The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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January 18, 2014

Clinton company builds boats for 'Duck Dynasty' star

CLINTON — One local company is starting to feel the spotlight of celebrity, although it never had any intention of doing so.

The Phowler Boat Company in Clinton has been building custom designed water fowl boats since 2005, and in December employees were offered a chance of a lifetime — to build two boats for Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson.

"We're very flattered that we're going to be able to have Phil running our boats and we'll definitely get some promotional value out of it. But that really wasn't our number one goal," Phowler Boat Company owner Paul Willging said. "Our number one goal was to build a boat for Phil, the way he wanted, in a way that he'll use it and want to continue to use it."

Through a connection between Phowler's go-to motor company, Copper Head Manufacturing in Louisiana, Willging was contacted by Robertson's team about the possible business venture.

Once in contact, Robertson requested the small, locally owned duck boat company to build him two custom Phowler boats to his exact specifications.

And when Willging delivered those boats on Jan. 9, only three weeks after the initial contact to Robertson's famous house in West Monroe, La., the boats and their new owner did not disappoint.

"We got it pretty close to his specifications," Willging said. "I believe his exact words were, 'Now, that's a duck hunting boat.'"

Upon the delivery of the boats, Willging and his guest were able to spend a few hours visiting with the Robertson family, including Duck Dynasty icon Uncle Si and the matriarch of the family, Miss Kay.

"It was a really neat to actually go to their home and sit down and have coffee right at the dining room table that you see on Duck Dynasty," Willging said. "Probably the neatest experience, beyond them running our boats, was, in my opinion, they are exactly as you would imagine them to be. From the minute we shook hands, it was like we'd known them all our lives."

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