A Dynasty Built on Family and Faith

Duck Dynasty’s Korie Robertson might not be much of a cook, but she knows the recipe for keeping America’s favorite reality-TV family together.

By Korie Robertson, West Monroe, Louisiana

As appeared in

I don’t want to mention names, but a lot of what’s on reality TV today is people gossiping, backbiting, cheating and being mean to each other. But not on our show. Duck Dynasty is about the family I married into, the Robertson clan, who make world-class duck calls.

We try to present something different for our viewers. We do have our disagreements, but every episode ends with a meal and a prayer, and in between we have a lot of laughs.

In fact, the first time we sat down as a family to watch Duck Dynasty we laughed so hard at ourselves that we could hardly hear the TV.

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Our show is about ducks, fishing, beards, good eating—and the values that keep a family together. After 21 years of being a Robertson, there are some great life lessons I have learned.

1. Support each other.
They say we court young in the South. I met my husband, Willie, when we were in third grade, at Camp Ch-Yo-Ca. His mom, Miss Kay, was the camp cook that summer and her boys attended the camp for free.

Willie had big dimples and the cutest sideways smile. I had a diary that I never used much, but that summer I wrote, “Met a boy at summer camp and he was so cute. He asked me on the moonlight hike and I said yes!”

As my father-in-law, Phil, likes to say, I’m a city girl. The “big city” I grew up in was West Monroe, Louisiana, population 13,000.

The Robertsons lived out in the country on the Ouachita River. That’s where Phil launched his duck-call business, Duck Commander (“Phil, you didn’t call that duck. You commanded it,” claimed a friend, hence the name). They still live out there.

The first time I visited was with a church group when I was in fifth grade. I was surprised that the house was so tiny. Kay didn’t even have a dishwasher, but she cooked for the Duck Commander employees every day along with her four hungry sons. She spent practically her entire day in the kitchen.

The business was struggling, but that didn’t stop Phil from bragging about his sons. “Have you met my boys?” he asked me. “They’ll make good providers someday.” How could he have known that back then?

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Willie and I didn’t start dating seriously until my senior year of high school. He had an orange 1980 Mustang with torn white leather seats and lived in a rented house in town with six other guys.

I loved to drop by in the mornings and Willie would make me fancy omelets for breakfast. He was a great cook then (he still is), and I could hardly make a thing (and still can’t).

When we first decided to get married, my parents weren’t thrilled. They were afraid I would drop out of school, start having kids and never go to college. Then they saw how committed we were. They supported us all the way—something that runs in both our families.

2. Work works.
For years, the entire Duck Commander operation was run out of that little house. Willie and his brothers helped with everything. They would sand and stain duck calls, dip them in polyurethane, pack them up for shipping.

It used to embarrass Willie when he would go to school with his fingers brown from tung oil. The boys also took the orders, because people called the house to place them. Whoever took the order would just grab a napkin or paper plate and write it down.

There would be a big stack of paper plates or napkins sitting on the kitchen counter with orders on them. It may have been a rudimentary system, but it worked.

If Willie wanted anything, he had to work for it. He still talks about the cool parachute pants that he bought in high school with money he made selling worms.

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In our young married days, with both of us going to college, he did tons of extra jobs: working at a bowling alley, as a janitor for a real-estate agency, in an ice-cream plant (he hated being in the freezer all day).

I finished college with a degree in art education and helped out by hand-painting a limited edition of duck calls while our babies slept.

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Your Comments (12)

I thoroughly enjoyed this article by Korie. Thank you for making it available to us. Lots of wisdom shared!

I really enjoyed the article about Duck Dynasty, it's the only "Reality Show" we watch. Thanks for the background which will only make the watching that much better.

Thank God, there are still families like the Robertson's. I have been 'down in the dumps' with our government but this family has helped me realize grassroot Americans can inspire real change in this government.

Yes with the way tv has changed since I used to watch from little house on the prairie and Walton's to the trash on tv now. Your show gives me hope there are still people that realize what a family show should be like and the fact it is so popular tells me our culture must not be completely lost in filth. Love the end when you pray in the name of Christ it is about time someone brought to realty tv and tv in general I hope you continue with amazing success and happiness god bless you all by the way writing from my deer stand right now. Angola, In.

My family and I love the show. We never miss an episode!!! Please continue to be an inspiration to do many people. Great show!!!!

What a great show, but getting to phony, sound like Si?

I started watching your family's show last year out of curiosity. I am also from Louisiana and proud of the hard work ethic demonstrated by the Louisiana people. Duck Dynasty is such a refreshing change from the other reality shows of families. I especially enjoy the way the members can laugh at themselves. The love and enjoyment of each person toward the others is a treat to see. I am so glad and proud of the show's success. Thank all of you for taking this challenge. I wish you many years of success.

Your show brings back so many memories! I lived in West Monroe, LA (Slack St.) back when I was in grade school. (Millsap Elementary) Went to the old WFR CofC and my dad attended the School of Preaching there. (Back in the days of Bill Smith, Bill Johnson, Carl Allison) I went many a year to Camp Ch Yo Ca....oh what memories even at 52 years of age. Love your show and agree it is so nice to see a funny show with no cursing or unsuitable content!

More tv shows should be like this. If there were more examples of a God centered home in the media America would be a better place.

Great and inspiring things to live by! I just love the example of what a film should be and how we should all act forgive and love as Christians! Thank you Duck Dynasty and may God continue to bless you greatly!

What an inspirational story about the Duck Dynasty family. It was a joy to read and even though I have never tuned in to "Duck Dynasty" before - I WILL NOW!!! Looking forward to it. Thanks for sharing and God Bless you REALLY BIG!!!

My family & I really enjoy watching the show! The Robertson Clan is a great inspiration to families everywhere!