Until last week, I'd never written down the word combination, "Dog The Bounty Hunter." Never watched it, never wrote about it, never thought about it until last week, when Clovis residents went crazy when Duane "Dog" Chapman arrived to help a retiring area bail bondsman and film for his upcoming series on Country Music Television.
Throughout the time the crew was in town, Chapman's people had mostly told reporters to go away, or would tell us to be somewhere and not be there. So at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in the Clovis High School parking lot, 45 minutes into waiting for a reality television star whose people promised a meet-and-greet at 4, I wasn't shocked. I was waiting to photograph an event where hundreds of people were, and the hundreds were there to have him sign papers, DVDs, shirts and footballs(?).
At the parking lot, and in the days that preceded the event, I thought, "Why is a reality TV star such a big deal?" In hindsight, I can't judge. I'd camp out to see one of the Fox Sports Southwest Girls, or comedian/"Bob's Burgers" voice actor Eugene Mirman, or dozens of other celebrities the average "Dog" fan's never heard of, and I'd have them sign whatever I possessed at the time. "Here, Eugene, sign my empty Sonic cup and my copy of Wired magazine that you're not in."
So "Dog" isn't my thing, but it was their thing … unless there wouldn't be a thing. No sign of Chapman. The police told us they were packing up at 5, so said Officer Brian Wanzor.
"It's important to remember that words have power, online and in the media," Wanzor told our crowd section. "So if he doesn't show up, I would advise you to write CIVIL letters to the production company. Tell them Dog made a promise to his fans, and he broke it."
There were laughs on his emphasis of "civil," but the point was made and he accomplished crowd control without making anybody feel like they were an annoyance.
Job done, but he didn't stop there. Wanzor introduced himself to a lady in a wheelchair, took a picture with her and gave his personal email address so he could get a copy of the photo, too. I guess he hated the idea of that sweet old lady going home empty-handed, so he did something about it.
Didn't stop there, either. Saw the kid with a football, and played a game of catch.
Chapman did roll in right around 5 p.m. Signed everything, with his camera crew recording the whole thing. The fans mostly forgot he was late, and talked about how Dog gives back. Maybe so, but I'm impressed with the guy who made the extra effort with nobody recording him.
If and when the Clovis episode airs — the new CMT series is scheduled for April — I'll stick to basketball and "Bob's Burgers." I already got what I wanted out of the event — a photo for the story, and the bonus of seeing somebody do more than the job requires. That's a much better thing to be writing about.
Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom New Mexico. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by email: