Some of you may have considered me to be mentally insane prior to today. I’m not. However, had I told you I was going to a Dukes of Hazzard festival, you may have had some serious doubts about me. I was actually concerned when I committed to going to the CMT 2006 Dukesfest in Nashville, TN. I was worried that the local watermelon seed-spitting champion might knock my teeth out so I would fit in better (which I would have). But mostly I was worried that I might trip over a redneck and knock over a confederate flag, bringing on a fury of redneck rage. So, there it is, I had some bias heading down there. The major Dukes fan (Matt) that brought up the idea of the road-trip was a much bigger fan than I, and he is (sorta) normal, so I figured, if nothing else, I could spend my weekend at the pool scaring the women and fooling the kids into believing I was a walking talking whale.
It turns out that I had a real coo-coo-cool time. I was amazed at the volume of good ol’ boys and girls that were there. By that I mean kids, there are a ton of tiny Dukes fans. The kids were there to meet Rosco P. Coletrane, Cletus, Enos, and of course, Bo, Luke and Daisy Duke. Crazy Cooter (Ben Jones) himself, along with his wife, Alma, arrange and host the event and they really out did themselves. This thing was huge. Cooter announced that somewhere around 100,000 people attended the event over the course of the two days.
Personally, I had a great time meeting some of the cast, James Best (Rosco), Rick Hurst (Cletus), and Tom Wopat (Luke) seem to be really nice people. We met James Best on Saturday after he had already been signing autographs for more than 5 hours and he was still friendly and smiling and seemed genuinely glad to talk with us. He’s 78 years old now, by-the-way. The same held true for (the younger )Rick Hurst, although his line wasn’t the longest in the place, his attitude was excellent. He thanked us for coming out and smiled and shook our hands and just impressed me as someone who would be easy to talk to over the backyard fence. Tom Wopat impressed me as well. Not by what he did or said to me. I will probably never forget how he treated those fans who were somewhat physically or mentally handicapped. He went out of his way to make them comfortable. My highlight of the 4 hour wait was as the hoard of amateur photographers (aka fans) gathered around the restroom door as Tom Wopat exited and snapped his picture. He made the (semi) lighthearted remark of “That’s great, take a picture of me coming out of the can.”Dukes of Hazzard Theme (Good Ol' Boys)