing them back to civilization each night with a home-cooked meal. Miss Kay believes her cooking talents are a gift that she must share, and often ends up feeding all of the family and most of the neighborhood. Her most famous dishes are banana pudding, fried deer steak, crawfish pie and sticky frog legs.
Miss Kay's favorite family member is Jesse, her Jack Russell terrier. But here’s the secret: every time the family dog dies Miss Kay quickly gets a new puppy that looks just like the one that passed and even gives it the same name. As Miss Kay puts it, "this way, you never have to grieve."
Though not originally from a hunting family, Korie fit in with the Robertsons right away. As Willie’s wife and business partner, she helped him grow the company into an ever-expanding enterprise. She serves as the Duck Commander office manager and has to make her presence known in order to keep the workshop from turning into a funhouse.
She met Willie in third grade when he asked her to go on a moonlit hike at summer camp. They got married a year after high school and now have five children: John Luke, Sadie, Lil’ Will, Bella, and foster daughter Rebecca.
Si is Phil’s brother, best friend, and partner in crime. He has a very specific job in the workshop, and that’s fashioning the reeds that are inserted in every patented duck call. It’s a pretty easy job, made needlessly difficult by the fact that Si can never seem to stay on task.
The Vietnam vet will often share his war stories with the guys, which usually gets the crew behind schedule, much to Willie’s dismay. Si’s most famous story is that while serving overseas, his mother sent him a blue cup. Thirty years later it’s still hanging from his back pocket and he continues to only drink from this cup, every day.
In 2013, Si published a New York Times bestselling autobiography entitled Si-Cology 1.
Si and his wife Christine have two grown children; Trasa and Scott, who have four sons each, for a total of eight grandsons.
After marrying Jase at age 19 and raising another generation of Robertsons, Missy learned early on that she would have to step up her game. She was not raised in a large family, but fitting into the Robertson lifestyle became an easy transition, especially with help from Miss Kay.
Missy devotes much of her time to her passion for music; singing and writing as well as volunteering as the music teacher at her children’s school. She is also heavily involved in mission work, both domestically and internationally. She has volunteered her time as the crafts director for the last five summers at Camp Ch-Yo-Ca, a local Christian youth camp where both she and Jase spent many summers themselves as kids. Missy’s family, as well as her church, helps to support an orphanage in the Dominican Republic and enjoy visiting and aiding them and their town whenever possible.
Missy and Jase have been married for over twenty years and have three children: Reed, Cole, and Mia.
The youngest son of Phil and Kay, Jules Jeptha "Jep" Robertson, grew up in the duck blind. He is the cameraman and editor for Duck Commander, utilizing years of experience to capture excellent footage for the company’s "Duckmen" DVD series.
Jep is married to Jessica and together they have four children: Lily, Merritt, Priscilla, and River.
As a child, Jessica grew up hunting on the weekends with her father in the woods of Louisiana and naturally, she fit right in with the Robertsons. She first met Jep in 2001 and they were married within two weeks of announcing their engagement. 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 as a licensed real estate agent, and most recently worked in sales.
Jep and Jessica are proud parents of four children: Lily, Merritt, Priscilla, and River.