SPRINGFIELD — Donald Ballard, dressed in camouflage pants and shirt, paused for a moment as a spectator posed the question, “Who took the RV without Willie’s permission?”
As the crowd cheered and “quacked,” Ballard, 58, of Walker, surveyed the crowd before giving the correct answer.
“Jase,” Ballard said just as the audience cheered.
About a dozen men, most dressed in camouflage outfits and all sporting long, gray beards, lined up to give their best shot at wining the “Duck Dynasty” contest, sponsored by the town of Springfield’s Team City during Sunday’s annual pre-Fourth of July celebration.
“I was pushed into this,” Ballard said. “Everybody I know says I look like them. So, I gave in.”
As the first group of younger adults answered the audience’s questions, Jimmie Rayborn, 67, waited for his turn on stage.
“Everywhere I go, everybody says I look like them,” said Rayborn, of Albany.
Rayborn was in Kentucky last week when patrons of a Waffle House all called him Uncle Si, also known as Si Robertson, from the television show.
Rayborn said his twin daughters entered him in the contest.
Gaylan Prevost, a 57-year-old bulldozer operator from Hammond, said his family grew up like the “Duck Dynasty” cast members, eating rabbits and squirrels.
“There were nine of us at home and my dad died,” Ballard said. “So, we hunted as much as we could.”
Prevost said his brother entered him in the contest.
The contest, said Team City Chairwoman Denise Martin, was a way to add something different and interesting to the annual Fourth of July celebration, which featured a classic car and motorcycle show, food and fireworks.
Team City, an organization sponsored by Entergy, was created to attract businesses and promote economic development.
The idea was the brainchild of Team City members, who had initially talked about hosting a Justin Wilson look-a-like contest. That was until someone asked, “Who is Justin Wilson?” Martin said of the late Cajun entertainer.
Martin said the members try to incorporate something entertaining into each year’s festivities.
“It’s something to have fun with,” Martin said, adding that she had hoped to purchase duck calls for the spectators to use to cheer on their favorite contestant but that they were just too expensive.
Duck calls cost from $9.99 to more than $100.
Nikki Swain, of Maurepas, came out to Sunday’s event for the fireworks but said the contest was “hilarious.”
“From what I’m hearing, everybody likes it,” Swain said.
The first-place winners, Rayborn and Ballard, received gift baskets decorated like a duck blind.